As terrifying a prospect as your first year as a newly qualified teacher is, there are ways that you can make it easier for yourself, and we don’t just mean copious amounts of coffee! Try our suggestions below to help you survive your NQT year.
- Plan, plan, plan
It is impossible to be prepared for every situation that you might encounter in the classroom, but forward planning can be a big help to relieve the stress many teachers experience during their first year. Be confident in your lesson plans and always have a backup activity ready, in case of unexpected situations such as cancelled activities or changes to the timetable.
- Take a break
However big your workload might be, you need to force yourself to take reasonable breaks. No-one can work for hours on end and remain 100% productive. Stepping away from lesson planning for a few hours in the evening, and putting the marking down to spend time with friends and family at the weekend can help you feel refreshed and motivated when you come back to it, as well as helping you to maintain your sanity.
- Use resources for inspiration
If you are stuck for ideas then don’t put pressure on yourself to come up with something original each time. There are a huge amount of teaching resources available online- Teachit Primary have a wide range of lesson plans, games, teaching packs and other resources which cover the whole curriculum.
- Consult your colleagues
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Speak to other teachers who have been at the school for a while as chances are whatever you are facing they will have been there before. Whether you need help with lesson planning or are unsure of how to deal with a specific pupil, having another perspective on things can be invaluable.
- Don’t underestimate the power of stickers
Rewards systems are a great way to help you manage your class. The promise of certificates, stickers or other recognition can be surprisingly effective at motivating your class to behave themselves. Threats of taking away a ‘point’ from everyone, or not giving out any more rewards that day can be useful bribe when you are desperate to quieten down a noisy class.