2016: Looking Back

I’m not sure if anyone even looks at my blog anymore – I know I haven’t looked at it for a good few months! Life as a teacher has taken over and, to be honest, it’s left little time for anything else. I think the idea of being a regular-blogging teacher was too ambitious for me, especially in my NQT year. Lots of you manage it and hats off to you, but it’s proved too much for me!

Regardless, I knew I still had to do my end of year blog post – it’s turned into quite the tradition after three years. I love doing it – there’s something very therapeutic about reflecting on the year.

2016 has been a bad year for some but I know that I am extremely fortunate to have had the year I have. I am in relatively good health, I still have an amazingly supportive family and I have some amazing memories from this year. I got engaged – a massive personal milestone. I graduated from University with a First Class Honours degree, something which I worked so incredibly hard for. I gained my first teaching post in the only school I’ve ever truly wanted to work at. It’s in that school that I have met some amazing people, some who I count as great friends. They have pulled me through many things already and it is hard to believe I have only known them for a few months. I am so grateful to have them in my life. I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed as much as I have with them.

A term down of my NQT year and it has flown by, yet, it has easily been the hardest time of my life. Teaching makes you question so many things – about yourself, about the world, about people and it can be hard to look past all that and focus on the most important thing: the children. Many times it has clouded my judgement, made me doubt myself, questioned my ability to perform the job and wonder why things are the way they are. I have spent more hours at school or working than I have seeing my family. Arguably, my fault, but at the moment I cannot see a way to balance the load. I’m sure, in time, it will happen but for now I am doing everything I can to just stay afloat.

It’s a hard time to be a teacher. It feels like everyone is against you: that all that matters is the figures you type into your data tracker, that all politicians think you are useless, that the negative connotations surrounding teaching are all-consuming and that there is no joy left. As a relatively new teacher I have been told I am yet to have been worn down and that it will happen. Maybe so. I’m trying to keep a positive view and ultimately, I love going to work and teaching my children. In no way is it easy or straight-forward, but it is still the job I have loved doing most (and I’ve done a few) and I’ve never gained so much satisfaction from a job. I’m looking forward to seeing my children again and moving onto the next phase of the year.

My biggest lesson from this year has to come, surprisingly, from something outside of my career. The concept of trust and loyalty, reliability and honesty. It’s seriously opened my eyes, in the way that no matter how much you think you trust someone, how close you are to them, the memories and history that you share – sometimes none of this is enough. People can always let you down. Despite how heartbreaking the experience was, I thank them for it as it’s made me learn to always expect the unexpected. Sometimes, people just aren’t what you thought they were. Someday, they’ll look back and realise what they’ve done and maybe they’ll figure out that it wasn’t right. But they probably won’t. Either way, you survive, move on and grow from it.

Resolutions for 2017? I’m not really a resolution type person. Not in the “I will go to the gym more” or “I will eat less chocolate” way. My main focus is going to be on my mental health, something which I’ve pushed to the side lately. It’s all very well looking after your physical health and your body, but that won’t be any good if your mind isn’t healthy too. But then, it’s not really a New Year’s resolution. I actually want to keep it up past the second week of January…

I hope your year has been wonderful. As mentioned in the beginning, I want to reiterate that I have actually had a great 2016. There were bumps in the road but that is what makes life. I am in a career I’ve wanted for a long time, in an amazing school, working with incredible people and I have so much to look forward to 🙂

As for my blog – who knows? This blog will always be special to me. It’s a great reminder of my journey. I’m not sure whether the name “from campus to classroom” is still relevant now I’m no longer a student but it’ll do for now. I am putting no pressure on myself to blog. I just like knowing it is still here for whenever I want to share the next important part of my life. Watch this space 🙂

Lots of love and best wishes for 2017,

Kate 🙂

One week as an NQT

A week ago I had my first INSET day as an NQT and now I’m into my first full week of teaching. I won’t lie – my brain is completely baffled at the sheer volume of information I’ve processed in the past week. There is SO MUCH. To know, remember, learn, retain. But I expected that, and I’m working hard to take it one step at a time.

