Last year we featured posts telling the story of a trainee physics teacher. Now, having qualified, he returns to share his thoughts and experiences with us once again; this time from the front line at the start of his first term as a newly qualified teacher.
The summer has given a much needed break between finishing my PGCE and starting my first position as a qualified teacher. I’ve had time to reflect on what has happened to me in the year just gone – and to start to ponder what is in store for my NQT year ahead.
I’d say my PGCE was the greatest challenge so far of my life, but at the same time, definitely the most worthwhile. Looking back over the year, my advice to new trainee teachers is book a holiday in advance otherwise they won’t get round to it. They’ll need to be ready with a positive attitude and prepared to make the most of it because it was good fun but hard work. Hopefully, they’ll come out happy!
And now I am ready to start my NQT year. I’m looking forward to taking on the responsibility of being a teacher, having my own classroom and a full timetable. I’ll know what lessons I am going to be teaching, going from the beginning of the year right through to the end. Everything will be down to me – I won’t just be coming in for a couple of months and taking over someone else’s lessons for that time – I can plan the introductions and structure of the modules.
Saying that, there is plenty that is daunting. I’m dreading seeing my timetable almost double from 12 hours per week to 20. And I’m going to have to find ways to cope with sacrificing the security that comes with exhaustively planning every lesson. I see one of the big challenges of the NQT year as finding that new balance.
I was fortunate to find my NQT position early in my training year – in fact it is in my second placement school and they employed me to do some cover teaching during the last weeks of the summer term. But that does mean I was really ready for the summer holiday.
I took the first three weeks off school-work completely. I even made it for a week to Spain – sun, swimming and total relaxation – bliss! Only then did I feel it was time to start preparing for my first term as a teacher. I decided to focus on lesson plans for just the first few weeks and then getting as much of the term’s admin done as possible so I can concentrate on getting to the know the names of the pupils I’m going to be teaching.
We’ll see where it goes from there. I’m definitely looking forward to starting back. Even after just a week or two off work, I am excited about going back to school and I know I have made the right decision about going into teaching.