Navigating the Early Years: A Guide for ECTs

Embarking on a teaching career in Newham is both an exhilarating and challenging journey. For ECTs, understanding what lies ahead can make the transition smoother and more rewarding. The following guide will help you to navigate the early years of your teaching career.

1. The Beginning: Induction and support

Upon securing your first teaching position, you will enter the induction phase, which typically lasts two years. This period is designed to provide you with additional support and professional development. Expect to have:

  • A mentor: An experienced teacher will be assigned to guide you through your initial years. Your mentor will provide regular feedback, help you navigate school policies and support your professional growth.
  • An induction tutor: An experienced teacher will oversee your induction, complete your termly assessments and inform you of your progress against the Teachers’ Standards.
  • Navigating the Early Years: A Guide for ECTs During your induction period, you’ll have a reduced timetable in addition to your PPA time, to allow time for training and reflection.
    ECT year 1 – 10 % reduction
    ECT year 2 – 5% reduction
    This is crucial for managing workload and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

2. Classroom Management: Establishing authority and building relationships

One of the most significant challenges for new teachers is getting to grips with classroom management. Here are a few tips:

Set clear expectations: From day one, establish clear rules and routines. Fairness and consistency is key.
Build positive relationships: Get to know your students. Understanding their backgrounds, interests, and needs can help you tailor your approach and foster a positive learning environment. Also build positive relationships with your colleagues, parents and carers.
Reflect and adapt: Regularly reflect on what works and what doesn’t. Be prepared to adapt your strategies as you gain more experience. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

3. Planning and Organisation: The backbone of effective teaching

Effective planning and organisation are crucial to your success as a teacher. This is what to expect:

  • Lesson planning: Initially, planning lessons can be time-consuming, however, with practice you’ll become more efficient. Use the available resources in your school, plan with colleagues, use online lesson plans and textbooks to save time.
  • Long-term planning: Think ahead to ensure your lessons align with the school curriculum and schemes of work and build on previous knowledge. This helps create a coherent learning journey for your students.
  • Time management: Balancing teaching, marking and planning requires good time management. Prioritise tasks with looming deadlines and set realistic goals to avoid burnout. Ask for support from colleagues if you are struggling to meet deadlines.

4. Professional Development: Continuous learning

As an ECT, your learning doesn’t stop at graduation. Professional development is an ongoing process:

  • Training sessions: You will have opportunities to attend school-provided training sessions, online and face-to-face training sessions provided by a Teaching School Hub or your Early Career Framework (ECF) provider, and other external workshops. These can provide new strategies and ideas to enhance your teaching.
  • Self-reflection: Regularly reflect on your practice. Consider how you will track your progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • Collaboration: Collaborate with colleagues to share best practices and resources. Being part of a supportive network can make a significant difference.

5. Work-life Balance: Maintaining wellbeing

Teaching is a demanding profession and maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential:

  • Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries between work and personal time. Avoid taking work home whenever possible.
  • Self-care: Make time for activities that help you relax and recharge. Whether it’s exercise, hobbies or spending time with loved ones, self-care is crucial.
  • Seek support: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to seek support from colleagues, mentors, or professional services.

6. Embracing the Challenges and Celebrating the Successes

The early years of teaching are filled with highs and lows. Here is some advice on how to navigate them:

  • Challenges: Expect challenges such as dealing with difficult behaviour, managing workload, and adapting to the school environment. Remember, these are common experiences and you’re not alone.
  • Successes: Celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Whether it’s a breakthrough with a challenging student or a successful lesson, acknowledging these moments can boost your confidence and motivation.


Becoming an ECT in Newham is a journey of growth and discovery. By understanding what to expect and embracing both the challenges and successes, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a confident and effective educator. Remember, teaching is a marathon, not a sprint. Take it one step at a time, seek support when needed and enjoy the incredible impact you’re making on your students’ lives.

By Sarah Bartley
Teacher Recruitment Manager
The Education Space