Alongside the steep learning curve, I have loved it. It is everything I thought it would be and more. My class are lovely, the school is incredible. It’s such a positive, forward thinking school and it’s instantly obvious that the children come first in everything, which is great. The staff are such an incredibly supportive bunch of people who, even when they are running around trying to sort their own classes, or horrendously busy with something, will stop to help you out in an instance. I feel lucky to be part of such a great staff team and feel like I’ve known some of them for a lot longer than I actually have.

The workoad is already enormous but I’m trying to keep calm and focused and just doing what I can. For example, I didn’t complete my maths marking today and I was tempted to bring it home. However, I’d been in since 7am and had spent after school marking English – so I walked away. I’ve only got one pair of hands. I can do it in the morning. My evenings are going to be mine and mine only wherever possible

This is is just a quick post to check in and say I’m alive and loving it. Maybe a more fancy post will come soon.

I hope everyone else has had a great start to the term 🙂

The end of an era – and the start of a brand new one

In two days, I start the first day of the rest of my life. I start my teaching career: something I’ve waited so long for, has sometimes felt out of my reach, has often felt like it would never arrive. But it has and I am unbelievably excited. A little anxious also, as is to be expected, but the excitement far, far outweighs that!

I have two INSET days and then the children arrive on Wednesday. I’ve spent so much time over the summer preparing my classroom. When I moved in, it was completely blank as the teacher who had it before moved classrooms. This meant I had to start from scratch but I think I can finally say I’m happy with it. I’m sure it will change and develop alongside the altering needs of the children and myself.

Also, I have had the BEST summer. I had lots of people judging me for not working over the summer, saying I would be bored, that I wouldn’t be earning money, that it was lazy. Do you know what, yes I’m financially a little (A LOT) down, but I know that by the end of this month I will be earning a regular income. Yeah, the extra money may have been nice, but I wouldn’t have had much time to enjoy it, as I’d be too busy WORKING. This way, I’ve had a LOT of time to spend with family, see friends, read books I haven’t had the chance to previously, watch Wimbledon, the Olympics and the Euros in their entirety (SO good), spend lots of time in my classroom, have extra time to prepare, and just RELAX. I don’t regret it one bit. You can always get more money, but you cannot get more time…

 

I’m not sure how much I am going to be able blog in the future- it’s something I have loved doing and I do find it incredibly useful so it’s something I really want to continue. I just don’t want to place pressure on myself, thinking I need to blog once a week, twice a week, twice a month…I think I will simply blog when I really feel I have the time and have something worthwhile to share, not because I feel guilty that I haven’t posted in a long time. This may start out quite regular and decrease as the workload increases. I’m not sure – will just have to play it by here!

I’m also thinking about changing the tag line and name of my blog, as technically I’m no longer going from “campus to classroom” – it’s all classroom! Suggestions welcome!

So I think thats about it. I want to say thank you to all who have read, commented on, shared, retweeted and inspired my blog throughout this journey. Reading it back details a true journey and I’m glad I’ve left this online diary and I’m looking forward to adding to it! It may be the end of an era but it’s also the start of a brand new one.

Here’s some pictures from my summer holiday – I want to remember the last ever summer of freedom I had! Also, I think the highlight of this summer has to be getting engaged 💍☺️❤️

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Good luck everyone for the new academic year and in whatever you do. Kate x

 

 

Starting teacher training – tips and advice

Last week I wrote a post about tips and advice for starting University and this week I am going to do a very similar post, but focused specifically on teacher training. It can be a unknown and apprehensive time as, sometime very soon after starting, you’re thrown out there into your choice of profession. On most courses you can keep a low profile for the first term – find your feet, learn how to cook something other than baked beans and noodles (although maybe not together) and begin to understand the complexities of your course. On a teacher training course, within the first few weeks you’re in schools either for one-off days or for an actual placement. You need to be ON IT.

