Top Tips for NQTs

Feeling anxious about your first permanent teaching post? Here's my top five tips to lead a healthy and balanced first year.

Top Tips for NQTs by Lauren Weston

My top five tips

1. Assign your free Periods to Specific Tasks - My first Mentor taught me to always assign each free period to a task. For example, in my First Year of Teaching, I was leading the PE Gifted and Talented Programme. Every Monday, in Period 2, I would dedicate my time exclusively to this task. When things came up throughout the week linked to this responsibility, I would jot it down on a Postet note, put it on top of the G&T folder and revisit it on the Monday. This was fantastic for staying consistent with my Teaching and Learning and on top of my "to do" tasks.

2. Leave early once a week - Allow yourself to leave as early as possible one night per week. Book in a Dinner date with a friend, go and play Netball or simple chill out. In my first year as a teacher, this tip was invaluable. Being able to completely switch off from work for one evening regardless of the long "To do" list made me a better teacher for the pupils.

3. Continue to Socialise - Plan to go out with your friends once a week, e.g. Orange Wednesdays, Cinema/Dinner, whatever it is plan one event

4. Restrict Email time - Be STRICT with yourself! Check your emails throughout your working day, e.g. between 8 am - 6 pm, but once 6 pm comes, log-out and don't return to them until the following morning. If you are organised with your time, you should have enough time throughout the day to manage your emails without needing to send any at 9 pm at night.

5. Learn how to say "no" - In your first official job, you will be coming into a school with energy, fresh ideas and a willingness to learn. This will attract many! Before you know it you will find yourself pulled in multiple directions, sitting on pupil panels, attending SMT meetings to discuss new ideas for Behavior policies and running a Netball team at the weekends. Priorities what you what to be doing with your additional time and how you want to spend it. This will make it easier to say "no" when you are overloaded with opportunities.