I'm pretty sure that everyone loves a good freebie but as an NQT who still has... 27 days until my first pay day, I like freebies even more! So here is a list of my top freebie sites that I use for teaching stuff.
I've posted about Vistaprint in before (here's the link) showing all the things I've managed to get for free. I've had quite a few people ask me how I got all those things for free so thought I'd share that here. If you sign up for Vistaprint you'll see that the only free product is usually the business cards and that's it but if you make sure that you sign up for the newsletter (you'd probably get them anyway) you'll soon get an email with lots of free offers in there for you. Of course nothing is really completely free, you still have to pay postage which increases based on what you're ordering but if you're not in a rush and choose the 21 day delivery, it's still pretty cheap.Sign up using this link and you'll get a few extra offers to start with.
My top ones are Twinkl, Teacher's Pet and TES.
I like to make my own things for my classroom - displays, resources, word mats etc. I've learnt, the hard way, that I can't waste my time reinventing the wheel so if there's something that I want or need and someone else has done it already, I might as well use them. I used to think that I had to do it all myself, I thought that it'd reflect badly on me if I didn't and now I've realised that we all do it because we need to and so if I use someone else's resource/display or tweak someone else's lesson plan to fit my class that it's fine, it doesn't look bad and it gives lets me spend that saved time on other more useful things that I can't magpie from someone else like marking and assessment.
I've mentioned it before but Dropbox is a fantastic site to use for backing up all school stuff (or anything really) and being able to access it anywhere. It's also great for sharing folders with other people. If you're a Year 2 NQT (or not an NQT and teach in Year 2 still) there's a Facebook group and we have a Dropbox set up that we can all share our resources and planning in. Think you'll have to email me your address for an invite but you can click the link above to sign up still.
4. Union membership
I think that joining a union is something that ever teacher should do, it's something that you can easily think well everything's fine at school, I don't need to be in a union but it's like pet insurance or AA cover, everything may well be fine right now but if suddenly things go wrong and you're not 'covered' it's going to be a lot more difficult for you. There are lots of unions to join and I don't hide the fact that I'm a member of ATL over the other unions and would openly recommend ATL over the others for a number of reasons. Personally I prefer ATL because they've been far more helpful to me than any of the others have, they have the ATL Future division which focuses purely on students and NQTs and students and NQTs are invited to attend conference each year as voting members, you can go to the others but I believe you can't have a vote. Basically with ATL I feel like I have a voice and all the support I need as a student and now an NQT. Also the reduced MA fees for Edge Hill were a big factor too! Not all are free during your NQT year, ATL are and I think NASUWT are but the NUT is still only £1. So whether you join ATL, the NUT or NASUWT that's up to you, just join at least one of them!
5. Publishing companies
Over the summer I emailed probably around ten different publishing companies explaining that I was an NQT with a classroom to decorate and asked whether they might be able to send me any posters and things like that for my classroom. I also explained my topic and said that any related to that would be great. Out of those ten or so, I had three email back asking for my address and they sent me some lovely posters that I'll put up in my classroom. A few are related to my topic but others are books that the children would love and it'll hopefully get them interested in reading them.