10 top tips for NQTs

As a new school year starts here in the UK there is a great deal of advice out there for new teachers. Here are 10 top tips for NQTs from me, @Theheadsoffice and some of her twitter friends!

Ask questions

Just because you were appointed doesn’t mean you are expected to know everything. Ask questions whenever they occur. Don’t worry that by asking them it will go against you. Better to ask than worry or second guess the answer.

Use your NQT time wisely

This is extra time for you to see your mentor or catch up on notes and files. You won’t have it in your second year so don’t rely on it for planning etc and use it for those NQT things.

Organise YOUR room

By that I mean – YOUR classroom is YOUR domain. Don’t be afraid to change the arrangement until you feel comfortable with it. Try a few different seating plans and organisations until it feels right.

Get to know the staff

Not just your colleague teachers but key folks like the secretary, caretaker and catering staff. They are all part of the school community that you have joined and can offer support. Thanks @tiddlyompompom

Listen to advice

When you are given advice listen to it, take it on board and use it. This is especially true after observations where hopefully suggestions are made to make your practice even better.

Be positive with your students

You may be nervous when you first stand in front of your class but don’t treat them like the enemy. There is a saying that you shouldn’t smile until Christmas. Whilst the implication is you are not too friendly at first, it does not mean that you are unapproachable

Set positive expectations

Linking with the point above, let the students know what your expectations are. Not too many but set them out as the behaviours you want to see rather than rules which will make them positive. Thanks @nan282

Make contact with parents

Depending on the phase you have joined, meeting parents may happen every day or not until the first parents evening which may well be in the middle of November when the weather is cold and miserable. Try to make a positive contact with them all before that first meeting so that the ice is broken and your nerves can be calmed.

Observe other teachers

Take every opportunity to observe best practice. I have been in many  lessons and have always seen a gold nugget to take away with me even if the lesson is poor. A great idea from @Laura_987 for secondary practitioners is to observe a difficult pupil  in a different lesson and see how they and the teacher interact. It will give you a new insight.

…and last but not least…

Time for yourself

As is often said, being a teacher is a marathon not a sprint. Your first term, especially if it starts in September, will not only contain so many new challenges for you, it is the hardest part of the year weather wise and in terms of pressures for the school. Make sure you have some ‘non-school’ time where you do something that is relaxing and fun. Try to keep some balance in your life so that going to school each day is a pleasant experience!

What are your top tips for NQTs?


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