I hope you are having a great week and really enjoying the summer. I know that school is probably on your mind most of the time, and that some of you will have already been into your classrooms to set it all up. If you haven’t – don’t panic, there is more than enough time! One question I was asked the most when I was an NQT mentor, was:
‘Who do I talk to about…..??’
In schools there can be so many different faces and job titles, it can be a bit of minefield knowing who to chat to. As a Head, I was always happy to help with any queries I could, but the beginning of term is so busy, that sometimes I just wasn’t available or didn’t have the time to point NQT’s in the right direction – as much as I would have loved to. So, to help you settle quickly into school and feel that you are asking the right people the right questions, here is a quick rundown of some of the people you may come across and what they can help you with.
An obvious one but what can you go to them for? Well, in most cases Heads are very approachable and you can chat to them about anything, but as term moves on, Heads become increasingly busy and are often out and about in the county, which makes them hard to chat to.
So your best bet is to go to them for any personnel issues – problems at home which may affect work, pay issues, CPD questions. They probably won’t be able to answer them all (I NEVER understood tax!) but will be able to sort it out for you and definitely point you in the right direction. Just be aware that their time can often be limited, so know what you want to ask and if the conversation will last more than 5 minutes, always book an appointment so that you have the time to get any issues sorted.
Another obvious one – and for your first year this is your go to person for pretty much everything. They’ll help you work out a timetable for your NQT time, plan lessons, carry out assessment, deal with parents etc. They’ll also be the ones observing you most of the time, and you should have a specified time to meet with them. So, in the first instance, anything to do with teaching, children, parents – ask them!
You will undoubtably meet your Mentor on the first day of school (if you haven’t already) but the general rule of thumb is that you will have weekly meetings (probably in your NQT time) for the first term. These may then reduce to fortnightly or less as the year progresses and you become more confident in your teaching.
SENCo or INCo
Another hugely busy person in a school but someone you should get to know as soon as you can. They will be invaluable when you need to chat about issues with a child’s learning or behaviour. They will also let you know which children are on the SEN list in your class, what support you need to give them and when you need to attend any relevant SEN meetings.
As part of your NQT time it is a great idea to schedule a meeting with the SENCo so they can tell you more about their role and what they can do to help your teaching. You might also be able to arrange to shadow them for a morning or afternoon to really see what they do behind closed doors!
It always surprises me when teachers don’t get to know their caretaker within the first few days of starting a new school. Your caretaker is your best friend! Need help hanging stuff from a ceiling? Need someone to help you build something for your classroom? Want to know how to move a heavy piece of furniture? Your caretaker will be an invaluable support in your teaching years!
Build a great relationship with your Office Staff from day one and you will find things so much easier! Need a parent called to bring in a lunchbox? Want to check whether everyone has paid for a class trip? Want advice on pretty much anything? Your Office Staff are your go to people. They know the parents and children inside out and can offer invaluable insight, especially in warning you if a tricky parent is wanting to see you!
Of course, there are lots of other people you will come across who will be able to support you during your year. TA’s, Assistant and Deputy Heads, Business Managers and Cleaners – they all have such important roles to play in the smooth running of a school and they’ll all be able to help in many different ways.
My advice? Build great relationships from day one. Always say thank you when they help out and make sure you do any jobs they need in a professional and timely manner – teaching children requires a village – and you are in one of the best villages in the world!
Have a great week, and if you would like to join a supportive NQT group, pop along and join The Primary NQT Tribe on Facebook. We’d love to have you!
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