In your first three years in teaching

By: Martha Boyne , Emily Clements , Ben Wright


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Size: 222 x 182mm
Pages : 216
ISBN : 9781785833045
Format: Paperback
Published: May 2018

Martha Boyne, Emily Clements and Ben Wright’s Thrive: In your first three years in teaching equips trainee secondary school teachers with the know-how to lay the foundations for a successful career in teaching, long after the challenging first few years are over.

Martha, Emily and Ben are thriving teachers. In Thrive they share their personal experiences and demonstrate how you too can thrive during the tricky training year, the daunting NQT year and the crucial RQT year. Using their collective insights, and plenty of evidence-informed strategies and advice, they detail how you can get to grips with the classroom basics – from behaviour management and lesson planning to differentiation and providing for SEND – and effectively continue your professional development.

This book is not just a survival manual to help teachers get through their first three years in teaching. Nor is it an academic text that has been written by authors who have only a distant memory of what it takes to stand in front of a class of teenagers for the first time. Thrive is something very different. It gives both the aspiring and the newly qualified the support and guidance to become a thriving teacher, and has been co-authored by three recently qualified teachers who in this book invest their passion and practical knowledge to inspire and inform others who want to pursue enjoyable and rewarding careers in teaching.

Thrive is divided into three parts – specifically detailing what can be expected in the training year, NQT year and RQT year respectively – with the authors’ commentary threaded throughout to demonstrate how the ideas discussed can be successfully put into practice. Their accounts are also complemented by expert advice from two people who are at the very top of their profession, Lianne Allison and Dr Simon Thompson, who provide wider perspectives drawn from a wealth of teaching experience. Forty of the book’s forty-six chapters begin with a checklist outlining what a developing teacher is expected to do, and each chapter ends with a to-do list that can be used as a quick reference point to structure the strategies implemented. These to-do lists are also followed by lists of suggested further reading so that readers can delve deeper into topics and fields of research that they find particularly interesting or relevant.

Furthermore, the book offers helpful counsel on choosing the best training route as well as an in-depth analysis of the change in priorities for busy teachers as they progress: encouraging constant reflection, outlining potential pathways and emphasising the importance of evidence-based practice and how new teachers can, and should, incorporate this into their teaching.

Rooted in practical strategies and innovative ideas, Thrive is the essential guide for trainee secondary school teachers and teacher trainers.

Picture for author Martha Boyne

Martha Boyne

Martha Boyne is a secondary school science teacher who has recently completed her MA in education. Martha has published research and also writes for the successful Thrive in Teaching blog. She has presented at numerous education events on the subject of how teachers can be supported to incorporate evidence-based practice into their teaching.

Picture for author Emily Clements

Emily Clements

Emily Clementsis a subject leader for Key Stage 3 science and is also the science subject tutor for the South Downs SCITT. Emily has an MA in education and is interested in supporting teachers in using evidence to inform their practice. She shares her insights and experience regularly in the Thrive in Teaching blog.

Picture for author Ben Wright

Ben Wright

Ben Wright is head of the history department at a large secondary school in Cornwall and is passionate about developing thriving teachers, especially during those pivotal PGCE, NQT and RQT years. Ben has completed an MA in education and strives to embed a research culture in schools. He has delivered workshops, has presented widely and, together with his Thrive co-authors, regularly contributes to the popular blog Thrive in Teaching.


  1. Thrive is a practical guide that tackles all aspects of the teaching role for all early career teachers. It provides useful tips and strategies which are realistic and achievable. The strategies are supported by evidence-based practice and the book also provides additional reading references to support the reader to expand their knowledge and understanding. The authors also encourage you to be a reflective practitioner in order to enhance your own teaching practice.

     A supportive guide to all those embarking on their teaching career.

  2. With evidence from a range of sources pointing to problems regarding retention and turnover of teaching staff, as well as a sharp reduction in applicants for teacher training courses, Thrive has come at a crucial time.

    This is an enthralling book written by three authors who have not merely survived their initial three years in teaching but have learnt to thrive. Thriving is the key theme of this resource, which provides an excellent supply of advice and strategies relating to a wide range of issues. All teachers will gain from the excellent tips on giving instructions, questioning, differentiation, assessment, marking and feedback, parent-teacher relationships and specific approaches to promoting access and engagement for students with SEND.

    Thrive also provides the much-needed extra support for teachers which many of the current PGCE courses appear to lack - and promotes a real enjoyment to be derived from teaching. It is an excellent resource for teachers new to the profession and for those who are keen to rekindle their enthusiasm in the classroom.
  3. -‹“According to figures released by the UK government earlier this year, 30% of teachers (in England) who started their careers in 2010 had left the profession by 2015.

    Yes, you read that right - 30%. That's a lot of teachers. It's a worrying statistic.

    Of course, nobody said the first 3 years of teaching were going to be easy-¦ but perhaps it's possible to do more than simply survive those years. What if you could thrive?

