Student Guide

There has never been a more important time for student teachers to be members of the NASUWT, the UK-wide union dedicated to teachers and run by members for members.

Teaching is a rewarding and satisfying career. It can also be challenging and demanding, which is why it is important for you to ensure that you have the best available support.

Our focus on your needs as a teacher means you can focus on the children and young people you teach. By securing better pay, conditions and job security for teachers, we are gaining better standards of education for pupils.

The NASUWT looks forward to supporting you throughout your teaching career.

About the NASUWT
Supporting you at every stage of your career
Behaviour management tips
Using technology safely
Helping you stay ahead
Saving you money

About the NASUWT

Do not compromise

The NASUWT is a democratic trade union and the only teachers’ union to represent members in all parts of the UK. As a specialist union which only represents teachers, the NASUWT is the most focused and effective union representing your interests. The leadership consists of qualified and experienced teachers elected by the members.

We recognise that everyone working in education deserves focused, specialist support for their respective roles. That is why the NASUWT is committed to working with unions that possess the necessary expertise and skills to represent non-teaching staff, with their broad range of contracts and diverse responsibilities. This approach allows the NASUWT to focus without compromise on the issues specific to teachers.

Why the NASUWT?
  • Joining the NASUWT is Free – Members are entitled to free membership for their first year.
  • Teacher Focused – Only education professionals with a contractual responsibility to teach, lecture or instruct can be members of the NASUWT.
  • Confidential Advice – The NASUWT provides all members with confidential advice on issues of concern relating to their employment.
  • Democratic – The national policy is determined by the NASUWT’s membership of serving teachers and school leaders.
  • Politically Independent – The NASUWT serves the best interests of teachers no matter what party forms the Government at national or local level. We are political but we are not tied to any political party.
  • First-class Representation – You will have access to first-class legal and professional services through a high-quality network of local officers, national and regional professional staff and specialist legal advisors.
  • Great Value for Money – No other union offers members better value for money with highly competitive subscription rates.
  • Committed to Equality – We recognise that not only are teachers and school leaders entitled to work in a fair and just environment, free from discrimination, but that they also play an essential role in challenging discrimination, inequality and intolerance.
  • Campaigning to Deliver Change – The NASUWT is a campaigning union and has secured real achievements in improving teachers’ conditions of service.
  • Cross-sector Representation – Our members work in all sectors, from early years to further education, and represent teachers at all stages of their careers, including school leaders.
  • Practical Advice and Guidance – A full range of our publications is available on the NASUWT website, containing excellent practical advice and guidance.
  • Training and Professional Development Conferences – An extensive programme of free courses and conferences. Details can be found at
  • Benevolence Assistance – Sometimes teachers experience financial hardship. Members are eligible to apply to the NASUWT Benevolent Fund if they are or have been subscribing members of the NASUWT.
  • Personal Injury and Accident Cover – A free personal injury service for you and your dependants covering any non-work-related injury, disease or illness caused by someone else, provided the claim can be pursued in the UK courts.
  • Access to Exclusive Discounts and Special Offers – Offers on days out, holidays, cars, optical care, pet and home insurance from over 250 companies.

Supporting you at every stage of your career

During training
  • Free membership.
  • Support on placements.
  • Training and lectures delivered through your training provider.
  • Lifestyle benefits, discounts and savings.
Your final year of training
  • Finding Your First Teaching Post lecture to help you stand out for the right reasons and obtain your ideal job.
  • Access to lifestyle benefits and services.
  • Legal advice and support.
When you qualify
  • Free membership.
  • Starting Out, the NASUWT’s guide for new teachers.
  • Free new teacher seminars across the UK.
  • Advice, support and representation for work-related issues.
  • Induction planner to help guide you through the induction process.
During and after your first year
  • Free membership.
  • A free professional development seminar in November to support new teachers.
  • A free professional development seminar in June of your first academic year.
  • Active engagement with you, the members, to decide union policy.
  • Access to a network of local volunteers and representatives.
  • Continuing professional development training for members.
  • Professional legal advice and representation.
  • Free conferences and events covering current hot topics in education.
  • Development courses and support for members wanting to assist their colleagues and become involved in the democratic structure of the NASUWT.

Behaviour management tips

A key aspect of preparing to teach is the need to think about the class or group of pupils you will be teaching, their needs and the strategies you may need to use in order to teach effectively.

As a student on teaching practice, it will be necessary to grapple with these issues at an early stage and to adopt a clear approach to your teaching from the outset.

You will need to establish yourself quickly as an able practitioner in the eyes of your pupils, able to gain the confidence, trust and respect needed from your pupils.

From the outset, you will find it helpful to find out from the class/subject teacher(s) about the class and any particular issues or needs that should be considered when organising and delivering your teaching.

For example, your class(es) may include pupils with particular emotional and behavioural difficulties who might require more intensive classroom supervision and support.

In addition, each class is likely to have its own characteristics and some classes will be livelier or quieter than others.

All of these factors will have implications for how you manage the classroom to ensure that the teaching and learning process is effective.

