The first day of school is a daunting experience – for students and teachers alike. Despite attempting to blend in wearing wallflower outfits, you are always going to feel as if you’re sticking out like a sore thumb. Every year, Newly Qualified Teachers (or NQT’s) face their first day at school all over again, and for many the journey can feel perilous. With 30 sets of eyes watching and annotating what type of teacher you will be, it’s important to grab the bull by the horns and let your confidence surge. TeacherBoards Community thought the best way to help you through your first day, week or month, was to ask the experts and see how other teachers found and fought through their first day. Read on for tips and advice from previous NQT’s and experience teachers on how to concur that first day at school.
Ready, Set, Go
Being prepared for your first day as an NQT seems like an obvious statement, but there may be some elements of your plan that you may have bypassed. Get ready to have a seating plan in order, you may hear a few mumbles and groans if you happen to separate ‘best friends for life’ but it can help you feel in control. This can also help you begin to remember your new class’s names. If, like many of us, you struggle to remember the 30 names that have been thrown at you all at once, you can read this previous TeacherBoards Community article on ‘How to Remember Names for New Classes’.
Another way to be prepared for your first time as an NQT is to prep yourself for criticism and take it in your stride. Cherrelle, a teacher from Manchester says ‘I think passion is vital in this job! It certainly isn’t a job for the money and long holidays. When I first started my journey, I knew that being a teacher wasn’t easy, however, I didn’t fully understand how hard it can be (which came as a bit of a shock but I’m learning to cope with it)! You definitely need to be able to take criticism and use it constructively. It takes up a lot of your time but I’ve managed to do it with two young children- yes it’s stressful and I’ve cried and screamed but it can be done!’.
As harsh as it may seem, you won’t have a second chance to make a first impression. Start as you mean to go on is the way forward. Although you want to come across as a likeable character, acting overly relaxed across the first few days can make it increasingly difficult to discipline your class when necessary. However, an article by Christina Giles from The Guardian has argued that acting overly strict can also create a negative persona that you might not want to portray for the rest of the school year. Make sure students understand the rules of your classroom, and be quick to ensure your no-nonsense behaviour policy. There’s a vast space between Hagrid and Professor Snape; it’s important that you can find that happy medium.
Keep your Home as your Home
For many people, this is easier said than done. You may have had a stressful first week, but if you’re letting all the negativity replay over again in your head after work you need to find ways to unwind. If this is becoming a growing issue, you need to take priority of your own well being. Self care and sleep are two things that can help you feel at the top of your game again. If you avoid these two factors, not only will you be weakening your own satisfaction, but the students will begin to feel the brunt of an unhappy teacher. Workplace anxiety and sleep deprivation are becoming increasingly damaging for teacher lifestyles, make sure you’re looking after yourself.
Don’t Suffer in Silence
If you need help, never be afraid to ask for it. Teaching is not a competition and everybody at some point may need a helping hand or some inspirational advice. Remember, when you’re preparing for your first day at school, all the other teachers and teaching staff (and even the students) have had their own first day at some point.
Confidence is Key
Keep your motivational methods in mind! You’ve put a whole lot of effort into getting here, and you’re not about to throw it away because of your nerves. When you’re feeling a lack of confidence, remember that you are more than qualified to be a teacher. You’ve gotten this far and you have a whole new and exciting journey ahead of you. Confidence is key – you can do it!
Here are some success stories from other experienced teachers that have been in the same position of going through that first day as a new teacher:
Jhothi (teacher) says: ‘Teaching is an art, not everyone can excel it!! I realised the first day itself I must navigate through my class developing understanding among 25 students. Every student comes with his own set of baggage which should be temporarily set aside and bring an equilibrium in the class, to help everyone understand the subject. With all these it was very difficult for me, had sleepless nights too and still do have. Everyday on toes upgrading to the needs of my students . All said and done I love my profession and wish to do more!’
Vanitha (teacher) says: After a long journey as a mother with my wonderful kids. I decided to step into the teaching profession one of my passions from my child hood. First day was bit hectic I was appointed as a year 1 tutor. First day full of tears in my kids eyes and of course in my eyes. They don’t want to leave their parents I don’t want to leave my kids! Second day most of the crying babies are ready to rock and me too. From that day till now I am doing my teaching work with full interest and lots and lots of creativity. Kids love differential approach. If it is a session after lunch I always start my lesson with a small game of some moves round activity. So the ultimate goal you have to go as per the kids interest and mentality and don’t forget to finish your task on the same time! Successfully working for 8 continuous years with different age group. Good luck
If you’re looking to be on top of your game and be prepared for your first day of school, make sure you’ve got all your classroom essentials ready. Visit our TeacherBoards website for all the school essentials that will brighten up your classroom and organise your every day.