As the May half-term approaches, recently qualified teachers will soon be looking back at the highs and lows of their first year of teaching. I have been collecting some survival tips and hope that other colleagues will add to these via the blog. 1. Help your pupils to learn by getting to know and understand them better. Use break duty as an opportunity to talk; find out about their talents and interests through the school newsletter; chat to other teachers and most importantly, learn their names! 2. Know your subject content and plan thoroughly. Be very clear about the learning intentions and always make sure that your activities allow these to be met. 3. Don’t be afraid to say “No” when well-intentioned colleagues suggest extra commitments. Be careful about spreading yourself too thinly. It’s not a sign of weakness to sometimes turn things down. 4. You will inevitably spend time working beyond the school day but do look after yourself and know when to stop. Don’t give up your personal interests and do make time to see friends. Out of school activities will help you get to know your new colleagues. 5. Don’t lose sight of why you loved languages in the first place. Pupils are more likely to respond positively when your passion comes across. 6. Get parents on your side. Parent-teacher consultations can be a two-way dialogue, helping you to get to know more about the child. 7. Language teaching can be hard on the voice so take care to protect it. 8. Don’t be too much of a perfectionist. Remember that your first year is a good time to experiment (and you will learn from your mistakes….). 9. Be consistent when dealing with behaviour issues so that pupils know exactly where they stand. 10. Making eye contact with pupils in lessons helps to connect with and engage them. Language teachers about to qualify and returners to teaching: look out for a new Network for Languages London course ‘Starting out as a language teacher’ coming up in the next academic year.