Hitting the ground running

All has been quiet on the “Miss Trainee” (confession:I am now a NQT…but surely we should all never stop learning. Therefore, the name is staying…) blog front recently as my river of ideas to share has run somewhat dry. However, today I felt inspired by a fellow Teach Firster reaching out for help.

When I think back to this time last year, I was frequently down in the dumps due to poorly behaved students seemingly throwing back my efforts. However, instead of sinking further and further into doom, I started adding more strategies and interventions (see previous blogs). This transformed my teaching and the students’ learning leading to over 90% of students meeting or exceeding expected progress including EAL, SEND and poorly behaved students. I never thought I would achieve that, this time last year. Therefore, it is something for all you newbies to think about. You have only just begun…

In contrast, I have definitely had an entirely better start to my NQT year compared to my training year. Even though I teach some of the most notorious students in the school (some new to me and some who I am teaching for the second year), I found that I rarely thought “oh no… I’m going to struggle with this class” because I was “ready” for them. I now have many weapons in my armoury and I am systematically working through them/layering them up to ensure success once again for all of my students. Admittedly, some have not been as effective as others but that is the point… I am now experienced enough to not blame the student or blame my own ability. I just stop, have a think and reload with a new idea.

The first half term is tough because it is all about building relationships with your students and setting a tone for the quality of learning you apply through the year. This is a really hard thing to do when (like me) you have extremely high expectations (e.g: almost every student to make 4+sub levels of progress in the year) and the students you face doubt their ability/find your lessons hard. Getting the students to distinguish between “This lesson is hard because I am being pushed to be my absolute best” and “This lesson is hard because I suck” is really hard but…again…hindsight has prepared me for this and through rewards and quirky games, I am seeing their confidence flourish before my eyes.

Therefore, newbies, stay strong and keep going. Trust me when I say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will look back upon this gloomy time with an appreciation of how it has made you a stronger teacher. It is tough and it can sometimes feel like the worst job in the world. However, it can also feel like the best job in the world. Therefore, pause, reload with a few suggestions from my previous blogs (for example) and remember that tomorrow is a new day with a new start.

Please drop me a comment below or follow me on Twitter @miss_trainee 🙂

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