Every year sees an influx of new teachers enter the profession. Much attention is afforded to their enthusiasm, trepidation and what they should be looking to achieve in their first post. Here we explore how schools can effectively nurture their NQT’s and maximise their potential.
New teachers are characterised by freshness, passion and modern thinking. It is right to have high expectations of them. Their motivation is likely to be a combination of a desire to work with young people, a passion for their subject and school holidays. Ideally they will hit the ground running, forging a successful career that will enrich the lives of many young people.
To maximise their potential, newly qualified teachers require a nurturing environment where they are given opportunities to develop their skills. Every teacher remembers what their first post was like and encouragement is essential to help cultivate NQT’s. Praise is a means to make someone feel like they really belong in their school and in the profession. However, this should be linked to tangible achievements. Support and encouragement must be given where an NQT is not quite meeting expectations.
Remember that during their training NQT’s will have had the opportunity to look beyond day to day classroom practice and find connections between their own practice and the work of experts. This is often overlooked and gaining NQT’s thoughts on teaching strategies is a good way of integrating them into a department and utilising their skills. It is highly likely that an NQT will show colleagues something that they have never seen before. We recommend being open to embracing their new ideas as means of welcoming them to the profession.
Work Life Balance
This is a phrase that is regularly overheard in schools. The profession is demanding meaning teachers often feel overworked and under constant pressure. It is likely that NQT’s will need to be supported during key pressure points during the year. For instance, reporting periods and prior to examinations. Being organised and establishing priorities is essential to achieve an effective work life balance. Therefore, we advise mentors to encourage NQT’s to work hard and to work smart.
NQT mentors are required to set a good example. The basics of smart dress, good timekeeping and professionalism are a must. NQT’s will make mistakes and the important thing is to learn from all experiences. A coaching style is advised where open questions are favoured. For instance, “Why do you think that happened?” or “What would have made that better?" This will put the onus on NQT’s to solve problems for themselves and encourage them to develop their own thinking which will benefit them in the long term.
The appraisal process is a means of developing a teacher’s potential. It is a two way process which should focus on achievements, key strengths and areas for improvement. For an NQT, they will need to think carefully about their initial teaching, their contribution to their school and their career ahead. An effective performance management tracking system will enable an NQT to document their achievements throughout the school year. Our software, SchooliP features a unique mobile app that allows evidence to be collated with ease. A robust appraisal system will effectively monitor staff and help avoid any problems escalating.
NQT’s have a wealth of information available at their fingertips. There is no shortage of support available online from resource websites, social media and forums. In nurturing NQT’s, support in school is required to provide an effective framework for their development. Effective mentoring is key to ensuring a good work life balance and maximising their potential. The appraisal process serves as a means to reinforce what has been learnt during their training and determine where their career will progress in the future.
If you are part of a multi-academy trust, collective opportunities exist for nurturing your NQTs. For instance, your NQT induction can be standardised throughout your trust. Also, opportunities for your NQT’s to meet and share experiences and resources can be facilitated. SchooliP is used in 42 multi-academy trusts and is the simplest and most effective way to manage teacher and staff appraisals in schools. We enjoy a proven track record of providing a centralised structure that helps teachers new and old work efficiently in an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable profession.