building confidence in a NQT role

As a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT), it's common to experience stress caused by the pressure of your new responsibilities. 

Over the course of your training, you will have been introduced to a number of theories of learning, and in schools you will have observed a number of styles of teaching and gained some teaching experience. Once you've accepted your first NQT job it’s time to put these things into practice! Before your first day, it's likely that you'll be hit by the sudden realisation that this is your own class now – and this can really knock your confidence. To help you build your confidence, we've put together a list of some of the skills you'll need to demonstrate as an NQT, and some insights and knowledge to support you in becoming a successful teacher.

What insights are essential for an NQT to succeed?

It is important to realise that your sense of doubt about your abilities is not something that is unique to NQTs - every teacher throughout their career can experience moments where they feel like they are an impostor and wonder if they are really qualified to teach the children in front of them. They question their ability to make the right decisions for their students.

At these moments, expressing your doubts to colleagues is essential if you want to prevent them from overwhelming you and affecting your teaching practice. Emotional honesty is one of the most important traits that any teacher, but especially an NQT, must possess.

It's also helpful you to know that, although as an NQT you have a lot to learn, this is also likely to be true of all teachers. Even the most experienced teacher will tell you that they never stop improving their teaching, learning new tricks and adapting their approach. 

Teaching is as much about continual learning for you as it is for your students.

What knowledge is essential for an NQT to succeed?

You will need a strong grasp and firm understanding of the material you are to teach if you are going to be able to communicate it clearly, confidently and with enthusiasm. 

Time taken reviewing any gaps in your knowledge will be time well spent. Whilst it's helpful to have a broad understanding of your subject area, focus your energies on the areas that will be covered in the national curriculum for the year groups you are responsible for.

Alongside subject knowledge, pedagogical knowledge is also crucial. This means that teachers must know how children learn, and they must understand how various children learn differently. You'll have covered some of this in your training, and you will develop your knowledge as you move through your teaching career.

What skills are essential for an NQT to succeed?

Your knowledge of different learning styles must translate into a repertory of excellent communication skills. You need to explain the same material in different ways to accommodate different learning needs and preferences. 

Interpersonal skills are best acquired by adopting a reflective approach to your teaching practice. You must take note and learn what approaches work and which did not have the desired outcome.

Finally, as you will have discovered in your training placements, modern schools rely heavily on IT equipment to bring learning to life. Technological skills are essential if you are to make the most of the learning opportunities that technology offers!

The confident NQT

Confidence, and how you deal with maintaining it, can be a critical factor in a successful first year of teaching. Whilst there are skills that you must already hold, and continue to develop, underpinning these must be that crucial sense of self-belief.

Dips in confidence can be used to develop yourself as a teacher: it is a sign that you are a reflective practitioner. It is important that you discuss these dips with colleagues or friends, and learn from them, so that they do not hinder you but spur you onwards in your career.


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