Newly Qualified Teachers: Words of Wisdom
Newly Qualified Teachers are the fresh life blood about to enter the education system, full of up to date training and knowledge, bounds of enthusiasm and a true excitement for leading their own class for the first time.
However, if you are a Newly Qualified Teacher, starting your new teaching post can be extremely daunting!
Here at 4myschools we have put together a few hints and tips to help you prepare for your first role in your first academic year for both supply teachers and those taking up new permanent posts:
You’ve found the school for you, and most likely are going to complete your induction year this year too. But what can you do to prepare for this first year?
At the school:
- Book time with a member of the Senior Leadership Team or Head of Department and spend some time in the school before the end of the academic year. Get to see how the school is operating now and see if you can help before the end of term to make a great first impression!
- Request time to go into your classroom; firstly, to make sure you can find it! Secondly to start the mental preparation about how you want your class to be set up in September.
- Have a walk around the school – cheeky students will love the opportunity to point you in the wrong direction if you look lost. Make sure you keep a map with you until you’re familiar with the school lay out.
- Find the school policies, especially the behaviour policy, and make sure you have a complete understanding of them before starting your first day.
On Your First Day:
Mark, one of the 4myschools Supply Teachers in Norfolk, has given the following advice;
“Introduce yourself to any other adults who appear and find out what they usually do and how you can use them. You might have already found out there is a TA with you, but usually no-one will think to mention volunteers who come in, 1:1 support, people doing assessments et al. It is a good idea to be guided by the staff with you, they are often hugely experienced and know the school systems and expectations. They can usually help identify the strengths and challenges of the individual children, but unless invited to do so they might feel reluctant to step in when they see an issue for fear of undermining/embarrassing/unsettling you – give them permission to interrupt/correct you, and thanks when they do”
“Either issue the children with labels or learn a few names scattered around the room and use these to give the impression that you know them all, subtly reading the child’s name off a book or pencil case and then using it is a simple trick that amazes some! Don’t forget to introduce yourself to the pupils and write your name somewhere for them.”
Throughout your first term:
- Learn the behaviour management policy and prepare to be strict to begin with. It is far easier to relax the reigns throughout the year than to try to become stricter when you’ve lost control.
- Make sure you over-plan and over-prepare in your first term, ensuring you always have enough for the children to do. There is nothing worse than running out of activities with nothing up your sleeve, and you don’t want to give the children the opportunity to be bored as they may then choose to misbehave.
- Remember to ask, ‘Why am I doing this?’ and ‘What will the outcome be?’ when you are spending time planning and preparing. Your content is more important than ensuring all your margins in your word documents are completely aligned and your images are colour coordinated. Presentation matters, but not as much as your teaching content.
- Expect to be tired! You are at the starting point of your new career, and in any sector, this would be exhausting. Teaching is certainly no different, and teaching can very easily spread into your evenings and weekends, leaving little time to yourself.
Rachel, another of the 4myschools supply teachers, advises “have an out of school activity that you do every week and that you leave on time to attend. There is always something that needs doing in teaching and this will make you stop and top up your batteries”.
- Be sure to socialise with everyone in the school, not just the teachers. The Office Staff, Caretakers and other non-teaching staff all play a vital role in the school, and may well know the answers to your questions and be able to help you.
For Supply Teachers:
You may have made the decision that you want to try out a few schools before settling on a permanent post. Working on a short-term supply basis is a fantastic way to try out the schools in your area and to see which ones suit you best, before accepting a permanent role at the start of your career.
When on supply, first impressions count. Make sure you are well-presented and well-prepared, with a toolkit of activities and resources that you can draw on if necessary. You may well be left with limited guidance for the day if the school are covering a sickness absence so you are likely to have to think on your feet!
Mark, one of the 4myschools Supply Teachers, has given the following advice;
“Arrive in plenty of time to get organised, read through any plans/notes and find the resources you need. Often the board in the classroom won’t have a computer attached, since the teacher you are replacing has their laptop with them. It can take a good half hour to track down a working machine and suitable login, photocopying codes and the like – even if everything is prepared for you”
Make sure you also have a good relationship with your Recruitment Consultant. Be candid with them about the schools you like and schools you don’t, so they can build a picture of where best suits you.
What is an Induction for Newly Qualified Teachers?
We often encounter Newly Qualified Teachers who aren’t aware of what is required of them in terms of an induction period. Below is a brief outline:
All qualified teachers, employed in a relevant school in England must, by law, have completed an induction period satisfactorily. This is the bridge between your initial teacher training and a career in teaching and is the opportunity to gain and demonstrate the skills need to be a successful teacher. It combines a personalised programme of continual professional development, support, senior and peer reviews, with monitoring and assessment of your teaching performance against the relevant framework.
If you are employed in a relevant school in England, there is no set time limit for starting or completing an induction period, although NQTs are encouraged to complete induction as soon as possible after gaining Qualified Teacher Status.
Similarly, there is no legal requirement to complete an induction period if, as a teacher, you intend to work solely in the independent sector, academies, free schools, BSO’s, an independent nursery or in Further Education.
However, there is a time limit if you choose to work on supply. You have five years from obtaining Qualified Teacher Status to complete your induction. Any placements shorter than a term cannot be counted towards your induction. However, a placement of one term of longer can form part of your induction period.
If you have not completed your induction within the five-year period, then the next post you take must be eligible to count towards induction.
To find out more, please see the Government Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/580039/Statutory_Induction_Guidance_December_2016.pdf
Remember to enjoy it! Teaching is a rich and rewarding career, enabling you to make a real difference to the next generation.
If you have just finished your teacher training, but haven’t decided your plan for the next academic year or have decided you want to try many schools on a supply basis, make sure you give 4myschools a call to speak to a local consultant who can help you start your teaching career.