NQT blog: “mis-pronouncing ‘tongs’ as ‘thongs’ in front of thirty 14 year-old boys”

Lisa is juggling many new experiences, having begun her NQT induction in January after taking time out to have a baby.


Teaching physics... nothing to fear?

“It has been a good four months that I have been working part-time as an NQT in an outstanding, extremely well-performing small selective school as well as being a new mum. There are a lot of demands associated with this: high expectations from the head, the parents, the students and from myself. So far, not too bad.


“Even though I am now suddenly in charge of about thirty different boys every 45 minutes, observations are still happening almost as regularly as during the PGCE. Now they have a bit more of an official note attached: in my second week, I was officially observed by the head and the NQT supervisor (no pressure!), but I survived and the students learned what I was trying to explain.


“I was given plenty of feedback, some positive and some giving me more to work on, but all in a very constructive way. I am going slowly in the right direction and I feel much more relaxed and at ease in my own classroom. The routines are starting to fall into place, I know the students by name, and nature, and can predict how certain aspects of the lesson are going to appeal to different students.


“Some things, however, remain surprises: the excitement of students when I brought in a bit of (broken) CERN detector (“Can we take a picture of it, Miss?”), mis-pronouncing ‘tongs’ as ‘thongs’ in front of almost thirty 14 year-old boys, a list of 14 names on the board to keep track of whose turn it is to go to the bathroom, introducing my Year 12 students to the game ‘Fe26’ as a more appropriate version of ‘2048’ to play in physics lessons…


“It does feel rather weird to be only working part-time. Students and staff remain surprised that I am not in school every day and to be honest, my days off in the middle of the week feel like an extra weekend. But there is always the nagging feeling that I ought to be doing something towards work rather than sorting out the laundry and taking the baby on playdates. I have consciously not set up a forward for the school’s email to my phone, but can’t stop myself from checking occasionally anyway.


“Parents’ evening and open days have been rather problematic to arrange as my partner has a job that requires him to travel and he has to respond to the demands when they arise. At some point, our luck will run out and I won’t be able to rely on the baby being ill only on the days I am not working, but we’ll bridge that gap when it arises.


“I remember comparing the PGCE with juggling flaming torches at some point, learning how to keep them all in the air at the same time. I was hoping it would become easier, however, even though in theory I know how to keep them up, I’m finding I need to stay focussed and continue to practice. And for good measure I have added a baby in the mix.”