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The biggest challenges for new teachers

Some advice from new teachers following their experiences of challenging situations
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The main challenge is the workload. You’ve probably got around 20 lessons a week now as an NQT, rather than the 12 you had during PGCE. Plus on top of that, you’ve got all the marking, meetings, parents’ evenings. The lessons can really get on top of you if you let them. Don’t. Keep your planning really simple. Know what you need to teach before you start planning. Get your hands on textbooks, if you can from your subjects, use those to help you. I use them all the time for maths. Use resources from your department. Politely ask your subject mentor– your school mentor, sorry– for their lessons.
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I wouldn’t recommend you making your own resources at this stage in your career because it probably already exists, but better. Once you’re planning more quickly, you will have time to inject some of the great pedagogy you learned about at university, which might not be commonplace at school. Try not to forget these things you’ve learned. In my experience, some schools can be too focused on short-term goals, where as universities care about increasing attainment for all pupils, and importantly, improving attitudes towards your specialist subject. So one of the most challenging things I found at the start of my NQT year was definitely having a work-life balance. As an NQT, you’ll be faced with a lot of things that you need to do.
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And a lot of teachers will tell you the NQT year is one of the most, if not the most, challenging years in your teaching career. So you may be very overwhelmed with the amount of work that you need to do and trying to perform your professional duties. And I found that I could easily get wrapped up in that, and that may have an effect on your physical and mental health and well-being. So it is very important that you try to take care of yourself, whether that’s taking some time in the evening, having that time on the weekend, or having a set day where you can actually do something for yourself.
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It’s very important to have a support network that’s around you, inside and outside the school. That’s one of the reasons why you have a mentor. As well, you’ve got a TA– well, some of you may not have one, but a lot of you may have a TA. And they’re with you in your classroom to help share those challenges and help make your teaching a bit more easier. And also outside the school, you may have friends that did your placement with you and were able to experience and share what you’re going through. Or you may just have friends that will help you take your mind off of all the things that you need to do.
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So even when you do have a lot of things that you need to get done, it’s important that maybe in the day, you have three things that are on your list. Because your plate is never full as a teacher. So it’s important that you pace yourself and organise yourself, so you’re not too overwhelmed and stressed with all of the duties that you need to do at school. And make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and you also have a personal life as well outside of school.

In this video, Jake and Paris describe some of the biggest challenges they faced as new teachers and provide some useful advice. There is a clear theme. Are you surprised by anything they have experienced?

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How to Succeed as a Newly Qualified Teacher

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