While it sounds scary, there are things that can make it easier and actually, it’s very exciting! You’re already getting experience in the career of your choice, and not many courses can do that for you. All said and done, here are some tips and assurances for your first year of teacher training.

It’s OK to feel nervous the first time you enter a classroom (and the second time, and the third…)

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So long as the nervousness doesn’t always reach the level where you’re vomiting, you’re normal. At the end of the day you are putting yourself out there, it’s not safe. You can’t hide when teaching. But to me, that is what makes teaching such a brilliant career. Particularly on your first placement you may feel like you are completely unprepared and in no way ready to stand in front of a class of children but everyone feels that way. Listen to others, ask questions, observe great teaching and face the fact you will make mistakes. But you’re also going to learn from them too and that is invaluable.

 

2. Prepare. Especially where technology is involved.

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I’m a big advocate of technology in the classroom, as you may know if you’ve read some of my other posts. But I also admit that technology can be very temperamental. I guess the advice here is, always prepare before you start a lesson, in all aspects, not just technology. Some lessons are heavily reliant on technology, but if for some reason it decides to pack out on you, is there a way the lesson can still be completed without it? It may not be as effective as you had planned but can the main message still be delivered? Just something to think about, especially if you are being observed. However, I think if you were incredibly unlucky for something like this to happen during an observation, so long as you keep your cool and make sure there are other things to keep the children engaged, your examiner should make allowances.

The more you prepare, the more confident you will feel about your lesson. I feel another crucial piece of advice I wish I knew comes out of this point, – preparation doesn’t have to be time costly. Is it more effective, for example, to spend two hours on one SMART which is all-singing-all-dancing, or to spend less time on a more basic set of slides which you can reuse several times? Just a thought.

 

3. Understand that there will be times when normal Uni life goes out the window.

 

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There are going to be periods of time, usually increasing as you move through your course, where you are going to be living the life of a teacher and everything becomes a bit of a juggling act. It will basically be like you have started work. This means, that the Uni life you knew at the start of term just won’t work anymore. When you are on a placement, you cannot go out on weeknights with your friends. You can’t watch TV all night, every night and avoid work. You need to make sure you get enough sleep, that you are up in time every morning. Sound obvious, but I used to find the switch between being on campus to being in the classroom quite tricky, mainly because it happens so quickly. I think very few people wouldn’t find it difficult. It’s an adjustment, but you can do it. It’s a bit rough having to miss out on things your friends are doing but it’s a means to an end and will be so worth it in the end!

 

4. Get yourself on social media!

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I received this advice at the start of my course and I’m so glad I did because it is one of the best pieces I have had. Twitter in particular is SO unbelievably helpful as a trainee teacher. Follow accounts of educationalists, lecturers, fellow trainees, NQTs, RQTs, experienced teachers, educational companies etc. There is a wealth of information and help available at the press of a button. So many of my lesson ideas, advice and assurance have come from Twitter and people are so friendly! It’s also reassuring to know there are others in your position who are also feeling scared/anxious/terrified.

Also use apps such as Pinterest which have a host of ideas including displays, lesson ideas, time-saving and general teacher hacks.

 

5. You will join the grammar police.

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Voluntarily or involuntarily, this will happen to you. Even if you think you haven’t, your non-teacher friends will care to disagree because compared to them you are. You will find yourself correcting people’s texts/Facebook messages/Whatsapp messages, you will remind them of using apostrophes for possession and you will almost certainly correct their spelling. But it’s OK. It’s ingrained in you. It’s a habit. But in my opinion, using correct grammar, spelling and punctuation really isn’t the worse habit to have! 😉

 

6. Get enough rest and time-out.

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Being on placement is shattering. And switching between placement and assignments makes it hard. And switching between placement and assignments and having a social life makes it harder. Make sure to get enough sleep and make time for yourself. Sometimes that means being selfish but you’ll thank yourself for it later.

