Top tips from other NQTs

Here are some top tips from NQTs who completed their induction period in 2011/2012.

At the NQT Conference 2012, we asked the NQTs for their top tips for completing the induction year and these are listed below. Do you have any top tips that you would like to share with other NQTs? Email nqt@oxfordshire.gov.uk and we'll add them!

  • Get your timetable and plan, plan, plan ahead over the summer
  • Don’t plan to the nth degree – you will have to change it anyway!
  • Get to know support staff – caretaker, ICT, admin etc – this will help with the smooth running of your first year
  • Share your resources with your department – it may rub off
  • Being persistent pays off – follow through on all sanctions and be rigid with seating plans. They’ll fall in line eventually
  • Make sure you have at least one whole day off a weekend
  • Make sure you call home for all negative incidents – but this can get you down after a while so try to make some positive calls home too – it’s amazing how it motivates the kids
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help and guidance.  No-one is the perfect teacher!  Everyone in the school is there for the children
  • When you are having some ‘me-time’ make it your time and try to completely switch off from school – easier said than done!
  • In the words of Churchill – ‘keep calm and carry on’, and ‘ never, never give up!’
  • Know when to stop – you are only human
  • Use your good judgement and trust your instincts
  • Learn to say ‘no!’
  • Don’t be afraid to debate or discuss a lesson observation if you really disagree with it
  • When things are piling up, go by the rule of will it affect the children if I don’t do it right now
  • Read: ‘How to be an outstanding primary teacher’ by David Dunn
  • Be open to any and all advice!
  • Find your own teaching style and confidence will follow
  • Keep changing stuff in the classroom – don’t assume that something that has worked will continue to!
  • Start with the learning then create an activity to clearly effectively teach children rather than trying to fit the learning to an activity
  • Make sure you have a work-life balance
  • Ask the silly questions, if the person is nice the worse they will do is laugh (at!) you!
  • Have a good work/life balance – make plans in advance for your social life and then stick to them!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions
  • Make friends with your receptionist – they know everything!
  • Befriend the reprographics staff – they’re the ones to know!
  • Plan something nice for the first holiday…and every holiday!  It focuses the mind and makes a goal!
  • Remember to take time for you.  Set yourself a time and leave work
  • Keep it simple
  • Don’t over complicate things
  • Don’t expect yourself to be perfect and be willing to try new things if something isn’t working in lesson.  Don’t be afraid of taking a risk
  • Make sure you are being properly supported by your mentor – have regular meetings
  • Rest over the summer
  • Learn how to cope without sleep!
  • Try not to spend each moment in class as if someone is watching you – remember it’s your class and it is OK to do it your way
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously, you will make mistakes, things will go wrong.  Don’t let it stress you out too much
  • Keep paperwork to a minimum