Every year, Newly Qualified Teachers (or NQTs) face their first day at school all over again, and for many, the journey can feel pretty scary.
So, with September just around the corner, we thought we would offer NQTs some support with one of the biggest worries they often have, which is always…what you should do in the first few days.
Right from the word go, you need to be clear about what your behaviour expectations are, and stick to them!
The biggest mistake a new teacher can make is to not communicate their expectations to the children from the get-go. Every teacher has different expectations and you can’t expect the children to know what yours are without both telling and showing them. Here are some things to think about when deciding yours:
- What will the noise level expectation be when the children are working?
- What will your morning routine be? Will there be early work on the board? Where should the children put book bags and notes from home? Where should homework be placed?
- What’s the routine after break and lunchtimes? Do the children line up in silence outside your door or come straight in and sit on the carpet?
- How do you expect the children to line up for Assembly? Is there a line lead and how do you expect them to walk around the school?
Set Class Rules
A really lovely activity for the first day is to set the class rules together. Not only does this give the children great ownership of the classroom, but it also gives you an opportunity to get to know them a bit better, to set your expectations again, and to get learning into the classroom from day one!
It also gives you a great chance to observe the class dynamics and quickly identify those children who will take control and those who will sit back. Use this as an assessment opportunity for PSHE and make notes on your planning as to who struggles with group activities and who needs more support in working as a team. This will nicely inform your next PSHE session.
This can be a very easy lesson to run. Give each group a large piece of flip chart paper and ask them to write out 5 rules. Then ask them to present to the rest of the class. You can almost guarantee that they will all be negative rules – so it’s a great chance to work as a class to turn them into positive ones and arrive at your final rules. Once these are typed up, the children, and you, can sign the rules and they can be proudly displayed on your wall as a reminder for the rest of the year.