The REAL NQT Advice Blog by @Mroberts90Matt

Develop your behaviour management techniques, don’t take on any areas of responsibility in your first year and write a reflective journal at the end of every week…these are just some of the things that NQTs are advised when they are about to embark on their first, exciting but daunting year of teaching. There are always figures appearing in the news about the poor retention of teaching staff – so it is important that these precious new additions to the teaching ranks are supported and given relevant, vital information that will help them navigate the new challenges that will come their way. However, there are other pieces of advice that you don’t find in the ITT environment. Valuable nuggets which are missing in the guide for newly qualified teachers. These really important pieces of advice were sought for on Twitter and wow was there a response! I wanted to gather all the great thoughts and post them here but because of the sheer volume of them I will attempt to group them.

NQTs – read them and take them on board. It will make much of the next year more manageable. Those who are not NQTs – some of these may be useful for you to know as well and if you have any more, please share in the comments here or to @Mroberts90Matt.

The Lessons
1 bad lesson will not ruin a child’s education – learn from those lessons. – 
Get in early and get your photocopying done. – 
Store photocopying like this – @lesleyclarke84:
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If planning on marking a class set of one piece of work (e.g. an essay/assessment) get students to complete on paper – seems less onerous to mark and easier to carry around. – 
When you’ve had a bad day follow up with stickers. Lots of stickers. Children will do anything for a sticker! – 
Do fun projects. Make literacy and maths live. You’ll enjoy your lessons too then! – 
Kill with kindness. Anyone who says ‘Don’t smile till Christmas’ is not worth listening to. – 
Never leave photocopying until the day it’s needed… – 
1. Don’t try to talk/teach over children talking/fiddling in your class, get them to finish before you start. 2.Lots of positivity. Encourage and awards the things you want to see rather than focusing on what you don’t want. – 
Talk less. Read and listen more. Smile the most. –  

If you’re in UKS2, buy plug in air fresheners. – @MrBoothY6
Change your tables around now and again – can feel like a new classroom! – 
Teach a lesson on how to reapply glue stick tops. – 
Stash some glue, pencils, rubbers and sharpners as soon as they come in and hide them until at least spring. – 
Keep old glue stick / whiteboard pen lids for when others get lost. – 
Have a PAT tested rechargeable hand held vacuum ready to go. Children will love using it to finish tidying the classroom at the end of the day and the cleaners will love you too! – 
Don’t leave permanent markers near your whiteboard and if the worst does happen go over it with whiteboard marker (cover all of it!!) and then rub it off! – 
Oh, hide your blu tac, the kids will find it and will use it. As chewing gum, fiddle toy, sticking in places…I found the phonics planning folder a good place – 

The Displays
Never staple yourself It wrecks…… – @misterunwin
When stapling, only half staple displays in. They stay up and are far easier to remove! – @Mroberts90Matt
Actually, don’t staple at all. – @Y3NQT
Don’t laminate everything, it’s often a waste of time & bad for your carbon footprint. – 
Don’t bother laminating! – 
Invest time in teaching your class ( or at least 2/3 reliable souls) how to mount work. –  

The Health and Wellbeing

Take vitamin supplements from day 1. – @Elsie2110
Enjoy a lunch break. It is not counter productive to always work through your break. – 
If you touch anything wet. Just wash your hands. Immediately. Don’t even try to work out if it’s ‘safe’ or not. – 
Introduce your mug to the dishwasher once in a while. – 
Keep a secret supplymof hand gel and detail wipes – 

Carry hand sanitiser…at all times. – 
Set yourself a time to finish, i.e. Eight. Stick to it rigidly – if it’s not done by then, it’s not getting done today. Your brain will thank you for it. – 
Make it your mission to do all your work at school. Home is for family and relaxing. If it doesn’t get done, it doesn’t get done. – 
Drink loads of water – know it’s sounds weird but half the time I’m tired as I haven’t drank enough – 
Drink wine often… – 
Keep your hobbies going and preserve time for what you love doing outside teaching – you will teach better if you look after yourself and keep doing what makes you you –  

 

The Colleagues
Get to know cleaning / site / kitchen staff – be kind to them and they may forgive the day you glitter the floor. – @Elsie2110

Never mention to anybody that you have whiteboard pens! – 
Also don’t ever give anyone any of your laminating pouches or handwriting pens – 
Bring cake. A lot of cake. 
Give yourself time to learn and don’t compare yourself to that teacher who’s been in the same year group and classroom for five years. Do the essentials first. – 
Never photocopy 30 booklets at 8am. It will never be forgotten! – 

The Wider Life
Read children’s books. It’s a win win situ – you can talk to your class about books they’d enjoy and encourage wider reading and children’s lit at the moment is so so so good. – 
Write it down. You won’t remember it. No, not even between the staffroom and the classroom. – 
Get a book with a page for each child, write down good stuff they have done, things they have said etc just 1 or 2 a day (per class not child!) at a time then come parents evening, comments and June reports are virtually done! – 
Take time at the end of each day to think about what went well. This will keep you positive whilst developing your practice. Once a week, leave early and do something for yourself without feeling guilty. – 
Keep a journal, every week write down what you did. It mart take an hour but it helps put everything into perspective – 
You will never finish your ‘to do’ list. Get over it. – 
Enjoy it! You’ve worked hard to be an NQT. Enjoy the job but remember it’s OK to ask for help, it’s not a sign of weakness but a want to improve – 
Label all your belongings! Things just seem to walk off! – 

Take on board this advice from experienced colleagues NQTs, and join #PrimaryRocks every Monday at 8pm! You will have the most challenging but most exhilarating year so far!

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