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15 tips for surviving your NQT year

Alice, a History teacher who qualified in 2015, shares her top tips to surviving your NQT year. Alice is now Head of History and Head of year in a Secondary School in North West England. 

  1. Make the most of all CPD opportunities – look for ones outside of school too.
  2. Create or maintain relationships with other departments in the local area to share ideas.
  3. Use all opportunities to get to know pupils (Trips, clubs etc).
  4. Talk to teachers outside of your department.
  5. Observe as much as you can and in varying departments. It’s always valuable to watch other practitioners.
  6. DO NOT feel guilty about going home at 3:20pm. Remember, you have more frees than other teachers, plus you’re allowed to work from home.
  7. Do not be afraid to ask questions, you’re not expected to know everything.
  8. Do not assume that you are the ‘finished product’, we’re always learning.
  9. Share your ideas, just because you have less experience doesn’t mean that your ideas aren’t worth trying
  10.  Stay away from negativity. You will be enthusiastic and hopefully love your job and that’s good! Try not to get involved with any (persistent) negative conversations.
  11.  Having said that, have a good rant when you need one!
  12.  Do not take negative things personally that pupils say to you. It’s not you, you’re just an easy target. Remove yourself emotionally from the situation if possible. 
  13.  Keep a notebook in your bag or your car and write all of the negative things (if any) that have happened that day down at 3:05pm. That way you will be more likely to forget about them and enjoy your evening.
  14.  Keep emails/letters/notes/anything that made you smile or makes you proud of what you are doing – reread them on bad days.
  15.  Take vitamin C. You will probably get NQT flu.

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