Your NQT year…the year you are almost set free into the big wide teaching world. I’ve almost finished mine now and having just lead a session for trainees it has made me think about all the things that I wish I knew before I started my NQT year. I don’t think I was naïve going into my NQT year but there are certainly things that I did not consider!
1. Having a tutor group will take up a LOT of your time.
If I counted up all of the emails and calls made to parents about tutor group issues (both good and bad) they would far outweigh the calls and emails I have made to the other 10 classes parents put together. Don’t get me wrong, its fantastic calling parents about the really positive things and to form good relationships, however, no one could be prepare me for quite how long I spend mopping up tears, sorting friendship issues, dealing with the fallout when things don’t go to plan and writing up tutorial notes. I love my tutor group…even though they probably think otherwise, but wow…you use a lot of my time!
2. The paperwork NEVER disappears.
The reports, the re-writing of reports because you’ve been too positive/not positive enough, the marking, the evaluations, the lesson plans, the seating plans, the context sheets to go with the seating plans, the to-do lists, the letters home, the detention letters, more marking..etc… It never ends…you are never fully on top of everything, because as soon as you have taught one lesson there is something else that needs to be marked. This paperwork part is far from my favourite aspect of teaching. I’ve had to look for the positives and remember quite frequently that copy and paste can (sometimes) be a good thing.
3. You will never win over everybody.
Everyone has that one class…the one that doesn’t behave quite how you want it to, and you will spend your time trying to win them over because you are passionate about your subject and you DO want them to do well. A few months in you really feel like you have made progress with them and they are making good progress and they do listen much quicker than in the first few weeks, apart from that small handful. No matter what you do you will never win over everybody. There will always be a few who have already decided that your subject is rubbish, and you are rubbish and that writing is rubbish. You may get them on your side for a lesson or two…but be under no illusion!
4. Sleep is your number 1 best friend, followed closely by post its, stamps/stickers and the beverage of your choice.
Staying up until 1am to write those reports is inevitably going to result in a lot of mistakes and using he instead of she / him instead of her. Get as much sleep as you can, you can only burn the candle at both ends for so long before you fall to pieces. During certain parts of this year I could have been sponsored by an energy drinks firm, now I have became a tiny bit wiser and set myself a curfew. There aren’t many jobs that require you to do an extra 5/6 hours work when you have already ‘finished’ work. Sleep is ESSENTIAL. Sounds obvious I know, but during your ITT year your timetable is lighter so if you miss a few hours sleep its not so detrimental. Being tired + tutor group issues + break and lunchtime detentions + 5 period day + reports looming = tears and you wondering why on earth you EVER wanted to be a teacher!
I’m sure there will be a part 2 to this. 🙂