Top Tips for Primary NQTs
Having completed initial teacher training, newly qualified teachers in primary schools can embark on the first exciting steps of their career.
Life as a primary teacher differs to that of secondary school staff, and an NQT should be aware of the challenges they will likely face in their new role, from getting to know an abundance of new faces to settling into fresh surroundings.
To help NQTs in the early stages of their careers, we have some top tips for managing life in a primary school environment.
Set out clear rules and expectations
A primary teacher should outline a clear set of rules and expectations that all pupils must follow to control a class effectively.
You should speak clearly when addressing the class and speak out early at the first signs of disruptive behaviour – this should allow you to assert control.
This is especially important for a primary NQT, as a child’s experiences in their first few years of education will ultimately shape the behaviour that follows.
Listen and seek advice when it’s needed
An NQT isn’t expected to know absolutely everything, and they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for advice if they’re unsure about something.
Seek out experience and primary teachers can learn some new methods on the way – from effective ways of keeping children on task to fresh ways of tackling unruly behaviour or rewarding success.
Remember to have a work-life balance
Life for an NQT can be overwhelming, given the amount of new information and work that needs to be completed, but that shouldn’t stop a primary teacher from having a life outside of the classroom.
You should create a to-do list of essential tasks and dedicate time to them, but also recognise that it’s not always possible to complete all tasks on any given day.
Recognising when to step away, by breaking up periods of marking or planning with another activity, helps a primary teacher to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Don’t lose sight of personal development
Great progress and development can occur in the first few years of an NQT’s career, so seek feedback and guidance on where improvements can be made.
An NQT should ask questions in the staffroom and quiz their mentor regularly on situations they have had to deal with – exposure to different ways of doing things will help any primary teacher to find the approach that works best for them.
Don’t forget the reasons for getting into primary teaching to start with – those reasons are often the drivers for success in the long-term!
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