What I wish I knew about teaching English as a new teacher

Simi Rai

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Teaching is indeed one of the most rewarding and challenging professions. Working with young people can be fun, draining and inspiring all at the same time.

No two days are ever the same, but at the end of the school week, you feel a real sense of accomplishment. That said, the welfare of your pupils is in your hands and it is your responsibility to instill knowledge in them.

Whilst my first year of teaching seems like a distant blur, it was certainly filled with adrenaline, terrible classroom behaviour and endless meetings. Looking back now, here are a few things I wish I knew about teaching, reading as a new teacher.

Priorities. Priorities. Priorities.

You can’t do it all and you won’t be expected to. Your greatest impact is in the classroom, so don’t expect to change too much within your department or the school at the beginning. Your focus should be on getting to know your pupils, planning your lessons for the week and meeting those big deadlines. Do what needs to be done and work backwards.

Once you’re in your rhythm, you can consider adding further roles and responsibilities to your timetable. Until then, focus on being organised, prepared and present in the classroom. Avoid saying yes to management requests unless you are sure you can fit them in your schedule, or you’ll end up falling behind on your planning and marking.

NQT 2


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About our Community Expert

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Simi Rai
Community Expert

Over 5 years of experience in educational settings throughout London, Madrid and Barcelona. Whilst studying English Literature and Language at King’s College London and the University of North Carolina, she fell in love with her subject - both the study of literature and craft of writing.

After graduating, she completed the Leadership Development Programme with Teach First, whose mission is to provide equality through education, and attained her PGCE in Secondary English at Canterbury Christ Church University. She was then appointed as Deputy Head of English at one of the highest performing schools in England in a London inner-city academy.

Following this, she completed her Leadership and Management MA at University College London (Institute of Education) and became the director of an English Language company based in Barcelona.

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