In my previous blog I outlined a few KS3 top tips that may help you as you start your first year in ITT or begin your NQT in a new school. What I forgot to point out was that the context of that blog did not magically appear to me when I started teaching, nor did I have a hitherto unforeseen sixth sense for managing a classroom. Rather, what I learned during my NQT I did so through many conversations with colleagues and considerable reflection on my own mistakes.
Embracing when things do not go to plan is still something that I am getting used to. What I try to remember is that the more we try to delineate a growth mindset for our pupils, the more we should model that mindset. I say this to point out the fact that these blog postings are derived from my initial experiences as an NQT. Some of those experiences were positive, whereas others required a fair bit of reflection on my part.
Last week I wrote that I would be subsequently including some top tips to help you with your level two and three pupils in your ITT or NQT year. If you’re undertaking teacher training then it is important that you follow the lead your mentor gives you. Your mentor will have cultivated these year groups carefully so they can get the right balance within the classroom, which is somewhere between positive motivation and firm reminders of looming deadlines. Closely observe your mentor during KS4/5 lessons and think about the questions you can ask them during your allotted meeting times. These questions will be vital in shaping your own planning when you begin your NQT year.
If you are about to start your NQT year then the best bit of advice I can give you is to know your spec inside out. Not only that, but give yourself a clear timeline of what you expect to be done, both by yourself and your pupils, within the half term/term/year. Explore prior exam questions and use them to allow your pupils to become familiar with the language of exam questions. Use the data from this to inform your medium-term planning. I found that pupil recall of key facts within my GCSE class was strong but that they would sometimes struggle with exam style questions. I used this data to build more exam style questions into my lessons.
As the majority of national exam subjects are moving to a primarily terminal assessment based model it is important that you build in an understanding of what the examinations will look, feel and sound like. However, you can also use short tests at the start of a lesson to check understanding and retention. Keep a log of the scores from these tests to inform your planing.
This leads on to my final point, which is to track and log everything. Do not just rely on the data you input in to your schools MIS. If you are setting up interventions for a pupil, putting on revision sessions or going an extra (extra) mile then make sure you are logging it.