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Top Tips for Surviving Your NQT Year!


Congratulations! You’ve completed your teacher training and are now facing one of the most memorable milestones in your teaching career; the NQT year! Whilst this might seem daunting, remember that it’s just a part of the learning process. Today I will provide you my top tips for surviving your NQT year!

1) Don’t Expect to Know Everything!

My worry when starting my NQT year was knowing where to begin! The reality of the NQT year is that you are responsible for your class, but you have mentor support for good reason. You’re not expected to be a perfect teacher, (if such a thing exists!) and you will find that with the support and guidance of others, your confidence and capability will very quickly grow in your role. This leads on to my next point…

2) … Other Adults Are Gold Dust

The teachers around you will have a mix of experiences, teaching approaches and attitudes with one thing in common; they’ve all been through, or are going through an NQT year. More likely than not, they will be willing to support you and provide some ideas as they will understand what it is like starting out as a teacher. They will also want to hear the new ideas that you bring in from your own experiences, which can lead to a wonderful working relationship.

Teaching assistants can also be the fountain of all knowledge. I am incredibly fortunate to have a TA who knows the school inside out, and back to front. Since day 1, my TA has helped guide me with tips, tricks and teaching ideas which have helped support our class. She has laughed with me when I’ve laughed and been the person that keeps me positive when I’ve been stressed! 

3) Have Some YOU Time

EVERYONE says the key to surviving as a teacher is to take time for yourself. During my first, and second term teaching, I couldn’t believe that finding spare time would be possible! However, you’ll find as you go on through the year, marking becomes that little bit quicker, planning with a new format gets easier and you gradually have more and more resources at your disposal. Spending time on yourself is not selfish; it is a requirement. Think of it this way; will your class learn better with immaculate resources, every aspect of the lesson prepared and planned for, marking consistently up to date and a teacher who is getting by on very little sleep, OR a teacher who is enthusiastic, well slept and slightly less organised? I’m not in any way saying to forget about planning and assessment, more to just pick your battles- as much as you might want that resource to look beautiful sometimes simpler is better. You (and your teaching assistants) are the most expensive and valuable resources in the classroom, so make sure to look after yourself! 

4) Your NQT Year Is so Much Fun

Whichever route you have taken to get into teaching, you have made it through. This is your chance to enjoy teaching and learning in all its glory! There will be tears, stresses and worries, but you will also have conversations you would never dream of having, moments which catch you by complete surprise and leave you laughing, and the feeling of utter pride when you watch a class progress in their learning. There is no job quite like it, and no day is ever boring!

Do you need to know how to look after yourself during your NQT year? Or perhaps you’re feeling a little burnt out from working so hard this year! Early Years Teacher, Ann-Marie provides some simple tips on how to look after yourself in her blog; Remember That You Have a Soul.


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