Congratulations! You’ve found an NQT job for next year. But it’s highly likely that you’re also a little scared by the prospect. So, we’ve researched the 8 best ways to build confidence as an NQT teacher for you.
1. Try to get to know your new school this school year
Once you know you have a job with a school try to spend as much time as possible visiting the school and take away as much information and as many resources as possible. If you’re a long way away, try to visit at least once and then follow up with any questions you have. You can then spend time over the summer holidays planning effectively.
2. Learn and follow school policies
Each school has its own way of doing things and it is vital that you follow them as an NQT. Reading them is obviously the first task but if you can spend time shadowing a class or a student before the summer break, you’ll get to know how they are delivered by teachers in the classroom.
3. Look for respect, not to be liked
You’ve probably been advised by someone that you ‘shouldn’t smile until Christmas’. That’s a pretty big challenge to set yourself when you are surrounded by children – a better version is to look for respect. Don’t worry if you have to tell children off, but at the same time you can laugh at their jokes (if they are funny).
4. Stick to the basics of teaching – explain, model, question
A good suggestion from Alex Quiqley’s book ‘The Confident Teacher’. Don’t think of trying to deliver overly complex ‘wow’ lessons every lesson every day – instead ensure you have a core process of explaining new ideas, showing how they work in practice and then using effective questioning to assess learning.
5. Look after your voice
A study by Greenwich University found that 50% of NQTs suffer from voice loss during the year – at a huge cost to confidence! The NUT advises teachers to take a range of steps to avoid this, from warming up the voice at the start of the day to finding a comfortable range of pitch to drinking enough water.
6. Don’t agree to do too much too soon
It’s easy as a new member of staff in a school to want to throw yourself into a wide range of new activities. But you need time to prepare lessons, do household chores, sleep AND have a life beyond teaching. As you become more experienced, teaching and preparation will take up less time and you can take on new roles. A teaching career can last over 40 years!
7. Use your networks for help and support
As an NQT you’ll have a network of people within your school to help you – usually a mentor and an induction tutor as well as a peer network of NQTs and RQTs (2nd year teachers). You may also be part of a wider network through a multi-academy trust or local authority – and you’ll probably be in touch with fellow students from your initial teacher training programme. It’s important to use them – and to remember that no question is too silly to ask!
8. Take time to reflect on your lessons in a positive way.
At ONVU Learning our focus is on helping teachers to reflect on lessons, notice the critical incidents within them, and use reflection and external coaching to continually improve. Our video cameras and coaching terminology are there to make this easier and more effective, but one great piece of advice we’d give all teachers is to think back after each lesson and ask ‘what would I do again?’ – identifying the key things that you did right!
ONVU Learning has crafted an innovative solution called Lessonvu, offering teachers and trainers the ability to record lessons using 360-degree video and high definition audio for self-reflection and professional development. Discover all about Lessonvu and how it can help you and your school.
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