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Support to overcome challenges

In this video and expereinced mentor of newly qualified teachers explains the type of support she has provided
Hi. I’m Emma Booth. I’m head of English at the Derby High School in Bury, and I’m here today to talk to you about some of the ways that new teachers have struggled with us, and the wider support and solutions that have been found.
So as I said, I’m the head of English at the Derby High, but I am also the NQT mentor and have been for several years in our department. One of the issues that some of our NQTs have found initially is the idea of being overwhelmed, with being left alone with their classes for the very first time. And this can be quite a significant feeling of overwhelment at the start. But I want to reassure you that this will wear off very, very quickly once you become familiar with your students– whether that be in terms of their names, and the classroom routines that you establish within your room. You must remember that you are the one that is in charge.
The students are entering your classroom. The students are teenagers, and they do adapt to change very, very quickly, and they will soon recognise you and accept you as their teacher. This feeling of overwhelment which I speak of is very typical with any new job, not just a teaching job. You will soon settle in and become part of the furniture in your school. To help you with this, though, it is important to be organised. This is key when you are a teacher, especially at the start of your teaching journey. You could work all day and night but still never be finished. And it is important to get used to the idea of prioritising.
During your NQT year, you’ll have regular meetings with your NQT mentor in school, and they will help you to manage your workload. You’re not alone in this, so you must seek other members of the department or wider school network. And they will reassure you that you will soon settle in. The second thing that some of our NQTs have had issues with is getting used to dealing with situations that you might not have encountered a lot during your training, such as analysing data or dealing with difficult parents. My advice with this is to seek out help and advice. People want to help you, but equally, they don’t want to patronise you, either.
So it’s important that you do seek out that advice. Ask for CPD if you know you have a weakness with a specific area. It may be that you’ve not made a huge amount of phone calls to parents, et cetera. And also ask to shadow a more experienced member of staff completing those tasks that you’ve never done before so that you can see how other people do it. And you may pick up some important tips to help you when you do those activities. And finally, one thing that does concern quite a lot of our NQTs at the start is behaviour management issues.
And I just want to reassure you that everyone has behaviour management issues when they start in a new school– whether they go in as an NQT, or whether they go in having taught for 20 years. We are dealing with teenagers, at the end of the day. If you are having behaviour management issues at the start of your NQT year, then speak to your Head of Department. They will be able to support you with this. But equally, be proactive. If you are having difficulties with a specific student, then speak to other staff members who have taught that student before or ask to go and see them in another lesson, where you may pick up some strategies.
It is also useful to speak to the Head of Year or liaise with parents, as there may be issues going on outside of school that are impacting behaviour in your lessons. It’s important to stay firm, but fair. Consistency is the key when it comes to behaviour management. If students recognise that they will be treated fairly in your lessons, then they will get used to that and will accept that. Have established routines in your classroom. If students know what is happening when they turn up to your lessons, they are more likely to comply with you and your routines in your room. I hope this has been helpful, and good luck on your teaching journey.
You are entering a fantastic profession, and you won’t regret it.

In this video Emma, an experienced mentor for new teachers in secondary education, discusses some of the challenges her new teachers have faced. The video gives some suggestions for support and solutions to overcome the challenges.

An important message is that they will happen! There will be times when you face difficulties and things don’t always go as you intend. The important thing is to ask and discuss these with your mentors and colleagues.

What do you think is the most important message from Emma’s experience of working with new teachers?

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How to Succeed as a Newly Qualified Teacher

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