Twitter chat round-up: advice for NQTs

Twitter chat round-up: advice for NQTs

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times, but your NQT year is never dull. Last Sunday, we held an NQT surgery on Twitter to look at some of the issues facing new teachers in that high-pressure period. Here are the highlights:

What are your top tips for surviving and thriving the NQT year?

John Socha, primary school educator and the creator of "Don't try to do everything, remember to timetable some weekly 'me' time, watch your peers and learn from them. Be energised by the great moments, smile through and learn from things which go wrong and laugh...a lot!"

John Winwood, assistant headteacher and founder of Stand Out Teaching: "Don't be afraid to take risks in the classroom, constantly reflect. Your networks will support you and you're doing a great job!"

What are your best and worst memories from your own NQT years?

John Winwood: "Best memory: offering an after-school club to find over 60 Yr7s appear! I expected 10 max! Good fun, if chaotic."

"Worst memory was half of my timetable not being my specialist subject. Lots of cramming to learn the new curriculum…"

Ben Ward, assistant vice-principal for teaching and learning: "Worst: The realisation that, a bit like learning to drive, being an NQT with my own classes was where the learning really started. Remember you will make mistakes, have car crash lessons and need advice and support!

"Best: realising that despite me getting lots of stuff wrong at first, my classes were making progress and enjoying lessons."

John Socha: "Worst – a school trip where I got lost with a party of kids.
Best – end of year play, which I wrote then saw performed."

What would you suggest if an NQT does not have a job for next year yet?

Ben Ward: "Watch TES, Schools Week etc, [there] will be plenty of jobs being advertised this half-term which only NQTs & supply can apply for. Basically… don't panic!"

John Winwood: "Keep trying, visit the school prior to application. Agencies often have long-term contacts to fill...good way into a school."

John Socha: "Develop your talents. Talk to other teachers, schools and clusters. Get your name out there. Good teachers are always in demand."

EdCentral: "Would it be possible to find supply work?"

John Socha: "Of course. There's an argument to be made for a year's supply teaching being more beneficial than conventional year in one school."

"As someone who has done the bulk of his learning from watching and talking to other teachers, I see it as invaluable CPD."

Would you recommend that NQTs get involved with extracurricular duties? Or stick to getting the classroom basics right?

John Winwood: "Pace yourself in the early stages, [focus on] great teaching in the classroom first… there's plenty of time later for clubs."

John Socha: "A lot depends on the school. But I would recommend they take a term to find their feet."

Ben Ward: "Always get involved - it's a great way to develop relationships with students and get your face/name known around school. Reputation matters."

How should NQTs manage workload?

John Socha: "Your school has a duty of care to YOU enshrined in their policies and your contract. Ensure they live up to that duty. Don't be afraid to approach your line manager and tell them if things are piling up."

Ben Ward: "Managing workload is about good prioritisation, discipline and making good use of the time you have. Use a diary and to-do list."

John Winwood: "Find out what your NQT support is for next year, who your subject and professional mentors will be along with other NQTs. Make sure you take your full day in school prior to the new term and don't be afraid to much as you need!"

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