10 things I wish someone had told me as an NQT

  1. There are lots of teaching jobs out there. I really mean lots. If you join a teaching recruitment agency, you will be bombarded with calls and emails. This means the unrelenting stress that your university gives you about career prospects is more about their graduate employment data than what is best for you. Some of the best teachers I know were supply teachers in their first year post-university.  Only you can make that choice.
  2. Trust your gut. It’s really important to go and visit any potential schools at least once. On those visits, make sure to look carefully at the way the staff interact with one another; are they happy, stressed, indifferent? If you notice something that you think doesn’t line itself with your values, it’s not the school for you. It’s important to ask a member of staff about planning too- do you need to hand planning in? What are the expectations and do they fit with your previous experience?
  3. One-form entry schools are hard. In a one-form entry school, everything for your year group falls on your shoulders. You will most likely be completely in charge of all aspects of planning, assessment and progress within your class, which is essentially the year group! This is not to say that this could not be the perfect job for you, it’s just really important to consider whether this is a challenge you would like to embark on in your first year of teaching. You need to make sure that you will be getting the correct support, and if you feel that taking on that amount of responsibility in your first year isn’t for you, then keep an eye out for two or three-form entry schools!
  4. Schools look out for their best interests, not yours. This is something that I really wish someone had told me prior to my first teaching job. Schools have priorities which won’t always be in relation to you. For this reason, you too, need to act for your best interests. If you don’t like where you are, don’t be afraid to move on.
  5. Be part of a Teacher’s Union. Although I technically was told when I embarked on my NQT year, I have included this to reiterate the importance. If you are unsure of anything at all, give your union a call and they will advise you. You will not be the first person calling with that concern, nor will you be the last.
  6. Every NQT finds it hard. There will, no doubt, be many new teachers who will find elements of the job easier, who aren’t as daunted by those observations, but everyone struggles with aspects of the job. Teaching is hard. The first year is never going to be a walk in the park. Cut yourself some slack and reward your hard work, after all, you are starting to earn a wage now.
  7. If your school is not giving you the correct amount of support, phone your NQT leader. This information should be sent to you once you have been signed up for your NQT training. As an NQT, you are entitled to NQT (non-contact) time, regular meetings with your mentor, and constructive feedback. It is important that if there are any concerns in your teaching development, you are made aware. Following this identification, the school should make arrangements to best support you.
  8. You have a life, friends and a family out there, so make sure to look up from your NQT file every once in a while. It’s really important to remember that although training and passing your NQT year is extremely important, so are the relationships you have in your life. As much as it’s just lovely to socialise, it will also really help you to talk to people who have no idea what assessment grids are.
  9. Make time for you! In the blurry haze that is your induction year, it is really important that you remember those hobbies you love; they will keep you smiling through the rough times ahead. It would be easy to lose yourself amongst all of the bureaucracy and pressure you will feel at school, but you need to remember that a miserable teacher will not inspire those children. You need to enjoy your life so that you can enjoy your job, and therefore make the most impact on your class.
  10. Have faith in yourself. You need to be confident in your abilities and understand that if you do not yet possess those abilities, with practise, you will get there eventually. Everyone is learning. Life is learning. Whenever you feel like you can’t quite do something, think about how you would encourage a child in your class. As we say in my class ‘mistakes are only proof that you’re learning.’



2 thoughts on “10 things I wish someone had told me as an NQT

  1. Somethings I have learnt:

    1) Outstanding teaching practice is something that’s embedded in your classroom and school culture… and it comes with time, so don’t let one lesson, one day or one other person’s opinion get you down 🙂

    2) Teaching is hard, but so is decorating a room if you don’t have a paintbrush and all the necessary tools. Sometimes the problem isn’t you and a lack of support or guidance can really make you feel low… so look for a super-friendly school 🙂

    3) Do your best, be kind to yourself, never be shy to ask for help, never be selfish and remember sharing resources and planning is caring!

    4) Oh and don’t take your anger out on the photocopier, you get a few strange looks from pupils 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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