Keys to NQT Success (NOT survival)
A lot of well-meaning professional literature, websites and blogs will purport to advise you on the best ways to ‘survive the NQT year’. At Fulcrum Learning, we’re not about survival - we’re about success! Here are some of our ‘Keys to NQT Success’ which, alongside excellent mentoring and NQT induction, will help you to make the most of your NQT year:
Love your subject
Primary and secondary practitioners alike will have a subject area of expertise, and for many the love of the subject is a key reason for getting into teaching. Children are experts at spotting, mimicking and engaging with passion - they respond the best to teachers who have a true love for their subject and constantly seek to learn more. As well as benefiting the pupils, your continued passion for your subject will get you through many a paperwork pile and report-writing frenzy, and help to bring you back to why you’re there. Maybe check out the courses offered by The Prince’s Teaching Institute, The Literacy Shed, or Twitter users recommended by Teacher Toolkit? Learn more to share with the pupils, enhance your teaching and, perhaps most importantly, for YOU!
Find your Achilles Heel
Now that you’ve gone through the training process and are about to embark on the Induction Programme, you have no doubt already identified your Achilles Heel - it’s that part of the job that makes you feel a little bit nauseous whenever it pops into your mind. It’s so tempting to leave that job til last - we say, do it first! Mark Twain perfectly summed up this approach when he said, "If you know you have to swallow a frog, swallow it first thing in the morning. If there are two frogs, swallow the biggest one first.” A strange image, but easily remembered! One suggestion for how to put this into practice: If you struggle with marking (or any other task),set aside a time with a colleague when you both sit (in silence) in the same classroom and mark. Simply having another person in the room keeps you on task, accountable, and remembering that you’re not the only one having to ‘swallow that frog!’
Observe as much as you can
After the NQT year, observation of colleagues dwindles to almost nothing in most schools (out of necessity rather that deliberate choice). Use some of that 10% reduced timetable to set up observation opportunities with colleagues. Ask your mentor/senior leaders to recommend who to see for particular skill sets and approach the relevant individual with a compliment, "_____mentioned to me that you are fantastic at AFL. I’d love to see you put it into action sometime - is there a lesson when you wouldn’t mind me observing?” be as flexible as possible and don’t stay all lesson. And remember to drop them an email or note to thank them afterwards!