NQT Guide to using your time wisely this summer.

Congratulations! You're an NQT and you have a wonderful class looking forward to having you as their teacher from September. Now is the time to pat yourself on the back and take in the massive achievement you've completed. It's easy to get carried away and spend hours online and visiting pound shops, IKEA, charity shops, etc. for the things you want in your class. BUT STOP!! From experience, I can tell you that half the things I bought in the summer before my NQT year lived in the cupboards at the back of my class and only came out when I moved. Do not waste your time and money on things you might not need. However, this time (and maybe a little money if you want) can be spent wisely. You'll feel a lot less overwhelmed if you do some preparation during the summer before that INSET day in September. I've gathered a list of things to think about and sort during summer that I wish I had known about!

prepare for new school year


Classroom

Create items for your classroom (some may be done in transition lesson) sort name labels for your books, back your display boards, sort through any bits the previous teacher had left there. Put labels on pegs etc.

Set up the classroom how you think it would fit but keep these questions in mind:

  • How will your tables be set out? They could go in groups or in rows facing the front. Depending on behaviour and the layout/view in your classroom, it may be useful to keep them in rows
  • How do you want the transition between lessons to go? Books on tables? Books on a shelf with monitors? 
  • How will you organise stationary? A box in the middle a group of tables with pens, pencils, etc is great for KS1. Or will they have their own pencil cases or just simple pencil, ruler and rubber in front of them to look after with other resources on a resource table to collect when needed.

Routines

Think about the routines you need to put in place with your class:
  • How do you get their attention? The first thing to decide on and be consistent with behaviour rules from the start. What do you expect from them when you clap, ring a bell, or start a countdown?
  • Will you have class helpers or monitors to do different jobs around the classroom? 
  • What do you want the morning routine to be like? What do you expect pupils to do first thing in the morning? My class comes in, get out their home-school diaries, change books if needed and then puts them in my TAs desk, order tuck if wanted, and then follow my instructions on the interactive whiteboard which is usually a little task for them to do on individual whiteboards.
advice for summer as an NQT

Lessons


Create a curriculum map. You may get this from your new school or have the freedom to create your own (Download my free template). It is an overview of the whole year's topics for each subject.

Create Medium-term plans for foundation subjects. There are plenty of pre-made MTPs online so look around for ideas! Download my Year 2 topic MTPs for Titanic, Castles, and Dinosaurs on my TES shop.

For the first half-term, have a  rough idea of what you’re teaching in maths and English. Use your curriculum map and break it down to weekly objectives and then possible brief lesson objectives. This may change once you’ve assessed their abilities so don’t spend time on too much detail.

Plan the first few days. It's a great time to get your early assessments done: KS1 phonics and handwriting assessment to find out who may need more support or be in target groups. Cold writes are independent writing opportunities that show what children can and can't do to help plan. (Are they using conjunctions? Do they use punctuation correctly? Can they use a variety of sentence types?)

RELAX

Do lots of fun things and rest loads. The first half term can be very full-on and you may sometimes feel overwhelmed whilst you get used to having your own class, a new marking policy, all the extra bits and pieces you weren’t expecting. This is your time to refresh and mentally prepare for an amazing new career that'll be challenging in some ways but it'll definitely be so so so rewarding!!

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