To help maintain discipline and good order in the classroom:

  1. Set boundaries
    • All children and young people like order and good discipline; they know where they stand and they understand what is required of them. From the outset, you need to tell them your expectations  of them and also what they can expect from you. Spend some time in the first meeting with them setting out your personal behaviour policy. Develop a simple five-point Code of Conduct that has been negotiated with them. They will be much more likely to follow something they have had a hand in developing rather than one that has been imposed on them. This works for all ages — up to and including Year 11 students.
  2. Use positive language
    • Tell  pupils what you do want them to do, not what you don’t  want them to do! The message is ‘This is the way we behave in my classroom,’ not ‘This is what you must not do.’ Long lists of what pupils shouldn’t be doing are negative and encourage young people to break rules. The message they get is that teachers are more concerned with poor behaviour than with appropriate behaviour. The use of the word ‘Thanks!’ following an instruction is much more powerful than ‘Please’.
    • Encourage pupils when they make mistakes.
  3. We all make mistakes - it’s how we learn
    • Young people are embarrassed if they get the answer wrong; they think they have to be perfect all the time. Fear of failing at learning is the major motivator for misbehaviour (Dreikurs). Allow your pupils to learn together and find answers to problems together. Two people getting an answer wrong, or indeed right, is better than one person alone getting it wrong or right.
    • Be persistently consistent.
  4. Tell your class(es) what your rewards and sanctions will be
    • Keep your sanctions doable and commensurate with the rule that has been flouted. Children and young people recognise fairness and prefer to be treated as the individuals they are, rather than as just part of a difficult group. Reward appropriate behaviour regularly; a smile, a stamp on their work and a word of encouragement, leading, possibly, to postcards home, will recognise pupils’ efforts to be good learners and will help them to know how well they  are doing.
  5. Learn to be assertive
    • Both your body language and your verbal language need to show that you are assertive, neither weak nor aggressive. Sarcastic teachers do not get the best learners; kind but firm teachers do. There is a big difference between engaging in banter with pupils you know well and putting pupils down. The latter is never acceptable. Use a firm, clear tone of voice, rather than a ‘raised’ voice, as this can become shouting or, at worst, screeching.
  6. Set routines
    • When pupils know and understand what will happen in a variety of different circumstances, they are safe to learn and free to get on with the process of learning. Good teachers create routines that allow for persistent consistency but not routines that become staid – lessons can be exciting but still have that underwritten set of boundaries.
  7. Dealing with anger
    • It is impossible to deal with a very angry person – adult or child – when they are in a temper. The best thing to do is to remain calm and let the person know that you are going to help them, when they are ready, to resolve the problem. Try to keep control of your own emotions no matter what the other person may be feeling.   If possible, thank the rest of the group for getting on with their  work so that they do not become embroiled in a  difficult  situation, but see that you have the situation contained.
  8. Use humour
    • Remember your sense of humour and recognise that of your pupils. It’s hard to be angry or aggressive with someone who makes you laugh.
  9. Your classroom is like your home
    • When you welcome people into your home, you automatically make them feel welcome and help them to understand the ‘rules’ of your family. Do the same in your classroom. Keep it tidy but allow for the ‘messiness’ of learning. Know the difference between an exciting buzz of learning taking place and irritating chatter. Don’t make rules for rules’ sake.
  10. Be happy
    • There is nothing more rewarding than teaching some of our most troubled and troublesome children, especially once we have broken through the reserve of their acting-out behaviour. Time and the motivation that you will be able to get through to them     if you keep persevering is the solution.

The NASUWT has produced a range of guidance on managing classroom behaviour, which is for all teachers throughout their careers.

Using technology safely

Continuing and rapid developments in technology present some excellent opportunities for teachers.

There are several measures you can take to ensure you and your pupils get the most out of these resources and remain safe.

  • Use school email and social media accounts for work purposes and keep your personal accounts for your personal use.
  • Check your settings on social media accounts. What is on view to the public?
  • Set yourself a clear cut-off time for dealing with work-related emails and stick to it.
  • Ensure you comply with the school acceptable-use policy.
Lesson planning

Your training will provide an insight into how to plan effectively, but our top tips for you are:

  • schools vary in how they expect lesson plans to be completed, so make sure you know what is expected of you;
  • ensure your lesson plan suits your needs and is not just a monitoring tool for others;
  • remember that the primary purpose for your plan is for it to aid your teaching and not as a tool to assess you.

If you have any concerns regarding the amount of planning you are being asked to undertake, contact the NASUWT for more information.

Staying safe

Teachers do an excellent job in maintaining discipline in schools, but in a small minority of cases problems arise.

There are some measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of an incident or prepare you if one does occur.

They include:

  • ensuring you are never entirely alone with a pupil. This might be achieved by arranging for a colleague to be working nearby or  leaving the classroom door open;
  • familiarising yourself with school policies, particularly child protection, behaviour management and using technology, which should include:
    • physical contact with pupils;
    • meetings with pupils;
    • relationships with pupils out of school;
    • appropriate use of social media;
    • contact with pupils outside of school.
  • learn about the age, ability and special educational requirements of your pupils;
  • ensure you know how to summon assistance and who to contact;
  • seek advice from the NASUWT;
  • keep a written record of any incidents;
  • you may be asked but not required to search a pupil. NASUWT advice is that searches should only be conducted by the headteacher or someone specifically employed to undertake pupil searches.

Helping you stay ahead

The NASUWT runs a comprehensive programme of events and professional development seminars for all our members, at all stages of their career.

We also offer an extensive programme of training and CPD courses that includes:

  • newly qualified teachers’ seminars;
  • leadership seminars;
  • supply teachers’ conferences;
  • performance management/appraisal briefings.

Our training is FREE for members, nationally accredited CPD, and has a 95% positive rating.

Saving you money

As an NASUWT member, you can take advantage of over 250 discounts and exclusive offers on your home, car, electrical goods, eating out, leisure activities, retail gift cards, holidays and travel.

Our twice-monthly Benefits and Services eZine features exclusive deals, discounts and free prize draws. If you do not receive this, please email the Membership Team.

A small proportion of these offers will easily cover the cost of your NASUWT subscription and help you save more.

And, if you recruit other teachers to the NASUWT, you can get Love2Shop vouchers too!

Check out or scan the QR code on your membership card.

Examples are illustrations of savings that can be made. Prices correct at time of going to print 04/2019.