NQT: Facing results and predicting the final outcome

He’s coming towards the end of his induction year and has bravely shared the outcomes of his work so far. He illuminates the vulnerability that many teachers feel during exam season. He has also had to consider the impact of potential career progression upon his current teaching workload.

PGCE-430x304I am in my final term of my NQT year. This last term is the most important for the pupils, who are facing potentially life-changing exams and a series of extra revision lessons from every subject teacher, each teacher vying for a share of their pupils’ out of lesson time.

A few weeks back, I was faced with my first set of GCSE results for my pupils. I received the email from the examinations manager at the school and I sought out the names of my pupils, taking in the results of mine and their efforts. It did not look good. My pupils had not gained the grades that I had hoped for them, some had not improved on their resits at all. I was disappointed for the pupils and was demoralised and disappointed in myself. Despite the best efforts of my colleagues who tried to help me shake off the disappointment, I went home that day feeling a failure.

Having organised the results, compiling the grades that the pupils had in a spreadsheet and calculating their current grades based on previous grades, new grades and coursework marks, there seemed to be some hope still. Although many had done poorly in their additional science exams, their core science grades were quite impressive. I gave the news to the pupils the following day; some pupils were upset, others were proud. Although my pep-talk was not exactly on the same level as the one from the film, ‘Independence Day’, my pupils all left with a sense of achievement in their grades and a new drive for their final exams.

Recently, I was offered the opportunity to take on extra responsibility next year. I was thankful for the opportunity and it was rewarding knowing that my efforts and achievements had been recognised by the school, but I was careful not to commit to or refuse anything without giving it more thought. My first thoughts were: a) I really do not need a larger workload, b) I am not in a rush to work my way up the ladder, and c) I would much rather focus on improving the quality of my teaching to a standard that I am fully satisfied with. I took a good few weeks to think about my decision, asking colleagues and family for advice. My final decision was to take the promotion. I felt that I had some expertise to offer, and that some extra responsibility would give me a role within the department so that I could move on from being the ‘new one’.