Dear NQT Me

Dear Bex,

Well, it’s kind of a surprise that you’ve got here really. Approaching the end of your time in Lancaster you didn’t really know what to do with yourself and you kind of fell into teacher training. The idea was to do the School Direct PGCE and the NQT year and then leave, knowing you’d have the qualification to come back to if you wanted. Well you knew by October that you wouldn’t stick it out past Christmas unless you actually enjoyed it. There’s no way you’d put yourself through the year you just did and the one you’re about to do if you didn’t intend to stick it out. In fact you’ve got into it so much that you’re the only one from your cohort signed up to go and hear about the MA Education course. How odd.

This year isn’t going to be without it’s ups and downs. I’ll be honest with you, there’s at least once that you think about leaving, but you never get as far as that. You’ll carry on blogging your way through it and it helps you to reflect, like it always did on your year abroad or last year. Looking back at the first post you wrote before starting the NQT year there were a few things you were specifically looking forward to.

Your form…. well you know from day one that they’re going to be the troublemakers of the year group and they certainly live up to that expectation. I’m sorry, it’s not quite what you wanted for your NQT year but they’re a memorable bunch.

Teaching sixth form, well the two of you really got thrown in at the deep end as NQTs taking both year 12 and 13 Spanish. They were nice kids and you got on well, that really helped. In fact, A level Spanish disappearing will be the reason you leave this school.

Your own classroom, this was definitely good but came at the expense of socialising. It was far too easy to sit in your room and work through lunch and stay there after school. You try a bit later on but it’s a bit too late really, lesson learned – spend more time with colleagues.

You’re right that School Direct prepared you well for this year, certain things came as less of a shock that’s for sure. There are things you wish you’d had that the PGCE students had in terms of pedagogy, but you’ll quickly make up for this with your engagement with Twitter and later the Masters and the Chartered College. The Chartered College isn’t even a thing yet, but you’ll find out about it early on and get involved, it will turn out to be the way you meet a lot of like minded teachers.

Getting involved with running #NQTChat really starts something for you, you’ll run a 100 Happy Days for NQTs and you’re still in contact with some of those other NQTs now, or you see them around Twitter at least. This leads you to eventually starting #MFLChat, it gets quite big actually.

In October you’ll write a post about ‘spinning all the plates’, this part strikes me now I’m reading it back:

I’d love to be out and about in school seeing and doing more, I’d like to feel like I’m teaching good lessons not ones that are just about good enough, I’d like to feel like I’m achieving something rather than just getting by. ¬†Unfortunately all of these things require time, more time than it’s possible to give.

I’m assuming that this is a common NQT feeling, but what concerns me more is that it may be something that teachers are feeling further down the line. ¬†Is this something that goes away or do all teachers feel this inadequate? ¬†

You’re right that it’s a common NQT feeling but also sadly right that it stays with you for quite some time. Eventually you get a hold of this workload and you take back some time for yourself. You realise that you are working to live and not the other way around. Unfortunately you’re all too aware that there are lots of teachers who don’t get this balance though, and that’s sad and worrying for the teaching profession. You write about this a few times over the course of the year actually, it’s clear that it bothers you.

In October you’re going to have a bit of a wobble and wonder if this is the job for you. You do what you describe as ‘Getting my Teaching Mojo Back‘ by making a load of resources that you hardly use (I have no idea how this helped, but apparently it did…) but more importantly applying for the MA Education course you’d been considering. Great decision.

The important thing is that you will get through the year. You’ll go on to do all sorts of things you can’t even imagine right now. Mostly outside of school though, you lead a bit of a double life as far as that’s concerned! I won’t tell you about all of that for now. Just know that you can keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll be just fine.

Enjoy this year and everything it brings,

2020 Bex – post-lockdown (oh you don’t even know what that is yet!) and starting my 7th year teaching.

Leave a Reply