Key questions

What does the perfect Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) look like?

What do Subject Leaders and students want from their NQT?

For anyone who is new to the teaching profession their first year can be notoriously difficult. How to survive your first year in teaching by Sue Cowley goes a long way to help by offering tried and tested strategies and solutions on how to cope. This will not only help the reader to survive but also enjoy their first year. The book uses real situations and experiences to tell it like it is.

What will you bring to the department?

So, you have your first job. Try thinking about what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are. Are there ways you can strengthen weaknesses and eradicate threats before your post begins? Examples could be attending a CPD course to gain some extra skills and ideas, participating in lesson observations with collegues who have strengths you wish to work on, or discussing your hopes / fears with your new Head of Department before the busy terms begins.

Top tips

  • Know your subject and be passionate about teaching it

  • Get to know your students and their abilities

  • Plan carefully but try not to get bogged down with papaerwork and administration

  • Be a team player and do not be afraid to ask for help

  • Establish your boundaries and presence and stick to them

  • Be resiliant and stay on top of things

  • Try to handle different personalities well

  • Be kind to all the staff, especially the useful ones. These include the bursar, secretaries, reprographics and caretakers

  • Enjoy your geography and continue to develop your own CPD

  • Make note of important deadlines in your diary such as reports and coursework marking

  • Try not to take on too much in your first year. Extra curricular activities may sound fun, but will you realistically have enough time to help coordinate the school play as well as planning, marking etc

  • Do not reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of great teaching resources out there so take advantage of them

  • Ask your pupils for feedback at the end of your first term to see how you are responding to their needs

  • Take care of yourself. Ensure you have a good work/life balance and some time for relaxation

  • Have fun, it is only a job

Thanks to Graham Goldup CGeog from Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove and Paul Cornish from Coopers' Company and Coborn School in Upminster. Information taken from a presentation led by Graham and Paul at a Geography CPD event for PGCE students at RGS-IBG.