 

7. Finally, enjoy yourself and be proud of your achievements. 

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While I know it’s inherently British to be modest about our achievements, make sure you celebrate them sometimes. ITT courses are notoriously tough and if you make it through having tried your best then you should be really proud of yourself. Whilst on placements you may feel like you can’t do anything right but afterwards you will look back and think “Wow, I actually did all that!” It’s a huge achievement and you should be very proud. Treat yourself!

 

Good luck to all starting an ITT course in September! Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@MissBartlettNQT) and I will follow you back and we can exchange some good ideas between us!

Starting Uni tips and advice

So, it’s nearly that time of year when things start to change again – children move up year groups in school, change schools, teachers prepare for new classes and some people start University for the very first time. It can be a nervous but also very exciting time. I know when I was a fresher (three years ago, sob) I loved reading blogs about starting Uni – it made me even more excited and a little less anxious, so I thought I would write my own! Next week I’ll be posting a similar blog but focused specifically on those doing teacher training, so make sure to come back if this applies to you! For this week though, here’s some generic advice for all your freshers – enjoy!

 

Get yourself out there and meet people.

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But at the same time, if you don’t have your own twenty-strong squad by the second week of Fresher’s, don’t panic. Uni  is painted as this place where you meet friends for life on the first day but it’s not always the case. Just get out there and meet as many people as you can and you’ll be fine. You’ll naturally meet more people as time goes on.

WORK HARD.

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It may seem obvious and you may have heard it a thousand times before, but PLEASE DO. Above everything else that Uni offers you, you are there and are paying to earn a degree. You won’t get it at the level you want it unless you work hard. I know others who didn’t work hard and look back massively, regretting it. Many people and some students will tell you it’s not really that hard but I don’t agree. I worked really hard for my degree and especially something like teaching, where you’re assessed on your written and practical efforts is tough. And yes, sometimes that means sacrificing pound-a-pint night because you need to put in an all-dayer at the library the following day. Just saying.

But, at the same time you need to enjoy yourself too!

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According to some, students don’t deserve time off as they don’t work hard enough. Well FYI people, during most of my terms I would have lectures 9-6 and then have assignments to do alongside. Most worked jobs as well and then we were on placement. So actually, students can work incredibly hard. This is why you need to manage your time so you can have fun times too! Not only going out partying but just having time to read a book, go for walks with your friends, enjoy yourself. After all, Uni is some of the best years of your life. Enjoy them!

Manage your money.

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Boring I know. But as we know student finance aren’t exactly going crazy on the handouts. It can be hard, but try your hardest not to go into your overdraft. Treat it as the safety net it is, not as a free bank. Hate to sound like I’m showing off but I managed to get through every year of Uni without going into my overdraft and without getting handouts from anyone else, not even my parents. I did get a high grant which definitely helped but really try hard to manage money. Do you really need that third takeaway of the week? Or would it maybe be cheaper to cook in bulk? Do you really need to buy a third round of drinks for those people you’ve only just met, or can they maybe get their own just this time? Little things, but you’ll thank yourself at the start of January when you go back to Uni and the prospect of eating toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner isn’t exactly inviting.

Do not procrastinate.

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Uni can often feel like a cycle of guilt. If you haven’t got a scheduled lecture, you should be revising. If you’re not revising you should be reading. If you’re not reading, you should be at a seminar. If you’re not at your seminar then, quite frankly, what are you doing? There will always be something to do but you just need to manage your time and DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. While laying in bed all day refreshing social media seems tempting (and trust me, I’ve been there) try to get up at a reasonable time and get things done. Then you’ll feel a lot less guilty and be able to enjoy the time you’re not working more.

And for God’s sake – SLEEP.

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Please sleep. Just a bit? Find the time. You’ll feel so much more able to complete the day’s tasks if you get enough sleep. I know the consecutive nights out are tempting and all that but you’re not going to get the most out of your course if you spend the whole three years running on empty. (This also doesn’t mean you can sleep in until 3pm every day either, it means get a regular sleeping pattern).

