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Tips and Tricks - 01-06-2023 - - 0 comments
Our 8 Top Tips for ECTs


Are you starting your first teaching job this September? Tackling your first few months as a teacher might sound daunting, but that doesn’t mean you have to go through it alone. Remember, there are so many people in the same boat as you, and everyone starts somewhere!

From speaking to experienced teachers and other ECTs to finding resources online, there’s plenty of support you can access that will help you get through your first few years as an Early Career Teacher.

So, to prepare you for your first week, read some of our top tips for new teachers.

1.      Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice

It goes without saying that for any new job, no matter how much training you’ve done, asking for help and guidance from others is hugely important. We know how difficult this can be – as you’ll want to seem competent and knowledgeable – but asking for help is one of the best ways to expand your knowledge and ease any anxieties you have about being new to the role.

It’s likely that there will be other more experienced teachers at the school to learn from, who will be able to give you more insight into the students and the school community. It’s much better to ask questions rather than suffer in silence, so don’t be afraid to shout up if you need help!

2.      Make sure you’re prepared and organised

One of the most important tips we have (and this goes for any job, but teaching especially!) is to ensure you’re dedicating some time to get yourself organised and prepared for your days ahead. This could mean using tools to schedule time within your day for planning and marking, setting timers and keeping a system for your diary or calendar.

Spending a little extra time getting yourself organised can allow you to feel more relaxed during your working day, as you’ll have planned your day accordingly. If the idea of planners and diaries and calendars seems boring to you, why not try using a system that works for you, with fun stationery to encourage you to keep it up?

3.      Flexibility is your friend

Planning your lessons takes time – and if you’ve poured a lot of effort into preparing a lesson to engage your students, it’s understandable for you to want to follow it. However, while preparation is key, it’s important not to be afraid to go off plan slightly, as this can allow for interesting discussions and out-of-the-box thinking that helps students to fully understand a topic and unpack it.

4.      Be kind to yourself

When you’re eager to impress in a new role, it can be all too easy to berate yourself for making mistakes. However, a little self-compassion goes a long way! Remember – Rome wasn’t built in a day – this is your first leap into a role that’s quite demanding, so it’s only natural that there will be some teething problems.

It’s so important to remember to be kind to yourself in times of stress, as adding more negativity to the mix won’t make things better. You can plan in some activities outside of work to treat yourself after a hard day, take up meditation or make use of a duvet day at the weekend to make space for your wellbeing.

5.      It’s OK to say “no”

As a new teacher, not only will you have the responsibilities of a full-time member of staff, but you’ll also be taking on the mental load of navigating a new environment. This means that you may find it difficult to fit in extra work that isn’t necessary to your development or role in general, but being a new member of staff means you might also find it difficult to say no!

Give yourself time to settle in and get to grips with your new schedule, and be mindful of picking up too much extra work if it’s something that isn’t essential. You’ve got a lot on your plate as a new teacher, and while you’ll want to impress in your first year, it’s important to say “no” when you need to. This also goes for commitments outside of work if you just need time to rest and relax.

6.      Take the time to listen and understand

It goes without saying that you’ll meet people from a huge range of backgrounds as a teacher, who each face individual challenges. Like you, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and the best way to get to know your students and fellow teachers is to listen, understand and empathise with them. Active listening will help you form a good bond with the people around you, and allow you to take inspiration from other staff members (who may have some great ideas you can adapt for your own work!).

As well as this, it’s so important for children to be sure that you’re seeing who they really are and accept them, so they’re able to trust you and see you as a point of guidance.

7.      Don’t take it personally

It’s all too easy to get overwhelmed by challenging comments and behaviour from students. This can seem especially difficult in your first few years as a teacher, and it’s understandable that these challenges can potentially have a real impact on your wellbeing. Though it’s easier said than done, it’s important not to take things too personally – as you can’t please everybody.

It’s likely that the comment you’ve received has very little to do with you, and may be beyond your control. It’s always important to seek help from senior management if you feel distressed. You’re in this role because you’re an excellent educator, and you’ve been chosen to be a good fit for the school – remember, you CAN do this!

8.      Find opportunities to be positive

Teaching is often hugely rewarding. When children achieve or develop their skills thanks to your help, it can help boost your confidence immensely. A great mood booster for both you and the children in your class is to insert positivity as much as you can – whether this is through incentives, rewards, celebrating even the tiniest of wins or adding fun elements to your lessons. Positive reinforcement is hugely effective, and after a day filled with achievements, personal bests and happy faces, it’s a great reminder of why you joined the role in the first place.


ECT Teaching Jobs

Looking for your first role as a teacher this year? We have plenty of roles available at Smile Education to help you get your first foot on the teaching career ladder. With connections with some of the best schools across the Midlands and Greater Manchester, we can help you find the perfect ECT job near you.

Browse our current teaching job opportunities or get in touch with our friendly team today by calling 0121 392 6570. We can’t wait to meet you!


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