You’re an NQT! Congratulations! Teacher training is not easy. It takes hard work, determination and a lot of coffee and chocolate biscuits.
Now you’ve come to the end of your training, I’m sure lots of people have been keen to give you advice. Some of this will be helpful, some overwhelming. Although most of the advice you’ll be given has the best intentions, some may leave you feeling unprepared.
You may start the year thinking about what tasks you should have already accomplished according to X and Z, rather than focusing on what would be best for you.
The double-edged sword of social media
Social media platforms like Twitter can be a wonderful place to gain ideas for your classroom. There are some great EduTweeters out there sharing advice, support and kindness, all over the Twitter space. But unfortunately there are pitfalls, such as teacher shaming. The posts that question a teacher’s competence or methods. The posts that makes teachers feel like they’re not doing a good enough job. The incredibly patronising posts. Sometimes, this unhelpful culture is bred by those who have zero experience working in education, which makes it all the more frustrating.
Luckily, with the right Professional Learning Network (PLN) you can create a community that supports, encourages and celebrates one another. That’s why I’ve asked EduTweeters for their advice for NQTs.
I’ve included their Twitter handles, in case you want to check out their content.
Advice from EduTweeters
Build a PLN to support you. Find ways to automate repetitive tasks, e.g. comment banks. Find times to turn off email. Remember your worth is not found in results. Tell yourself that you teach better than students learn. Seek (early) support from those you can trust.
Don’t compare yourself to others, it’s a no-win situation, especially for well-being. Look at how far you have come, not how far you have to go. Don’t forget to celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. It’s these things that help you grow. And don’t forget to ask for help!
Your first year is a learning year. College doesn’t prepare you for everything. Plan well early on and understand, you won’t know everything. Ask other teachers how they would recommend beginning the year. The first day can be tough. It’s all goes up from there.
You cannot be outstanding in every lesson, every day. Pace yourself and be kind to yourself.
Finds ways of generating your own CPD (Twitter, blogs, podcasts, books), don’t add unnecessary pressure to yourself, set small targets but think big picture, allow yourself time (to reflect, grow, develop & learn), find a great mentor!
Develop a good work life balance, as teaching can sometimes become all consuming. Develop strategies to help you during busy times of the year and you will flourish.
In short, here are three key things to remember:
- Look after your well-being
- Remember teaching is a learning experience
- Have faith in yourself
If you can keep those three things in mind, you’ll be ready to face any challenges that come your way.
Enjoy your NQT year, and remember: you can do this!
Thanks to all the EduTweeters who shared their advice.
If you want to start building your own PLN, check out Mark Anderson’s (@ICTEvangelist) ‘Periodic Table of Teachers to Follow on Twitter’ to help get you started: https://ictevangelist.com/the-periodic-table-of-teachers-to-follow-on-twitter/