To Get You Started… NQT Day #3

Things you need to find out today:

  • Designated person  Who is the designated person in your school who you have to inform if a pupil discloses something to you which needs passing on?  Remember never to guarantee confidentiality to a pupil.

Things you need to do today:

  • If you touch it, deal with it   Paperwork (if it hasn’t already) will now start to come at you from all directions.  Resolve to deal with it as soon as you touch it and then you can forget about it before you…. forget about it.
  • Homework timetable  When you know the homework nights for each group, plot them on your own timetable and also when you plan to take each group’s books in.  Always leave a free day between setting it and taking it in so pupils can come and ask you for help if they need to.  Work it so that you don’t take more than one set in per day, or you’ll never manage it!  If you really have to, then make sure one of the homeworks is quick to mark.
  • Setting homework   When you start setting homework, do it in the first half of the lesson, as close to the beginning as you can – it will always take longer than you think and it will leave pupils the time they need to ask questions.  If necessary, build up to the homework in the previous lesson, it will take the pressure off!
  • Learn names!  By the end of next week, you need to know the names of all your pupils.  Allow at least some time in every lesson for this.  You will probably have a parents’ evening quite early on and/or reports to write.  That’s very difficult if you don’t know who you’re talking/writing about!
  • Set up for tomorrow today  Before you go home, how much of tomorrow can you set out on your table today?  It will save you time in the morning and if the traffic is bad on the way in, it won’t ruin your day from the beginning.  Make a to-do list of whatever is missing.  Don’t trust your memory!
  • Facebook  Check your security settings if you’re on Facebook.  You really don’t want pupils being able to see your updates, information or photos.  And they will be looking for you on there already.  Oh yes.  They will.  Never ever accept a pupil as a friend on Facebook.  Yes, I know it’s obvious, but I also know people who have got themselves into serious trouble over this.

Things to think about:

  • Transitions   Watch your transitions – these are the danger points in a lesson, particularly with new groups, and they will be one of the things that most enduringly establish what the working environment will be like in your room.  Think about how and when you will give equipment out so that it doesn’t start pupils off talking, which you then have to stop.  Never call a class down to silence at the end of an activity without first making sure you have the next thing you need in your hand.  It’s when you stop a class, then turn away to get what you need, then turn back to them, that you lose them.
  • Understanding your school  If you grew up in another country’s school system, it’s really important to learn to adapt to how things are done in the school where you are working.  Expectations of pupils, work, behaviour, dress, teacher-pupil relationships and how things are dealt with are almost certainly going to be at least slightly different, if not significantly.  Watch how others in your department approach these areas and talk about it with them.
  • Misbehaviour  When dealing with misbehaviour, let this be your guide to how you respond: “What do I want the outcome to be?”
  • Observations  It won’t be long before you have your first formal observation.  Start to think now about what you would like that observer to see in your room in terms of pupil relationships, working atmosphere, sense of purposefulness.  These things take time to establish, and they’re vital, so make them a priority now.
You’re half-way through your first week already! (Does Monday seem like a long time ago?!).  What went well today?
See you tomorrow!

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