Diary of an NQT: All aboard the NQT rollercoaster

Written by: Diary of an NQT | Published:
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A new year and a new NQT takes the helm of SecEd's Diary of an NQT. Every month they will be discussing their successes, challenges, highs and lows on the NQT rollercoaster...

When the final school bell rang in July I found myself overwhelmed with feelings of relief and a huge sense of accomplishment. My PGCE year had been the most challenging and yet most rewarding year of my life so far.

Throughout the year I overcame fears, embraced challenges and survived the many highs and lows that are part of the parcel of being a teacher.

Then this summer, as September drew ever closer and I prepared to begin my journey as an NQT, I found myself facing a slightly different set of challenges.

For the first time ever I will have a classroom to myself, with no mentor present for when things do not go to plan.

Doubts began to formulate in my head. Will I be able to cope on my own? How will I handle situations when things inevitably go wrong?

As a science teacher I have to teach physics and chemistry, as well as my specialism, biology. There will be certain topics and practicals that I will be teaching for the very first time during this year, especially when teaching outside of my specialism.

I will also find myself responsible for pupils who are preparing to take their GCSEs. The very thought of this makes my stomach do backflips. I hope that I am able to provide them with the best opportunities possible and ensure that they thrive in science.

Perhaps one of the most exciting prospects for me is the thought of having my own tutor group. I really enjoyed being a part of a tutor group last year and having the chance to take on a group of my own is a challenge that I cannot wait to embrace.

As an NQT, I think there is an overwhelming personal desire to prove yourself. However, while we of course need to show that we can teach, this pressure can lead to a reluctance to ask for help and even to doubting your own abilities when things do not go to plan.

It is easy to let pride get in the way of simply asking your colleagues for some support – which after all is what we are expected to do. I am very fortunate to be starting my NQT year in one of my PGCE placement schools so I already know the majority of staff, who are both friendly and very supportive. This has helped to ease my fears significantly in this regard.

A key target for the upcoming year is the effective use of time management. I will be teaching more hours a week than I ever did during my PGCE year. It is imperative that I remain organised as it is easy to slip behind.

I also intend to get stuck into as many aspects of school life as I can. Last year I took on the year 7 football team and I loved it. Not only did it give me the chance to get out of the classroom but it gave the pupils a chance to see their science teacher in a different environment, which had a positive impact upon their behaviour.

However, time management does not just mean my time spent in school. I understand that it is crucial to ensure that, where possible, I leave myself some spare time to spend with loved ones and doing my own things.

There is no denying that the NQT year will feature a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, but equipped with a determination to succeed, a good support network around me, and an excitement for the challenges that lay before me, I feel that I am ready to begin this next chapter of my professional life.

  • Our NQT diarist this year is a science teacher at a comprehensive school in the West of England.


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