So, now I well and truly feel like your Mum lecturing you, I think that’s enough advice. Above everything, I urge you to enjoy it. The years will fly past quicker than you can imagine and, for most, you only have the one shot. So seriously, enjoy them. They’ll likely be some of the best years of your life.

Come back next week for a similar post but specifically focused on a teaching degree!

Kate 🙂

 

#teacher5aday – 48 hours in S.Gloucestershire

This is a different post to normal but I fancied blogging about something other than teaching. For a while now I’ve been following the Twitter hashtag #teacher5aday which is all about taking time out to relax, chill, have time to yourself and do things that aren’t directly linked to your job. I think this is a really important message and is something I’ve always tried to do on placements (with mixed results). I know my NQT year will be HARD but I’m going to make sure I have something to contribute to the hashtag throughout the year!

While I know right now I’m on my extended summer break, so I’m pretty chilled all the time, it’s still lovely to have time with people who don’t have as much time. My fiancé, for example, is working hard away all week every week and I only get time with him at the weekend. I thought I’d make a post of which the theme will hopefully be carried into my NQT year and beyond. So here are some pictures of my lovely weekend where I visited some family in South Gloucestershire and we had the most amazing, chilled time. And here’s to many more! Hope you enjoy this different sort of post 🙂

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For years we called this “The Cow Bridge” after seeing cows cross it once…this time they were back!
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Nothing like fresh fruit and veg.
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I need this in my kitchen…
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The sun was out ALL day ☀️
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Some of my favourite things in a picture.
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Amazing tapas 😋
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Followed by an incredible BBQ!
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Tea loaf made by moi with no refined sugar and spelt flour – no nasties in there!
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Wine, music and chatter by candlelight- I could make a habit of that!
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The hiding moon.
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Beautiful Sunday walk in the woods.
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A stroll around the market town. Sadly no market…
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Bunting makes me happy.

 

Encouraging independent learners

I’ve been back into school again today carrying on setting up my classroom after a week away. I have to say, walking in it felt like I was much further along than I remembered, which is positive. It was the first time I’d walked in and thought “this actually looks like my classroom.” That was a good feeling.

Something I’ve been focusing on a lot whilst planning out my classroom is making it easy for children to become more independent learners. I’ve been warned that, coming up from Year 3, they are still getting to grips with the whole independent learning thing so it’s something I really want to crack with them this year.

Of course, as we are still in summer holidays I cannot say whether these ideas have worked or not yet but I’m hoping I’ll be able to update you at the end of the Autumn Term saying how positive they have been!

1) Books readily available

I’m not sure if this is a given in every school but I remember when I was at primary school, our exercise books were kept away from our reach. I’m not sure why this was, but I can remember only one child was chosen to go into the stock cupboard with the TA to bring them out. Sure, this was fifteen years ago and attitudes to learning have, thankfully, changed in some areas. I’ve bought transparent boxes for my books and they are clearly labelled, stored at a child-friendly height so children can access them whenever they want. This also means they will be readily available for parents and SLT if required.

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This concept carries over to the self-differentiation strongly promoted by my school. They will need to choose their work from the Bronze/Silver/Gold trays- this is monitored and guided where appropriate but generally, children choose their level well and regularly challenge themselves. This encourages them to think for themselves and build up their independence further.

2. Labelling stationery

I’ve read differing opinions on this but I’ve decided to label some items of stationery with my children. I haven’t done this with pencils, but rulers and pens have had their names written on with a sticky label. It took a a little time but I decided to do this as I believe it encourages responsibility. So many times in the past I’ve had tables magically lose numerous items and they’ve all blamed it on each other. This way, they have their own items and it is their responsibility to look after them. Whether it works, I have yet to find out, but I believe having responsiblity over their own things will encourage independence.

