So you’ve got a job for September and you’ve been asked to go in for a Meet the Teacher day or a handover day which is really exciting. BUT….what on earth do you want to know or find out? For NQT’s (or any teacher starting a new school) it can be an overwhelming experience. There is so much that you want to know, and so much you need to know that you don’t realise, that it can be hard to start! So, here are 9 important questions to ask as an NQT that will help you hit the ground running in September.
5 Important Questions To Ask As An NQT
How does the school plan, assess and what topics are set for the Autumn term?
You’ll want to start planning, even for only the first few days, over the Summer holidays so you need to know how the school plans. Some schools have a particular pro forma, some allow you to plan how you like. Often schools will have already done a long term plan for you, and often a medium term plan as well, so ask for those for your class. If possible, ask for a pro forma to be emailed to you so you can get planning when you want to. Nearly every school will have decided on the topics for the Autumn term, so make sure to get hold of them. If you have a chance to look around the school see if you can find resources that will help you plan for your topics!
What are the Maths and English schemes of work?
All schools will have a scheme of work to follow for both English and Maths. Some have moved to text books, such as Maths No Problem, whereas some will be using a scheme created by their county. Find out how to access the resources for the scheme your school uses. If it is a county scheme (such as Herts for Learning) then ask for the login details so you can begin to familiarise yourself with them. This is a really important question to ask as an NQT as you may find the school uses a scheme you are unfamiliar with, and the Summer holidays is a great time to get to grips with it so you can hit the ground running in September.
When is the school open over the holidays?
You’ll undoubtably want to get into your classroom over the Summer to start putting up displays and organising your space. Schools are often open for most of the holidays, but do ask when it would be appropriate for you to come in. If you are in a school with more than one class per year group, it’s also worth asking the other teachers when they are coming in too. This will give you some time to chat to them, find out what plans there are for the year group and maybe get some joint planning time in too. If you get the chance, it’s a really good idea to meet the caretaker and perhaps take his/her mobile number. Caretakers are often the unsung heroes of schools – I can’t count the number of times a wonderful caretaker has helped me build something for my classroom or remove furniture I didn’t need!
What is my new class like?
This is possibly the most important question you can ask as an NQT. Most schools arrange a teacher handover where you can ask questions and find out more about each child in your new class. It’s a great opportunity to find out which children work well together, where there are potential problems, who might need more help and any home issues the previous teacher can tell you about. A word of warning here though. Sometimes a child and teacher don’t gel and you can get a more negative view of a student than another teacher would have said. Always take on board what the previous teacher has said, but never let it blur your judgement of the class come September. What didn’t work for a previous teacher, might work brilliantly for you!
Who is who in the school?
A staff list can be an invaluable piece of paper. It will not only let you know who is teaching which class, but it will also tell you who the subject leaders, who the TA’s are and who your mentor is. Make every effort possible to meet with as many teachers as possible during your visit, especially your mentor and the main subject leaders for English and Maths. These will be people who will be able to help you during your first few weeks. Never be afraid to email them with questions about planning and schemes of work – they will be delighted to help you.
Although these are important questions to ask as an NQT, you can guarantee that you will think of so many more. But don’t try to take everything in all at once. No one will expect you to know everything on the first day back. You will find that the first day or so back will be Inset days, so there will be a chance to ask lots more questions and you will be given more information then you know what to do with it!
If you aren’t sure what types of questions to ask about your class, grab your FREE class table below which will give you a great starting point and will start the questions flowing!
Have you joined our wonderful Facebook community which is specifically for NQT’s and those who have been teaching only a few years? If not, then do come along and join us!