5 remote learning tips for NQTs

Amid the chaos of Covid-19, NQTs are being asked to step up to online learning with little experience of the physical version. But some simple principles can help, says Cathy Cooper
27th January 2021, 12:00pm
Cathy Cooper

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5 remote learning tips for NQTs

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/5-remote-learning-tips-nqts
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Last academic year, there were myriad of different experiences for NQTs across the country, but they shared one thing in common; they missed out on essential face-to-face teaching time before being plunged into the role of fully-fledged class teacher in September. 

Since then, the profession has been challenged to unprecedented levels and the ongoing chaos has meant that many NQTs have missed out on the observations and support they so desperately needed this year. 

Add half a term of remote learning into the mix and you can see why some of these new teachers are feeling isolated and disillusioned about their choice of career.

To those NQTs, who have somehow miraculously survived to this point: please know that it will get easier. And until then, here are five top tips for handling remote learning for the NQT:

Verbal feedback > written feedback

Writing endless messages for feedback takes up a huge amount of your time and, in the end, isn't as powerful as verbal feedback.

Whether you are doing live lessons or not, a quick call over Zoom or Teams for "drop-in" feedback or even voice notes will save you time and have more impact.

Pre-record when you can

I won't get into the live vs. pre-record debate here, but the fact is when you are with Key Worker children or helping deliver food parcels or any other of a thousand jobs, it is helpful to leave a video link that children can watch while you are away from the laptop.

I tend to use silent modelling for methods in maths, where I just answer questions under a visualiser slowly and without talking. Children honestly really love it and it works.

Must-do list vs can-do 

This approach honestly changed my life (it applies to normal life as well as Covid times). Before your week begins, create a daily must-do list and a weekly must-do list. Be really strict with yourself about what "must" actually entails. You'll find this list is actually really short and much more manageable. 

Once you've finished this list, you can start looking at your can-do list. This really helps prioritise your workload and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by mountains of work.

Have a switch-off time and stick to it

Now that parents and children can (and do) contact us at all hours of the day and night, it is essential that you are strict with your working hours, whatever you choose those to be.

It's important to take time for yourself of an evening. If you wouldn't speak to a parent at 11.21pm when working in school, don't reply to that Class Dojo message sent at 11.21pm either.

Don't reinvent the wheel

Use existing resources wherever you can (it doesn't make you less of a teacher). Before you start making anything, search for it first. I guarantee you 90 per cent of the time, someone will have made it before you.

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