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“Hi there, this is Martin Illingworth and I've been charged with the question o - I am an NQT - what are the top three things I should do to be effective?

Two Types of Teacher

Well, firstly I think you need to establish yourself as a part of the school.

A wise deputy head once said to me “Martin, there are two types of teachers in the school. Firstly, there's the teachers that are just passing through and secondly there's those teachers who are part of the place”.

Now, I guess to a certain extent we're all teachers just passing through, but if everybody thinks that you are a part of the place and you're invested in it, that's going to be really, really important.

So, speak up. Nobody knows you all that well at the moment.

Say what you think in whole staff meetings. Say what you think in departmental meetings and get to know the kids not just in the classroom but around and about.

Become a part of the fabric of the place.

Let the staff know that you're here and that you're making a strong contribution to making a school.

Show You Care

Secondly, you need to earn your credit in the classroom and make it clear to the children that you know what you're doing and, also make it clear to them that you care.

Those things are intensely important to children. If it looks like you know what you're doing, it looks like you care.

Then the kids know that you're the teacher and they're going to let you teach which gives you the space to deliver the curriculum and, that's important.

Help the Wafters

I think thirdly, try and look out for those children that really need your help.

I mean lots of kids come to school without ever really appreciating what it is they're going to get out of it, kids come to school because that's what they've got to do.

But can you support those children who are just wafting their way through school, to understand the beauty of their lives now?

Can you offer them an education past an education that is defined by their exam score?

Can you point them towards the potential that they have for the future?

The Value Of Your Lesson

Always be clear about the value of your lesson. Let the kids know at the start the lesson what's relevant, what's interesting and what's meaningful in what we're doing today.

What is it that the children will get from your lesson and in what ways will they be richer in an hour?

Those are my three tips for now.

Establish yourself as part of the school. Make sure that you're seen, earn your credit in the classroom. Look like you know what you're doing and look like you care and, thirdly look out for those children who particularly need your help and offer them an education at home!

Good luck to you and enjoy your teaching.

Thank you!”

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About the author

Martin Illingworth

Martin Illingworth

Martin is an English specialist with many years as a teacher who is now a Senior Lecturer in Education at Sheffield Hallam University. As well books written around his subject specialism, he has also written Think Before You Teach and the controversial (but highly post-Covid world relevant) Forget School.

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