Teachers TV Lesson Plan
Primary NQTs Practical Tips
Associated Teachers TV Programme
Expert Sara Bubb gives top advice on common NQT problems.
Note to Teachers
This lesson plan was not created by Teachers TV but the author has allowed us to publish it
here to be used for educational purposes.
Practical tips for NQTs
How many people fail the induction year? Is it a significant risk?
At the moment only about one in 500 don’t pass their induction year. Remember, the
whole system is set up to support you. If you’re having behaviour management
problems in the first term, it is the school and the LEA’s duty to make sure that your
induction support programme helps you with those problems. Somebody failing
should be an absolutely last resort.
The NQTs say:
Remember that no matter how nervous you are on your first day, the kids are
You may know literacy and numeracy strategies inside out, but the way
they’re implemented in schools is so different. Don’t worry about asking really
I won’t have time to get into school before I start in September because I’m
on holiday. Will that be a problem?
It would be nice to think that it wouldn’t be a problem, but in a primary school it will
be. When you go in to most primary classrooms at the end of the summer holidays,
the furniture is just in a heap in the middle of the classroom because everything’s
been clean and tidied. It’s up to the teachers to set up the classroom. Setting
everything up can take the best part of a week. Those poor teachers who can’t get in
because they’re away may never have that time again, because once term starts,
the pace of life is so fast.
Get back as soon as you can and do as much as you can
Get the schemes of work and all your planning done before you go away
Even doing little things like getting your labels for tray done will help
Warn the school that you will be away
The NQTs say:
It’s great reading in theory about how to set up a classroom, but when you walk in
and you’ve got a pile of furniture sitting on the carpet, it takes hours!
Get your friends in to help you set up the classroom.
Draw a plan.
Don’t be afraid to ask people for advice and help. Everyone remembers what
it was like to be an NQT.
Q: How do I assert my authority from day one without coming across as a
tyrannical control freak who will scare off the kids?
Think about the behaviour you expect and what behaviour you’re not going to
put up with
Think about all the little nitty-gritty: what happens when a child calls out
without putting up their hand and gives the right answer? The natural instinct
is to say “well done”. But it’s the last thing you should do
Spend the first hour drawing up classroom rules and talking about behaviour
Instead of saying, “don’t call out” or “don’t push and shove”, phrase your rules very
Have five or ten golden rules, for example:
We treat people like we’d like to be treated ourselves
We’re here to learn and we must care for each other
We must listen
When you’ve set up your rules you also need to think about the consequences for
those rules. Make it clear to the children that they have choices. No matter how
young they are, they have the choice to do the right thing, to stick to the rules and
do what’s expected of them. Make sure those reward systems are set up properly
and are systematic and fair.
How do I establish classroom rules? What sort of expectations and attitudes
should I have for the students?
The non-verbal stuff is very powerful: that rather cross face, that “I’m very
disappointed in you” look
It helps to move physically to the child who’s not paying attention or who’s
talking when they’re not meant to be and it won’t interrupt the flow of your
Think why a naughty child is behaving the way they are:
o Why are they like that?
o Are they doing it as an avoidance tactic? They can’t do their work, but
don’t want to say it, so they mess around. So you need to make the
work easy enough for them to do.
o Or maybe it’s a power struggle: in Year 6, the hormones are kicking in
and it’s cool to take on the teacher. In that sort of situation, you want
to get them on their own.
o You need to look at why they are choosing not to do the right thing.
The NQTs say:
You must always remember you are the boss, you are in control. What you
say goes. This shouldn’t be in an authoritarian way, but if you start getting
into too much negotiation, you’ll get in trouble.
The most important thing in terms of behaviour management is to have fun
lessons. Your lessons need to be exciting. If children enjoy them, you’re not
going to have problems.
If the children are dozing off to sleep or getting a bit hyper-, get out of your
chairs and do something a bit physical.
Q: How should I approach working with a teaching assistant?
Some NQTs can feel a bit threatened by a TA who clearly knows more than they do,
gets the children quieter and has more status in the classroom. That can be hard to
manage. But it can be a very positive thing: you’ve got someone in the room who
can keep the children in order.
Be open in trying to learn from them
Get them on your side
Don’t be shy about asking a TA to take a back seat
Have a code between you for when you’d like them to chip in and help out
Keep the dialogue going
The NQTs say:
Include them in your planning, talk to them about what you’re doing. Your TA may
have lots of resources stored away.
They’ll have done it before and might know what needs to be done in three weeks’
Q: I’m worried about parent’s evening. How do I win their confidence?
You need to be so well prepared for parents’ evening. If you get them on your side, if
you win their confidence, things are going to go really smoothly. If the parents leave
the PE feeling twitchy about their child’s teacher, you’re in for a lot of trouble. So:
Write notes about each individual child, with several things that are good and
one thing that needs to be worked upon
Be honest about the child
Bring a piece of the child’s work that is illustrative of how they’re doing
If the parents know you’re an NQT, make sure that they see the advantages that can
If you come across as highly confident, extremely enthusiastic, caring and
very up-to-date in the latest teaching methods and subject knowledge, they
won’t see having an NQT as a bad thing.
Be very well organised.
Think good ways to end the conversation - parents love speaking about their
child and want as much time as possible.
The NQTs say:
Photocopy the first piece of writing that a child does and keep it in a folder and if
you’re ever feeling like you’re not getting anywhere, look at that piece of work.