10 Tips for Newly Qualified Teachers

Take these bits of advice from someone who learns each and every lesson the hard way.

Make the kids do it!

Wall displays, IT set up, handing out and collecting resources… you’ll feel tempted to do it all yourself. Don’t! You’ll be pleasantly surprised that students will genuinely want to demonstrate their responsibility so let them take on these jobs and use the precious time you’ll save to mark those last few books or plan for tomorrow so you can race home and have a life.

Befriend the custodians, secretaries, and the IT department

You won’t regret this.

Plan to be sick when you’re healthy

Spoiler Alert: You will get sick. Unless you want to be planning lessons at 6am for a relief teacher, do yourself a favour by planning for it now. Start with a day, then a week, then plan an entire scheme of work. Your sick self will thank you when you jump straight back into bed after the call.

Behaviour management has nothing to do with how scary you seem

It has more to do with planning, student engagement, and the pace of the lesson. Don’t give the kids time to get bored.

Don’t stretch Yourself Too Thin

You’re allowed (and encouraged) to limit your extracurricular involvement. Use this year to focus on creating routines, lessons you’re proud of, and striking the balance of work and play.

Invest in your students’ interests… even if it means catching an episode of Riverdale

If it matters to them make it matter to you. Knowing what your students like is necessary to build rapport and trust, building it early on creates a safe place for them to open up and build trust. This means you may have to start watching Riverdale, but you won’t regret it.

It will get easier

I promise. The more errors you make now the more you’ll learn what not to do next year. After your first year you might be thinking maybe installing that electric sharpener wasn’t such a great idea, maybe a seating plan was the best decision, maybe signing up for every club wasn’t that realistic and maybe I shouldn’t have promised to mark every single draft they produced.

Teach in England

It’s the best personal and professional challenge you can give yourself and will only add tools to your toolkit.

Differentiation isn’t as daunting as you think

Try creating three versions of a lesson according to levels of support offered and individualise from there.

Call home

Parents and guardians are valuable members of your team and you’ll need to tag them in on occasion so make a good impression and call them first with something positive.

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