NQT Wisdom: Don’t let them grind you down. You’re an adult, they are children, you will win eventually.

Whether you’ve got a great support network or, you’ve got a subject mentor that lays on the pressure to the extreme like The Guardians Secret Teacher, being an NQT is notoriously difficult.

We’ve got the inside scoop from a Birmingham based NQT who recently graduated from Newman University. Here’s the first interview featuring some great tips from someone who’s experienced NQT life first-hand.

Do you remember walking into your first class as a qualified teacher? Describe your emotions.

Haha, yes I thought, ”I’ve arrived, oh, no, maybe not..”. It’s a very big mixture of panic, fear, excitement and achievement.

I was lucky enough to start my NQT year almost 2 weeks after qualifying in June, so was able to meet my class before becoming their teacher and get a feel for them before they were my class so that I could tailor their learning environment to them as individuals.

What are the highlights of your teaching career so far?

Teaching Charlie and the chocolate factory to the children and some of the funny stories that the children have come up with in their topic books. Superheroes day was also a great day, we all dressed up as superheroes and did a treasure hunt around the school.

The buzz you get when you first notice signs of progress in your class is also a highlight, it reassures you that you’re doing a good job. Something that’s not always a given in teaching.

 Have there been any major challenges, if so what have they been?

Dealing with the workload!

Maintaining a work/life balance and working out when enough is enough and realising that it will all get done eventually.  Inside the classroom, the biggest challenge has been managing the behaviour of the children. My class aren’t the best behaved in the world and it’s been a challenge.

How have you dealt with these challenges?

I’ve started going in to school early in the morning and working until late to make sure that all the marking and planning is done before I leave.  This way it leaves me with some free time to relax and spend time with my friends.

With regards to classroom behaviour, this continues to be a challenge. I’ve recently tried using a classroom based rewards system, which seems to work really well. The sounds that play when an award is given gets their attention, and the children then try to mimic the behaviour of the person that received the award to try and get their own points.

 Is there a list of methods that do and don’t work?

Not really, every class is different; you just have to try as many different ways as possible to see which one works for the group.

 Survival tips for your fellow teachers?

Don’t let them grind you down. You’re an adult, they are children, you will win eventually. When the children eventually realise you’re there for their own good and start you all begin to work towards a common goal; it’s all worth it.

 One major lesson you’ve learnt so far?

Don’t panic. It’s very easy to be caught in the moment and not look at the bigger picture. As a perfectionist, I like things to be ”just so” but unfortunately in education, they can’t be “just so” all of the time. There isn’t a right or wrong answer all the time and it’s about working your way around those areas of ambiguity.

 What are you looking forward to as your career progresses?

Affecting the lives of many different children from many different backgrounds and making sure that the effect is positive.

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