Starting out

EVERYONE has been there. You’ve owned your teacher training year, you’ve prepared as much as you can over the summer, and you’re at your new school. Here are some helpful hints for starting your NQT year:

1) Names – make SURE you get a list of these on your first day

2) A teaching planner – a MUST for any teacher. I always buy an 8 period day planner; 1 for form time reminders, 6 for teaching and 1 for after school meetings.


3) IEPs (Individual Educational Plans for those with an SEN) – every school has these, although they may be called something different. Ensure you have a paper copy of every IEP in your classes. Spend 30 minutes reading through these, highlighting key information and taking note of strategies that work for that student.

4) Timetables of your department – if your school does not have an ‘on call’ member of your faculty, sit down with your department timetables and work out who is a) near you and b) can support you for every teaching period. Try to identify people who are teaching near you (in case you need to place a child into their room) and those who are free to help.

5) Create seating plans for each lesson – take a walk around the school, and take photos of the layout of each room you teach in. Use this to create a seating plan for each room. Print these and highlight FSM, EAL and SEN. You can also write levels underneath for quick differentiated questioning. Super useful to have for observations too!


6) SOWs – print out an outline of each scheme of work. If there isn’t one, it only takes 10 minutes or so to create. Excellent for planning and useful for observations too!

7) Your teaching folder – if your school does not provide these, get one. This will hold almost all of the above!

8) Rummage – have a good rummage in offices and classrooms for good resources (with permission of course!) The odd DVD, the random textbook. All good to have.


9) Department shared drive – this is a magical place where resources past and present are often dumped. Even if you only get a slide or two from PowerPoints, it will undoubtedly save you time! You may also find that a lot of things are already resourced, allowing you to focus your efforts effectively.

10) Establish your routine early – work out whether you want to come in early, stay late, work in the holidays or during weekends. Personally, I prefer to get all of my basic planning done during the holidays. This allows me to have most evenings and weekends free. In addition, work out a time when you will run errands each day, e.g. photocopying. HINT – try and do this early in the morning or after school to avoid copying queues!


Above – a very rare sighting of 3 free photocopiers in school.

11) Shared classes – it’s likely that you will share a class or two with another teacher. Ensure you chat to them to work out how you’re going to tackle the SOW. They may also have a different style of teaching to you, so discuss how you’re going to ensure everything gets taught.

12) FREE TIME! – as an NQT you are entitled to twice as many free periods as other staff. Use this wisely. Work out if you want to mark or plan during these.

13) Most importantly – ENJOY IT! Good luck!



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