    Teachers Martha Boyne, Emily Clements and Ben Wright did just that. And now, they've written a book about it to help other trainee teachers thrive in their first 3 years of teaching.

    An important distinction to make between this book and other books for trainee teachers is that the authors are, at the time of writing, just about to enter their fourth year of teaching. This gives the book a fresh perspective. Everything they have to say is current, with a firm basis in reality. You get the sense that the authors genuinely understand your struggles and will share exactly the right advice to get you through your training, NQT and RQT years.

    The book also includes expert advice from Lianne Allison, Deputy Headteacher (Durrington High School, West Sussex) and Director of Initial Teacher Training (South Downs School Centred Initial Teacher Training), and Dr Simon Thompson, Head of Education (University of Sussex). Both have a wealth of experience working with trainee teachers, NQTs and RQTs.

    I understand the authors' choice to include their “expert advisors”. It gives their opinions greater depth, and at times, a different perspective. However, when seeking advice, my preference is to consult peers who are a few years ahead of me in experience. As such, when reading this book, I was more interested in the authors' views than the expert advisers.

    The book is well organised and easy to navigate, with clear headings and illustrations. It contains evidence-informed strategies, as well as up-to-date research, explained in an easy-to-understand, conversational tone. The whole book feels authentic and relatable.

    It splits into 3 sections: The Training Year, The NQT Year and The RQT Year. Each section overviews topics such as interviews, safeguarding, working with support staff, differentiation, observations, CPD and assessment. Because the book covers so much, it doesn't go into great detail on anything, with the exceptions of planning and behaviour management. These are developed throughout the book as responsibility levels change from trainee to NQT. The lack of detail isn't a bad thing though. The busy trainee teacher will gravitate towards a book with short chapters and recommendations for further reading.

    I run the initial teacher training programme at the Guernsey College of Further Education. While this book is for trainee primary and secondary school teachers in the UK, as opposed to FE lecturers, I still think my trainees would get a lot out of it. It's an easy read and the type of book you can dip in and out of for further reading recommendations. As such, I highly recommend it.


    - The authors are in their fourth year of teaching and as such, offer a current, fresh perspective on the challenges facing teachers in the first 3 years of their new career.

    - The book's chapters are short and deliver quality over quantity. Readers are signposted to further resources should they wish to dive deeper into a topic.

    - The myriad of teaching acronyms is busted, once and for all!

    - The book's authors share personal stories throughout to demonstrate they practice precisely what they preach."

    Click here to read the review on UKEdChat's website.
  4. Thrive is a no-nonsense, practical guide to all aspects of teaching and being a teacher.

    The first few years of teaching can feel daunting, but with this book's support any new teacher can thrive. Underpinned by educational research, the book is like a pocket mentor and provides a good first stop for professional advice as Martha, Emily and Ben draw from their own first-hand experiences - as well as on the perspectives of experienced educators - to offer helpful guidance for aspiring teachers.

    An ideal resource for potential teachers, trainee teachers and, above all, newly qualified teachers navigating their formative years in the profession.
  5. In writing Thrive Martha, Emily and Ben have produced a valuable resource that points beyond survival to help new teachers embrace the real joy of being a teacher.

    This is not a textbook issuing a prescribed toolkit approach - rather it presents a significant framework that provides both training and qualified teachers with strategies and reflective ways of thinking that can be applied in all contexts as they navigate through the initial stages of their careers. Each section is carefully thought out and considers those issues that are real concerns for educators at each stage of their early development.

    I highly recommend Thrive, which will now become required reading for my initial teacher training students.
  6. Accessible, inspiring and easily digestible, Thrive is also a wonderful read!

    The structure of each chapter, complete with to-do lists, tips, stories and signposts to further reading, is useful in allowing the reader to dip into each section as appropriate, and, as a training teacher myself, I consider the guidance included to be very valuable - with need-to-know content appealingly and practically presented for those starting their teaching journey. I feel well prepared for the NQT and RQT years having read this book. 
  7. The teaching profession is safe in the hands of teachers like Martha, Emily and Ben. In Thrive they acknowledge the challenges that teachers face at the start of their careers, but present them with a coherent and realistic path to success.

    It is so refreshing to read of young teachers who relish attending to their own professional development - it is clear the authors are committed both to their pupils' learning and to their own careers. Indeed it is the fusing of these two core motivations that keep them happy and fulfilled as teachers.

    An innovative feature of Thrive is the melding of the training year into the first couple of years of teaching. Beginning teachers view this as one combined phase, but most training courses view these two periods in isolation - it is very helpful here to have the overview of the entire period, with each mini-phase attended to in its own section. The book also contests dour media narratives of teaching as a -˜profession in crisis', and asserts the enduring value of engaging in research by presenting a compelling notion of evidence-based practice.

    Teaching is a stimulating, exciting and rewarding career, but it can be tough at the start. This very welcome book reassures both the newly qualified and the recently qualified teacher that they have made the right career choice and that - especially in this early period of their career - they should aim to -˜thrive', not just survive.
  8. What sets Thrive apart from other books is the combination of the authors' experience that shines through on every page and the authority that comes from their many references to research and wider reading.

