Diary of an NQT: How the time flies…

Written by: Diary of an NQT | Published:
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A year is a long time in teaching. Attending his ITT graduation ceremony, our NQT diarist reflects on just how far he has come

Today I have had a day off to attend my ITT graduation ceremony. With everything going on at school, I confess that I had forgotten about this celebratory date until a friend from the course reminded me. I suppose this reflects just how all-consuming the job can be.

Fortunately, I had booked the day off and hired my graduation gowns weeks ago.

The ceremony itself was pleasant, with NQTs from various teacher training alliances gathering to celebrate their success. It was great to see my friends from the ITT course and to share stories of our first term as qualified teachers. It is easy to forget just how dependent we were on each other during these 12 months, and it was lovely to meet up and look back on our training with fond memories.

Our experiences of being NQTs varied wildly. I have had tough days since starting my first post, but the overall experience has been fantastic and I have never regretted my decision to train.

I have made friendships with colleagues that I truly value and I am proud of the work my students are producing. I hope to remain at my current school for many years, as I feel supported by senior colleagues in my career progression.

I have already been given some fantastic development opportunities, and I feel like a valued member of staff. I have never been made to feel inexperienced or under-utilised because I am an NQT. Most importantly, I feel part of my school’s community, and it cannot be underestimated how important this is.

Others, sadly, are not having the same positive experience. A good friend is already hoping to move jobs due to the lack of support they are receiving at their school, where senior leaders are at loggerheads with teaching staff. This has tarnished their enjoyment of the job, adding unnecessary pressure during an already stressful year.

For me, the workload is so intense at the moment that, if I wasn’t enjoying going into work every day, I would struggle to keep motivated.

This highlights the importance of researching an institution before applying for a post. When training, it is tempting to apply for every job going and snap up the first one offered, but trainees should be more selective.

I was familiar with my current school before they employed me, as a number of friends have either worked there or attended it themselves. I was aware of its strong community values, and this was confirmed when I visited the school prior to applying. I feel lucky that my experience of the profession has been positive and I am acutely aware that this is largely down to the school I am working in.

As I left my graduation ceremony, I wandered through the university building where my lectures took place and saw this year’s cohort of trainees in the common room. Most were hunched over laptops, no doubt polishing off their latest assignment or putting together lesson plans.
It struck me just how much has happened to me in the last 12 months and how different my life is now. My workload has grown exponentially, but so too has my professional and personal satisfaction.

This time last year, I would have been starting to teach for the first time, feeling self-conscious about every aspect of my practice.

Whenever I have a challenging day during my NQT year, I will try to remember starting out on my ITT course and reflect on how much I have learnt in such a short space of time.

What a difference a year makes.

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


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