25 top NQT tips for surviving your induction year

Specialist Leader of Education for NQT Development Kelly Deaville offers her 25 top NQT tips for surviving your induction year. I am often asked to name my top tips for Newly Qualified Teachers – strategies to make the first year of teaching more successful and less stressful. Here are a few pointers to get you on your way. Good luck and please get in touch if there is anything we can help you with.

1. Organisation

Have a good filing system, write ‘to-do’ lists for ‘end of today, end of this week, by the end of half term’ and use a diary.

2. Timekeeping

Be on time for lessons (getting there before the children really helps classroom management as you are there from the outset to eliminate any issues. Greet them going in and do a uniform check to make your authority clear.

3. Learn their names as quickly as possible

Pupils appreciate it and it helps your classroom management if you need to address them.

Use photos in your planning file to help when marking books.

4. Start as you mean to go on

In all areas but particularly your mastery of the classroom – use seating plans from the outset and stick to them.  Children will want to sit with their friends and you may not know who these are to begin with.

5. Be firm but very fair

You need to foster a ‘safe’ non-threatening environment of empathy and mutual respect – it really works!

The more positive your classroom can be and the more positive the relationship is between you and them the better.

6. Set out all of your expectations

Not necessarily as a list of ‘class rules’ but more about your expectations for learning and behaviour –

  • “Pens down and eyes on me”.
  • One person speaking at a time – and don’t move on until you have exactly what you want.

7. Agree on ‘what makes a good learner’

Use Diamond 9 strategy by having expectations/class rules on cards and get pupils to put them in order of importance.

Follow up by asking them to choose 3 of the cards to be their targets.

8. Be familiar with the school behaviour policy

You need to follow this through in your practice.

When talking to the children refer to ‘Our school policy’ to reinforce that they belong to a team.

9. Be territorial

Remember it is your room and your lesson, walk around the room, talk to as many children as you can and let them know that no area of the room is out of bounds to you.

10. Insist on silence before you speak

Wait for it. Consider raising your arm when you want quiet or doing a ‘3 hand clap’ which they will recognise as a sign to stop and focus. Refrain from ‘shushing’ children – you will sound like a broken radiator!

11. Make sure you have presence and confidence

Even if it is an act! Children prefer this and will feel safer knowing that you are in charge.

Try and add the personal touch/some humour if you can! Be the biggest personality in the room.

12. Have clear routines

Remind through instructions such as ‘this is when we….(collect homework)’.

It helps you not to forget things and children feel safer when they know the routine.

13. Use your voice to good effect

Do not over use shouting – save it for ‘extreme’ occasions, it has far more impact.

14. Make sure you are professional in every way

Refer to Part 2 of the Teacher Standards.

15. Plan well

This will aid classroom management and try and give you an opportunity to “rehearse the lesson”.

16. Keep them focused and engaged

Have an activity on the board as they come in that has a bit of a ‘surprise factor’ to grab their attention, keep them interested and engaged throughout. Again this helps with classroom management.

17. Be resilient

Try your best not to take problems home with you – leave them in the lesson.

If you have had an issue, start with a clean slate next time. Don’t take things personally.

18. Use praise appropriately

Do not over praise but praise when it is worthy and the children will respond.

Try and spot the children being good and focus on that instead of focusing on the negatives.

19. Mark well and often

This is the greatest way of inspiring students to work more and work harder, they like to please you!

Consider using stickers to cut down on writing the same feedback comment all of the time.

20. Know your class

Annotate your planning/assessment file with lists of ‘good workers/poor behaviour today’ as this will give you a better picture when writing reports/speaking at parents evenings of things that otherwise may go un-recorded.

21. Cater for everyone

Make sure you are considering your SEN/Gifted and Talented pupils in your planning/assessing.

22. Avoid confrontation for as long as you can

For some children it is the only way they know so you will find they may be far better at it that you and will not back down.

Remember PIP and RIP – Praise In Public, Reprimand In Private.

23. Try to enjoy yourself and relax

Teaching is a great job so have fun and enjoy the children; they are very special and more often than not will really enjoy your lessons and feeling valued, respected and cared for.

24. Try to engage in the ‘whole-school’ life

Mingle with your colleagues (whole school) as a good sense of camaraderie will make you feel supported and you will not feel as though you are in it on your own. Talking about things makes them seem less of a problem, especially when you realise difficulties are often whole school and not just in your lesson!

25. Remember that you are not invincible!

You can find lots more NQT tips and resources here.

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