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What support do NQTs need during their first year?

About 6 months ago By Scott Owen

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Protocol Education's NQT Pool is helping hundreds of newly qualified teachers find their first teaching job. We will find you a job, then the work really starts as you begin your teaching career, but you are not alone. Here we outline some of the expert help you should enlist to make your NQT year start well.

No man is an island… Never has the saying been more applicable than in your NQT induction year. This famous phrase from English author John Donne, more commonly known from the film About a Boy, hits the nail on the head when it comes to surviving your NQT year.

There is a wealth of support available to you as an NQT, and you would be wise to lap it up wherever you can.

Let us start with the people who can support you.

Your Mentor – your mentor will be your ‘go to’ person for all your queries along the way. They will be integral to you getting to grips with how the school works, and what is expected.

Your Colleagues – get to know your fellow teachers, working as part of a wider team gives you people to call on for support, as well as people to share your good, bad, and ugly stories with, or people to show you where the photocopier is and how you deal with particular situations. And let’s be honest, sometimes you just need a moan, and having someone who understands what you are up against can help…you might even want to find the teacher who taught your year group last year, they might have some tips on what worked for them?

The IT Team – this year in particular, schools have moved online – move over bricks and mortar, the zoom lesson awaits. Teaching online provides lots of opportunities to get snazzy with interactive lessons and online quizzes, but there’s also scope for technical glitches and some students being stuck in a breakout room…so get to know your school’s technical team, they might just be able to get you out of a few sticky situations.

Your Consultant If you register with Protocol Education’s NQT Pool and let us do the hard work of finding your first job for you; you will have another excellent source of support, your personal consultant.

Sometimes you might have questions you don’t want to share with the school themselves, so this is where you might get in touch with the person who placed you in the job, if you used an agency. They have dealt with hundreds of NQTs and have solved all sorts of problems along the way.

And now the rest:

Training Resources – Teaching resources are plentiful online, so whatever area you need NQT support in, I’m sure you’ll find resources to help. A good place to start is the school intranet if they have one. The teaching agency you used may also be a good resource. Take Protocol Education they have partnered with Best Practice Network and have six online packages on Pedagogy, Curriculum, Assessment, Behaviour and Special Education Needs.

A Sounding Board – Sometimes you just need to blow off steam, because let’s face it, learning new things and making mistakes along the way is hard work. Whether that is friends and family or an NQT teaching forum, finding an outlet to get things off your chest is important. The NQT blogs that you find online are also helpful, and a way to help you realise you are not alone – have a read and you’ll realise that one day your ‘oh-no’ moment will be a funny story of the days when you were going through your NQT induction year.

A Diary or Organising Method – Last, but not least. Organisation and planning are going to get you through this year (and every teaching year that follows). Get organised, work out what works for you – to do lists, outlook calendar, physical diary – these tools are going to be the best support when it comes to using your NQT PPA time wisely.

And remember, all the teachers around you who are making it look easy, have been in your shoes, and they all have little hints and tips on how to tackle things and how to become a great teacher – so soak up everything they have to offer.

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