Planning smartly and taking ownership

Our blogger has met challenges head on and felt pride and recognition in his achievements.  Read on to find out how he has tackled his first term as an NQT.

Wow. This has been one mad half term. Every single week has brought on something new as well as the array of challenges that are a part of the everyday job of being a teacher.

I have started as a newly qualified physics teacher in a large comprehensive school in London.  I’m teaching physics as my specialism so I have taken on mostly physics at GCSE level and all 3 sciences at key stage 3 (year 7 and year 8).

Though my timetable was initially daunting, with all those extra hours in comparison with my training year, and so many more classes and names to learn. It was a tough start, trying to plan all these lessons in as much detail as I was used to on my PGCE training year. It soon became apparent that I had to plan more ‘smartly’.

This involved recycling more resources, recognising when to spend more time on certain lessons (e.g. more challenging topics) so that I can spend any few spare minutes catching up with marking and admin.

However, it feels much nicer having my own timetable with my own classes. I felt a surge of pride to see my name on pupil’s books and to have made that transition from trainee to qualified teacher.

The extra freedom and ability to teach my pupils in the manner that I would think is most effective has been a great joy, trying out new ideas and experiments that I had not had the opportunity to roll out last year.

A great highlight of my term so far, is some great successes I have had with a physics club that I have inherited. We have even appeared in the local newspaper, showing off the successes that the club has had in raising the profile of physics in the school, helping increase uptake of pupils studying it at A-level.

My challenge for the coming month is to become more effective with my planning, trying to get on top of the ‘chores’ of teaching, to free up some more time for the joys of teaching; those truly memorable lessons.

The job is full of stresses, constant observations, mock OFSTED inspections, frequent evaluations, and never ending meetings litter my timetable as well, keeping me on my toes every single day.

Despite my plans which I outlined in my previous post, I did not manage to get as much planning done during the summer holidays as I had hoped, leaving me less prepared than I would have liked to have been.

I was unsure as to what I could be planning, and not knowing what my groups would be like left me doubting the suitability of the lessons I had planned. But now, I have the opportunity with the coming half term holiday to prepare more lessons, to hopefully lighten my load for the following 2nd half of this term. But first, maybe a couple of days of rest…