    Many teaching manuals talk about surviving in teaching as though it will be an ordeal, but this book will give the reader a sense that more is possible than just getting through another day. It is refreshing to see such a resource for those starting out in teaching that is so positive and optimistic, and what also impresses me is the way in which the authors manage to explain the basics clearly and carefully without talking down to their audience. The clear tips, tasks and case studies mean that this book will provide important continuing professional development for teachers who want to maintain the reflective practice they developed as a trainee.

    Thrive is an absolute must for anyone who is starting out in their teaching career and wondering what the future holds, whether during their study, on their placement or in those vital first few years in the classroom. This book will, I'm sure, be a constant and much-referred-to guide and a huge help to those entering this at times overwhelming profession. It's the book I wish I'd had when I started out in teaching.
  9. In Thrive Martha, Emily and Ben have written a realistic, optimistic and valuable guide to the first three years in teaching. The book is logically mapped out and can be read chronologically to give those new to the profession a comprehensive walk-through of what to expect, while it can also help more experienced teachers to pursue further avenues in their career.

    Full of fantastic insights from successful current teachers and those directly involved in initial teacher training, it offers an excellent resource of practical tips and advice in clearly delineated sections - I just wish I'd had it available to me during my own teacher training!

    A must-read for anyone embarking on, or already in, their first few years of teaching.
  10. Fantastically practical and written in a friendly tone, Thrive offers an honest and supportive perspective of the highs and lows of teaching and breaks down the possibly daunting and overwhelming prospect of embarking on a career in education into simple, achievable chunks.

    Martha, Emily and Ben are clearly passionate about the profession and want everyone to share in this - while reading the book I get a genuine sense that they want me to succeed. By sharing their own trials and tribulations they make you feel like you are not the only trainee struggling to find a way through with that class. Indeed, the book offers a wealth of strategies which would aid even the most experienced teacher.

    Its user-friendly layout allows the reader to dip in and out of chapters when looking for answers to specific questions in times of need and lays out handy to-do lists and up-to-date academic research in an accessible format - allowing the lessons learned to be easily transferred to the classroom using the authors' practical advice. The inclusion of a range of professional perspectives and expertise - from RQTs, deputy heads and PGCE tutors among others - is also a big plus which ultimately makes the book a readily available, round-the-clock team of mentors that celebrates the sharing of ideas and concerns and alleviates any sense of struggling on your own. The authors also actively combat the negative stigma surrounding teaching in the media and recognise the vital role the teacher plays in learners' educational journeys.     

    Armed with Thrive, teachers will be emboldened to take on any class and will feel empowered to not only survive their first few years in teaching but also become valued members of a department, able to inspire students and colleagues alike. It is an all-encompassing guide to teaching that will remain an essential resource for years into your practice.    
  11. Written with wisdom beyond the authors' years, and presented in a practical and positive way, Thrive provides aspiring teachers with a one-stop guide to the initial stages of their teaching journey.

    What's clever about the book is that you can either read it cover to cover or dip into it for specific guidance and inspiration in relation to a particular area of your teaching practice. The references to wider reading and reflection are also really useful, as they allow you to uncover and explore a wide range of other engaging and positive texts.

    Thrive is a really welcome antidote to the media's negative portrayal of teaching and holds true to what I am often told by visiting teachers from overseas, who proclaim that -˜education is Britain's best export'! I would encourage every teacher embarking upon the first steps of their teaching career to read it.
  12. It is well cited that teachers need to survive their first year in teaching, but there is very little offered to guide them through their formative stages once qualified.

    This book provides that extra support which we have all needed, and shares efficient solutions to help new teachers get ahead of the rest and thrive.

  13. Refreshingly, Thrive is not a book on how to be -˜outstanding', nor on how to -˜survive' as a beginning teacher. Instead it gives us something we all need, and will benefit from - inspiration and practical advice from teachers who are just ahead of us in their careers, who can recall the challenges we face and who are willing to share their recent experiences and successful strategies.

    Indeed, the book not only shows us how to get better at teaching but, just as importantly, illustrates how we can enjoy and thrive during the journey too. The authors take the first three years of developing as a teacher and emphasise the different, complex and fundamental ways in which professional learning happens - from initial teacher training, through the NQT year, to emergence as a recently qualified professional. There are useful sections covering: making the most of professional relationships with mentors, school leaders and other colleagues; practical strategies for planning, assessment, differentiation and managing time; researching teaching and learning; and navigating pathways in professional development and early leadership.

    Throughout Thrive, Martha, Emily and Ben ensure that readers benefit from the perspectives of established school-based and university professionals alongside their own authentic, evidence-informed and practice-enriched voices. If I were a new teacher at the beginning of my career I'd welcome the opportunity to listen to them, learn from their experiences and, hopefully, thrive.

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