Hello everyone! My name is Adam Barrett, and I run the Instagram page @mister_muinteoir_ where I showcase my day to day teaching, the ups and downs of the real teaching world, as well as support student teachers and NQTs as they find their feet in the teaching world.
Thanks to Rahoo, I am going to share with you my Top 5 Tips for your NQT Year. It’s a minefield, but this may answer some of the 100s of question you have heading into the first year of the rest of your professional life!
1. Planning is important, but not set in stone
It is important to know what your planning requirements are during your NQT year:
- Weekly Plans: These are your short term plans. They are weekly during the Droichead process, and become fortnightly or monthly thereafter, depending on your school’s planning policy.
- Cuntas Míosúil: This is a mandatory document you must complete at the end of the month. It is a monthly reflection on the work completed or not completed during the previous month. It gives you a chance to reflect on what worked and what didn’t during the previous month, and plan accordingly going forward.
- School Support Plans: These are primarily written by SETs but it is important for all teachers to be aware of them. They are individual plans written for children receiving additional support. They include what supports they are getting, SMARTA targets, and methods to achieve such targets. These plans are created with all relevant stakeholders, including parents, involved.
2. Droichead isn’t out to get you
Droichead is the new(ish) probation/induction which has replaced the old ‘Dip’ model. This is a fantastic new model as it involves working closely with staff within your school, rather than having an external person come in ‘inspect’ you.
Droichead must last for a continuous period of at least 60 schools days but can go on as long as is deemed necessary by your school. You will be assigned a Professional Support Team (PST) of 2/3 teachers who will mentor you, observe you and guide you through the process of your NQT year.
During the Droichead process, you will be observed by your PST, and you will also get to observe them teaching too. You will also engage in a Professional Learning Activity (CPD) in an area deemed important by you and your PST.
You will also attend Cluster Meetings during your Droichead. These are NQT support meetings and are a great opportunity to network with other NQTs.
3. Parents want the best for their child
Building relationships with parents is so important, as they play a huge role in their child’s education. As per the Irish Constitution, parents are the primary educator of the child, and as result must be treated with that respect.
Here are some parent communication tips:
- Keep communication clear and consistent
- Use constructive feedback when talking to parents about their children: sandwich approach is a great one (positive, constructive, positive)
- Seek and value their unique perspective on their child
- Offer suggestions, where applicable, on how they can be a big part of their child’s education, so that their role feels valued
- Show empathy to their unique situations, you never know what’s going on at home.
4. Know the protocols
There are some fundamental protocols that are imperative for you to know, in case you are in a situation where they apply.
Here are some notes of importance for Child Protection:
- Read the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools (DES) and the Children First Act (2015)
- Complete the Children First eLearning Course – it’s invaluable
- Be aware of who the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is in your school, and the Deputy Designated Liaison Person (DDLP) is, as you will need to go to them with any Child Protection concerns
- Understand that you are mandated person, which means you are legally obligated to report any child protection related concerns to your DLP and to Tusla (Child & Family Agency)
- Be totally sure of the school’s Child Protection Policy and the procedure for reporting concerns
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, which is a legal framework of guidelines regarding the collection and use of personal information
Schools will generally have a GDPR, Data Protection or Acceptable Use policy, and it is important for you to be up to date with this
The main area of this to be aware of is the collection and storage of the personal information of your children in your classroom. If you need to have this data, e.g. SSPs, class lists, etc., these need to be kept in a safe, secure, lockable room or storage unit.
To avoid concerns regarding a potential leak of data:
- Only print the absolute necessary documents that may have personal data on them
- Use children’s initials on general documents, observations, notes etc.
- Put a password/code on any documents that are on a computer/USB stick that may contain personal data about ANYONE in the school, including staff.
5. Don’t be scared of subbing
People think it is the end of the world when they don’t get a job, but with teaching, we have the unique opportunity to work through subbing. Subbing is a great way to gain experience and see lots of different schools.
Here are some tips for getting started with subbing:
- Send out your CV with an expression of interest email to as many schools are you are willing to travel to
- Be sure to have your paperwork in order – Statutory Declaration & Garda Vetting especially
- Have a few back up lessons for each class level and each subject ready, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU ARE HEADING INTO
- Keep track of your days subbing to ensure you get paid for everything you do!
- Build relationships with the staff, principals and secretaries in the schools, you want to be memorable enough to be called back – don’t hide!
- Record all work you complete with a class and leave it for the teacher returning
- Always leave the classroom as tidy as possible
Again, thank you so much to Rahoo for giving me the chance to contribute to your NQT journey! If you have any further questions, I can be found on Instagram @mister_muinteoir_
All the best for your NQT Year!
Adam / Mister Múinteoir
Join Adam & other passionate teachers at NQT Picnic 2022 where all things NQT year will be discussed! Hope to see you there!
NQT Picnic is a specially designed online event for NQT’s in July 2022.
It is a daunting experience starting your very first teaching position – whether it is subbing or your own post! College seems like a long time ago now and you may be starting to feel a tad nervous.
Following the huge success of NQT Fest & Picnic in 2021, we are delighted to share this special event for NQT’s in July 2022 with you!
Free Resource for Teachers – End of School Year Activities!
What an exciting time of the year! Your main lessons and topics are complete and the pupils are getting excited for their summer holidays. It can be a challenging time to keep pupils engaged in classroom lessons due to exciting events on the horizon like school tours or sports days, so I like to keep things light and fun and still try to ensure the learning is taking place.
Ciara McGuane is the Summer Course Director for Rahoo.ie.
Her career highlights include being filmed by BBC London teaching in the classroom and guest-lecturing at the Institute of Education in London. She has worked as a teacher, school leader, teacher trainer and initial teacher training tutor prior to setting up Rahoo.
This is always a hot topic for teachers and so important to get it right.
Here are some mistakes that teachers have shared with us when they did our EPV Summer Course on Classroom Management with Niamh Byrne, Irish Primary Teacher.
We have dipped in and out of the CPD course to learn what to do instead!