NQT Survival Pack

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Welcome to the GA's NQT Survival Pack, a compilation of resources, ideas and advice to help you through your first year of teaching.

These pages are linked to our 'NQT Survival Pack' feature in the Autumn 2010 issue of GA Magazine.


To paraphrase Charles Dickens, this can be the best of terms and the worst of terms. Christmas seems a long way off and there are lots of new challenges every day, but it is also an exciting time full of possibilities and the chance to make a good impression with the groups that you teach.

You'll be getting used to the numerous routines and deadlines that will become second nature after a while, and familiarising yourself with the geography of the school.

Those first lessons when you are 'all alone' can be daunting, but remember that you're never alone when you have a group of students sat in front of you. But how do you make every geography lesson count, so that the experience for all involved is as positive as it can be?

Draft Ofsted subject specific guidance, published during 2010, included the following important comment on outstanding subject teaching: 'Teachers communicate enthusiasm and passion about geography to pupils'. How will you ensure that you do this?

As an NQT you are about to embark on a specialised career, and hopefully you will take a continuing interest in your professional development. One thing that is certain is that the students will not be the only ones learning in your classroom. You will be learning every day.

Getting started - join your subject association

When you started your PGCE year you should have received a pack of GA materials containing information about membership, publications and conferences. Hopefully you joined the Association during your PGCE, but if not, it's well worth joining now (and as an NQT you still get to sign up at the cheaper Associate Member rates).

GA membership is the best way to stay connected to the community of practice that you've just become a part of.

You can join online today from as little as £17 for one year's membership. As well as instant access to these pages, you can also get termly copies of your choice of GA journal(s) plus six years of back issues online, GA Magazine in print and online, up to 30% discount on GA publications, huge discounts on courses and conferences and much much more.

Stay up to date

There are lots of ways to engage with colleagues across the country and to keep up to date with the latest news and ideas. Getting involved in online communities or signing up for updates can be a great way to discover new resources, get tips from more experienced teachers and make sure you're up to speed with the latest news in geography education.

We'll look at this in more detail later on, but here are some quick tips:

Assess your timetable

The next step should be to take a good look at your new timetable. Identify topics that you are not as comfortable with, that might need a little 'refreshment'.

Think about how you will work at an appropriate level.

Consult the available data about the groups you will teach, but prepare for them to be completely different when you meet them for the first time! For primary colleagues, you will need to ensure that some time is given to geography within the constraints of the timetable.

Browse through the different sections of the NQT Survival Pack for advice, articles, lesson ideas and online courses to help you get started:

Classroom display
Things to do and people to see

Get your classroom ready, connect with other professionals, introduce yourself to other members of staff...

What to do when things go right... and when they go wrong

Who to turn to for advice and how to share your successes.
Tell your stories
Talk about it

Share your NQT experiences with other teachers, with us or with the whole world!
lesson ideas
Lesson ideas

Sources of inspiration and a few ready-made lesson plans.
Journal articles
Journal articles

Your GA membership gives you free access to six years of journal back issues online. Here's a selection of articles we think you'll find useful.

Find out about a free 143-page PGCE Survival Guide - essential reading for all PGCEs and NQTs.

A selection of links to further sources of support.

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