When I look back over the amount I have accomplished within the last term, my first as an NQT, I find it hard to believe I am still standing – never mind still smiling.
It seems that for every set back within my job (and it can often feel like there’s a fair few!) a positive comes along with it to remind me of why I became a teacher in the first place – whether it is a successful lesson, trip or even school production.
The first term felt somewhat long as we counted the days until Christmas, staying until late marking assessments and performing Christmas production duties. Yet in hindsight, it also seemed to fly past me before I could really get my hands on it.
As I look ahead to a new year and a second term, I am considering my new year’s resolutions (other than the usual not biting my nails and trying to be a gym buff).
Reviewing your own progress is important within education, as is deciding how you can improve from here – it doesn’t matter whether you’re a pupil, NQT or teacher.
And so I present my four new year’s resolutions which I hope will help me to complete my NQT year in one piece (while avoiding potential breakdowns).
Space out marking workload. I have a wonderful habit of allowing it to pile up while I’m busy doing anything but marking and then writing off one weekend to get through a sky-high pile of books, always playing catch-up. I need to pace myself throughout the year, just thinking one class at a time instead of whole year groups!
Slow down on the school trips, especially residential ones. I was determined when I arrived to make sure the students had more opportunities and were able to see live theatre as much as possible – not considering how the late nights and paperwork would affect the rest of my week.
Be careful what I say and who I say it to. Everyone needs a rant every now and again but I need to be careful who’s around – after a cleaner reported my “negative comments about the department” (concerns about the Christmas production) to my line manager I’ve realised I need to just swallow words until I get home. I was advised to rant upwards, but not down – but I think I’ll simply stay quiet to play it safe.
Learn to say “no”. Taking on too many responsibilities and extra-curricular commitments in a busy week seems to stress me out far more than I had ever anticipated. Therefore, I think I need to start standing up for myself and saying no. A tough resolution as I hope this doesn’t affect my reputation – but as my Grandma would say “I’ve only got two hands!”
As much as I strive to achieve these resolutions, I have an instinctive feeling that as I get swept away into spring, I am going to be struggling to maintain my strength, no matter how much educational will-power I have.
I may have a better chance of not biting my nails...
Our NQT diarist this year is a teacher of drama and dance at a school in Essex.