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How to build confidence as a mathematics NQT

Published: Jul 22, 2016 3 min read

michael anderson

For many teachers, their year as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) is the most challenging of their career. For some, their first teaching role represents their first ‘real’ full-time job. Others, with more experience outside of teaching, can still struggle with the intensive workload of their new role in the classroom.

In my first year of teaching, lesson planning became all-consuming. A well-resourced scheme of work can provide a solid platform as an NQT, however this is not always in place. The Ofsted report: “Mathematics: made to measure” highlighted the elusiveness of guidance for teachers in schemes of work in some schools. To help new and experienced teachers alike, a selection of hand-picked resources covering key stages 3 and 4 programmes of study can be found in our secondary mathematics resource packages.

As well as a multitude of acronyms (from AfL to Ofsted to WIGs), even the most confident of mathematicians can find themselves delivering unfamiliar or long forgotten content (in my teaching, it was moving averages with GCSE students). Most new teachers will have to un-pick their understanding of mathematical topics in order to teach them to their students. I first came across this struggle in my PCGE interview, when asked how to best explain and represent multiplication and division with fractions- something I hadn’t considered in years.

Fortunately help is at hand from a multitude of sources, increasingly online. Joining the mathematics teacher network on Twitter (@STEMLearningUK) is a good start, as is becoming a member of the STEM Learning online community group for secondary mathematics resources. The group is a place to ask questions, discuss ideas and share resources.

As an NQT mentor, I found weekly meetings often went too fast. From pressing issues such as assessment or behaviour management, short and medium term lesson planning and objectives, action plans and the Teacher Standards- little time was left for more in-depth reflection of good practice. Today, as an NQT mentor I’d encourage everyone to consider our free, online CPD provision that cover Assessment, Differentiating and Managing behaviour for learning in STEM teaching.

Working within a mathematics department with supportive, collaborative and more experienced teachers is a great help. As is the opportunity to network with other recently qualified mathematics teachers.

Those new to mathematics teaching may want to consider attending our residential CPD - Building confidence as a newly qualified mathematics teacher’. Explore what makes good mathematics teaching by considering questioning, promoting positive behaviour, planning for learning and giving feedback that makes a difference. Participants will also experience methods for developing problem solving skills, increasing progress for low attaining students, mathematics outside the classroom and activities to generate stimulating displays.

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