Studies have shown personal wellbeing can affect your performance as an education professional. This is particularly relevant when it comes to the ability to engage successfully with pupils in the classroom.
It’s especially true at the start of the teaching journey when NQTs are still finding their own feet in an exciting, engaging and challenging environment.
Be happy with being yourself
You have your own teaching aspirations and career goals in education. Focus on these and you’ll not be distracted or discouraged by comparing yourself with peers.
Stressing about how well a fellow NQT is doing won’t help your own levels of attainment. What will help, however, is talking.
Discuss with your new colleagues how they achieve success in their teaching programmes. Or perhaps you need practical advice, such as dealing with classroom management?
Many forward-thinking head teachers actively encourage NQTs to sit in on other lessons to learn, with a review following afterwards.
There’s never any need to feel you’re struggling alone. More than in any other job, in teaching it’s good to talk.
Focus your energy on achievable goals
Naturally, it’s tempting to become entirely taken up by your work as an NQT. There’s a natural desire to prove yourself to the head teacher, to your staff room peers, to the students. And, of course, to yourself.
However, neither Rome nor a meteoric career in education was built in a day. Take time to relax and rejuvenate. Knowing where to focus your efforts and when to conserve energy is important to prevent the potential for burnout.
Remember every experienced professional in education has been here before you. They have learned to plan ahead but also to focus on single, daily, achievable goals.
Create a support network
There are initiatives to support NTQs but often the best place to find assistance is in your own school. So don’t be shy about reaching out to the NQT network. If this doesn’t exist, your personal wellbeing and professional growth will benefit from establishing one yourself.
Be sure, too, to check out the conversations on Teacheroo. There’s nowhere better to share supportive advice and motivational ideas.
Avoid compassion fatigue
Sometimes as an NQT you may become concerned about the welfare of a student. It’s natural to care deeply about those in your care . . . but caring too much can cause stress and make your job difficult. The best strategy for dealing with compassion fatigue is to talk candidly with colleagues about your feelings: this shared unburdening of worry or guilt will help them too.
It’s also important to know how to use the rules that are in place to safeguard children. Always know to whom you should report concerns and the codes for recording these instances.
Doing the right thing should not be a worrisome burden but a stress release mechanism.
Look after yourself
Last but certainly not least in maintaining your wellbeing as an NQT, both physically and mentally, is to exercise. There are great ways to do this, even in the classroom! In tandem stick to healthy eating at work rather than snacking.
Try mindful eating. This begins with choosing fresh, natural and nutritious food. It also means removing distractions to really savouri the taste of the food. This could involve a packed lunch in a local park, away from books and computer screens.
Afterwards don’t be tempted to check your phone, refresh your emails or catch up on paperwork. Just breathe deeply and enjoy the wide world . . . before returning to your class refreshed and rejuvenated.