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How to be an outstanding NQT

By Mark Richards,

24 Jan 2020

Indeed, you can become an outstanding NQT if you bear a few things in mind. These days there are many routes into teaching, but let’s look at one of the most popular – the PGCE.

Now, this may not be what you want to hear, but if you thought the PGCE year was difficult, wait until you get to the NQT year. No matter how you got to the stage of a NQT, it is tough when you start.

However, the first really important thing to remember is just how far you have come already.

You can do this. Top tips for an outstanding NQTs Schools are busy places and sometimes it feels that everybody is too busy in their own day-to-day to support other people.

But, you should never be afraid of asking questions.

You are not expected to know everything.

Teachers also appreciate the situation you are in because they have been there too.

You are still learning as an NQT and don’t be too hard on yourself when you find yourself not knowing something. Set your own agenda Have a short, realistic to-do list every day.

Begin each day by striking something off that list.

Of course, you need to check emails at some point but starting the day like this means that somebody else is calling the tune and setting your agenda from the off. Always try and be positive When you are having a bad day or you have a bad lesson, a great remedy is to go and talk to some pupils at break or lunchtime.

This is guaranteed to put a smile back on your face and make you remember why you wanted to get into teaching in the first place.

Indeed, don’t underestimate the importance of positivity.

Sending a praise postcard home to commend a pupil or make a similar phone call to a parent helps with this. Look after yourself Sadly, the next point applies to way too many teachers – including very experienced professionals.

Many teachers do not look after themselves.

It kind of comes with the territory.

The job comes first and the pupils become the all-important thing.

The thing that many teachers neglect is themselves.

For those new to the profession it is especially important to look after yourself.

Resist the urge to try and do everything.

Be reasonable.

Don’t spend too long planning lessons – anything longer than the length of the lesson is ridiculous.

Make sure you eat well, do exercise and make plans to ensure your work/life balance is as healthy as it can ever be as a teacher. Follow these tips and you will have put the building blocks in place that will enable you to focus on the most important thing – your classroom teaching.

What constitutes ‘ an outstanding NQT’ is a matter of labels and bullet points.

The criteria is at the behest of Ofsted and the goalposts change from time to time. However, outstanding lessons are essentially a combination of engagement, challenge, independent learning, assessment and progress.

Focusing on these key aspects will drive the standard of your teaching up and well on the way to becoming an outstanding NQT.