10 tips teachers wish they knew on their first NQT day

10 tips teachers wish they knew on their first NQT day

Viewpoint:  Why new teachers need a good mentor more than ever
So what would you tell your NQT self?
When one head put the question to teachers on Twitter, he got a huge variety of responses. Here's what they said:
1. Your best is good enough
Some of your lessons will "absolutely tank", as one teacher put it. But that's ok.
"Learn from the mistakes," they said. 
"And, most importantly...It's a job. An important one, but it is a job. No child has yet ceased to exist from exposure to a bad lesson, late feedback etc."
Your best is good enough.
Some of your lessons will absolutely tank. Learn from the mistakes.
And, most importantly...
It's a job. An important one, but it is a job. No child has yet ceased to exist from exposure to a bad lesson, late feedback etc.
— Mr. R ¦ English/Computing (@MR_Teachit) February 14, 2021
 
2. Don't take your marking home
Several teachers said it was best to mark in lessons to free up time at the end of the day.
"Mark in lessons – don't take books home," Zoe Andrews said.
"I hate to think how many hours of my life I've wasted over the past two decades."
Mark in lessons- don’t take books home. I hate to think how many hours of my life I’ve wasted over the past two decades.
— Zoe Andrews ???? (@ZoeAndrewsAST) February 14, 2021
And her advice was echoed by Mal Krishnasamy, who said: "Use code marking, peer assessment and mark in lessons as much as possible."
Use code marking, peer assessment and mark in lessons as much as possible.
— Mal Krishnasamy ????????‍♀️ (@MalCPD) February 14, 2021
 
3. Don't rush
This is a career, it's not a race. Adam Coshan said he would advise himself to "take your time" and "learn your craft".
Take your time. Learn your craft.
— Adam Coshan (@daisydog1972) February 14, 2021
Another teacher agreed, adding: "Sadly, from what I've seen too often, racing 'up' the ladder to SLT and HT seems to be the goal..."
Yes, def this. Sadly, from what I've seen too often, racing 'up' the ladder to SLT and HT seems to be the goal....
4. It's possible to be too organised
Some teachers stressed the importance of being flexible.
Donna Burkert said: "Don't spend so much time pre-planning as so often the lesson has to change direction. Sometimes you can be too organised.
"Enjoy the extra time you were gifted for planning and use it to observe as many teachers as you can!!"
Don’t spend so much time pre-planning as so often the lesson has to change direction. Sometimes you can be too organised. Enjoy the extra time you were gifted for planning and use it to observe as many teachers as you can!!
— Donna Burkert (@donsybee) February 14, 2021
And Louise McGee responded: "Yes, quite true. Be brave enough to be flexible and ditch the plans if they're not working."
Yes, quite true. Be brave enough to be flexible and ditch the plans if they’re not working.
— Louise McGee (@LCMcGee) February 14, 2021
 
Lynda Staddon's advice for her former self was rooted in positivity.
"Smile, smile and smile some more," she said. 
"Relationships are key. Take the time to get to know the children. Plan well. Use positive language – only ask for what you want to happen. Be clear about your non-negotiables, remain consistent."
And her final tip?
"Stay calm, it's rarely personal..."
Smile, smile and smile some more. Relationships are key. Take the time to get to know the children. Plan well. Use positive language - only ask for what you want to happen. Be clear about your non negotiables, remain consistent. Stay calm it’s rarely personal...
— Lynda Staddon (@LyndaStaddon) February 14, 2021
 
6. Don't file every lesson plan
Running low on plastic wallets? Don't stress. Emma Turner advised against keeping every lesson plan on file.
"You don't need to file every plan you ever write in plastic wallets in magazine files and then later digitally in beautifully organised folders," she said. 
"You'll never teach the same class or curriculum twice! And even when you do you'll cringe when you re-read the old plans."
You don’t need to file every plan you ever write in plastic wallets in magazine files and then later digitally in beautifully organised folders. You’ll never teach the same class or curriculum twice! And even when you do you’ll cringe when you re read the old plans ????
— Emma Turner FCCT (@Emma_Turner75) February 14, 2021
And Emma Thomas said simply: "Life's too short to laminate."
Life’s too short to laminate.
— Emma Thomas???? (@Emmsibo) February 14, 2021
 
7. Don't be afraid of the staffroom
"At first it feels like walking into a doctors surgery waiting room," according to Nic Masters.
But she would advise her NQT self not to steer clear of the staffroom.
"If you keep on braving it, it will quickly feel like your second lounge, filled with the best family and friends who'll be there to listen and support you," she added.
Don’t be afraid of the staffroom...At first it feels like walking into a doctors surgery waiting room but if you keep on braving it, it will quickly feel like your second lounge, filled with the best family and friends who’ll be there to listen & support you!
— Nic Masters FCCT (EY&Primary) ????????‍♀️ (@NicMasters2) February 14, 2021
 
8. Trust your gut
Many teachers advised against sticking it out with the "wrong" school.
Babs Woodward said: "If you rush to get a job and pick the wrong school, and it’s a toxic environment, find the right school and use those experiences positively.
"Trust your gut – different people for different schools. When you find the right school, you'll know."
If you rush to get a job and pick the wrong school, and it’s a toxic environment, find the right school and use those experiences positively. Trust your gut - different people for different schools. When you find the right school, you’ll know
— Babs Woodward (@babs_woodward) February 14, 2021
And Jamie Wood added: "You don't owe this school anything. If you don't like it find somewhere better."
You don't owe this school anything. If you don't like it find somewhere better.
— Jamie Wood (@ygbjammy) February 14, 2021
 
9. Parents are not the enemy
One teacher said they "always felt attacked" by parents in their first few years in the job. But they soon found it's better to "form an alliance".
"Parents are not the enemy," they said. 
"I always felt attacked those first few years until I started to see things from their perspective. You both want what's best for the child. Form an alliance and do it together."
Parents are not the enemy. I always felt attacked those first few years until I started to see things from their perspective. You both want what’s best for the child. Form an alliance and do it together.
— white caramel (@rachcaine) February 14, 2021
 
10. Make sure to prioritise
And last but not least, one of the most popular pieces of advice was to prioritise; don't try to do it all.
Clementine Stewart said: "The to do list will always be long so sort out what's urgent, what's important and what'll take time but have no impact. And keep asking for help! I still do."
The to do list will always be long so sort out what’s urgent, what’s important and what’ll take time but have no impact. And keep asking for help! I still do.
— Clementine Stewart (@CStewartSHS) February 14, 2021
Another teacher said: "Prioritise, build relationships and don't try and be anyone else in the classroom. Teach to your personality not anyone else's."
Prioritise, build relationships and don’t try and be anyone else in the classroom. Teach to your personality not anyone else’s.