 

3. Stopping the constant hands up

This isn’t to say I will never let children put their hands up or not help them if they’re stuck. It’s about encouraging them to try other means instead of asking me straight away. Apparently, when last year’s Year 3s came up to Year 4 they would ask if it was OK to turn the page…I want my class to know there are other options before asking me. We use the slogan “C3B4Me” which basically means when you have a question, first ask yourself, then ask a friend, then use resources in the room and then, if all those haven’t worked, ask an adult. I think it’ll take some work but hopefully they will begin to become more independent in solving their problems.

 

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4. Finally, make sure resources are available

It’s kind of a repeat of my other points but just making sure that resources are available at child friendly heights. I wanted to make sure my displays were as interactive as possible and anything which may help children with their work is there. For example, number squares, word mats, dictionaries- they are all available and I will be encouraging children to just go and get them if needed. Again, the trick will be allowing children to make the decision about the type of resource they need but the more they do it the more independent they will (hopefully) become!

I hope this post helps you with ideas for your classroom although I’m sure I’m just preaching to the choir! If you have any other tips for encouraging independence in the classroom please share them in the comments below.

Kate 🙂

Pre-birthday thoughts

It’s my birthday tomorrow. I’m turning 23. Whilst I’m aware that this isn’t “old” (despite some cries of despair about how old I am getting), it definitely feels like a bit of a turning point. I will, effectively, be closer to my mid-twenties than when I first entered my twenties. Turning 16 feels like only last year, and yet I am now the same distance away from that as I am from turning 30.

The scariest part of it isn’t the number. It’s just, when you are a teenager growing up, you feel invicinble. You WANT time to go more quickly, you WANT to grow up and be older. Yet it never feels like it’s happening fast enough. I guess we’re all waiting for that momentous 18th birthday where we can truly adult and be mature (or so we think). Once the 18th comes and goes, we live with the novelty of increased responsibility for a few years. 21 arrives, as momentous as 18, then it leaves. Then 22 comes and it’s just as exciting (mainly because you can sing along to that Taylor Swift song in a club really loudly, feeling you can really relate, even if you’ve never actually eaten breakfast at midnight. Check out the song, if you’re confused). But now the novelty years have passed, I’ve ended up here and I’m still getting older. It hasn’t stopped. And yet, I’m OK with it. I’m actually really excited about.

One of the main things I’ve learned about growing older, is how we change. I read a blog post about this earlier by a lady called Emma Gannon (linked below) and it got me thinking. Change usually carries negative connotations. The thought of a person “changing” is seen as wrong. Yet, how many people can say they are the same person they were three, four, five years ago? Am I the same person I was all those years ago? I would like to not think so. Not because I was a bad person, but just because I have developed over time and changed in a way I feel is positive. Basically, I have grown.

 Sometimes, you changing can mean other things around you changing also. Your attitudes, opinions, friendships, careers and general outlook on life. We all move on- it doesn’t negate anything we’ve done before. It’s just a natural part of life. Sometimes, we have no choice but to move on – we are forced to. But that’s OK too. At times, things we had our reservations about but were too scared to act upon, force us into making the decision anyway.  They actually do us a favour. Sometimes you just outgrow things – situations, jobs and friends.

I know this post hasn’t talked about education specifically and it usually does, but I just fancied doing a different type of post today. It can still relate to teaching – how many of you can say you’re the same teacher you were three years ago? I’m sure the majority of people would say no.

Thanks for reading and remember – change isn’t always bad!

Oh, and happy birthday to me for tomorrow ☺️🎂🎉

Emma Gannon blog post: http://girllostinthecity.com/2016/08/youve-changed/

Setting up your first classroom!

As promised, here is a post about setting up your own classroom! It refers mainly to NQTs as I think the very first time you set up a classroom is different to the years after that, for a few reasons.

It’s Friday today and I have spent every day this week in my classroom and I am nowhere near done. It’s OK though because I’ve really enjoyed it! As I’ve been doing it though, a few things have already popped up and I thought it might be a good idea to write some little tips for other NQTs setting up their first classroom. As always, I know I am not an expert but I think any advice we can share between us is going to be helpful! Enjoy 🙂

Give yourself enough time.

While I knew I wouldn’t be done in a week, I didn’t anticipate how long it would take to do the smallest of tasks. I actively chose not to get a job over summer as I wanted to have as much time as possible to devote to my classroom, while leaving time alongside this to simply, chill. While this isn’t doing a lot for me financially, I’m so glad I did it and I know I will be grateful of it come September when everything is sorted and I’m ready to go. If you have to work then make sure to leave sufficient time to sort things out – you don’t want to burn out before you even begin!

Be prepared to clean. A LOT.

Of course, this will vary from school to school and will depend on your own tolerance of cleanliness (or OCD, if you’re a bit like me). My classroom needed a really good scrub, just due to a year of usage. Do this first, before you do anything else. Even though the cleaners were coming in the following week, I still ran the hoover round and wiped some things down. Starting with a blank canvas makes everything so much easier.

Lists are your friend.

Make lists. Lists upon lists upon lists. OK, maybe not that many, just enough to keep you on track. It can be overwhelming with the amount of things that need to be done but writing things out makes it seem a little more manageable. I started by writing down each display board and then all the things I would need to do on each one. Not only does it break things down but it’s also really satisfying ticking things off!

Enlist help!

I am so lucky that I have an amazing TA who spent three whole days in school with me helping me out. She did so much for me and it really helped. While you may not be able to have your TA in with you, do enlist help from others if you can. I persuaded my brother to come in for a day (with the promise of lunch) and he did lots of time-consuming tasks for me, such as laminating and cutting out lettering. (I also used his 6″5 height to help me put up my number line – he didn’t even need a ladder!). But definitely ask friends and family to help if possible because, as mentioned before, it’s the simple yet essential tasks which are usually the most time-consuming.

Check out other classrooms.

Most schools will have policies on what needs to be included in a classroom. My school have a list of “non-negotiables” which includes things that I need to have in the classroom. Even with this, it was difficult to visualise where everything could/should go, so I popped into all the other classrooms to see how they had done it. As I am in a 4-form entry school, I had three other classes in the same year as me which helped, but if you don’t, any classroom in your school will be useful to refer to.

Be careful about spending money.

I know looking through Pintrest can be tempting, as you see so many wonderful creations, but sometimes it’s better not to re-invent the wheel. Use free resource websites which often have lots of things you can download for free. I use Twinkl which, although you have to pay for a full subscription, makes life a lot easier. Your school may already have a subscription which will save you money, or you can go in with another teacher and save money. For example, I saw a lovely handmade sign on Pintrest for a reading corner. For a few minutes I deliberated buying all the resources for it and making it, which would have resulted in spending lots of money. However, on Twinkl, there was a template for it which, when laminated, looks just as good! Saved me money and time.

I had a good conversation about this on Twitter earlier today. I have already spent money on things for my classroom, such as boxes for exercise books, which although may not be deemed essential will help keep the classroom neat/encourage independence. I suggest writing down all the things you want for your classroom that you haven’t already been supplied. Look at the ones which are definitely essential (as in, you cannot teach and the children cannot learn without them) and ask your school for them. For the rest, decide if you really need them, if they can wait until you have more money, or if you actually don’t need them at all.

Finally, make sure you are happy with it.

It may sound obvious, but as an NQT it can be a bit awkward going into what was someone else’s classroom and moving everything around. But remember, it is your classroom and you are the one who has to teach in it. I moved a lot of furniture around, just because it was how I felt more comfortable. I changed some backing paper because the colours didn’t go with the lettering I had made. Basically, I’m starting to make it my own!

These pieces of advice may seem quite obvious but they have been very useful for me and have made sure my first week of classroom sorting have gone well! Hopefully once it is completely sorted I will post some pictures 🙂

Good luck setting up your classrooms, NQT or not and share any tips you have below 🙂