From what I hear, the end is nigh. We have reached the final half-term of our NQT year. The summer holidays have lurched vividly into my sights. All that stands between me and a plane out to sunny horizons is six short weeks.
I have started to ponder what school life will be like next academic year; it has become apparent that things will be changing between now and September – most notably, the staff.
First of all, there will be the inevitable newbies. Just last Tuesday I strolled unwittingly into what seemed like an NQT interview waiting room. A group of about 12 potential art NQTs had been crammed together with a plate of biscuits reminiscent of a herd of young mustangs rounded into a cowboy’s pen.
Not quite sure whether they should stay with the herd or break out for the nearest exit, they seemed to jitter about in their seats spouting what seemed to be the most microscopic small talk imaginable.
I could feel the nervous tension in the room, each individual trying to stake out his or her competitor. Was I this sheepish and eager at this point last year?
These NQTs trained through the traditional PGCE route. There is another new trainee to be thrust upon us, in this case within my own department, who is a new Teach First participant.
Taking on a Teach Firster seems to be a bit like playing a game of lottery; the school has no say in who you get, but is allocated a participant through a sorting process organised by Teach First. Who is to say what calibre of person we will be stuck with? Perhaps we will be fortunate enough to be blessed with an individual bearing a strong work ethic, fresh ideas and a passion for educating young people; as a Teach First participant myself I have met many fantastic teachers who fit this description.
However, as with all sectors of society, I am well aware there is also a chance we may be cursed with an arrogant, self-righteous upstart, who I would rather not share a pokey maths office with, even if it were a choice between them and an irritating, buzzing fly. I have all my fingers and toes crossed...
In addition to the slow creeping in of potential newbies, news of resignations has been trickling in. It seems to be an unwritten rule that if you are going to resign you should have done so by now. Although friends in the private sector were shocked and appalled when I explained the concept of having to give notice more than three months before the position needs to be filled – it seems to be widely accepted as the courteous thing in teacher circles to ensure that you have handed in your notice by summer half-term.
Amazingly talented individuals are leaving to carve their own paths in leadership positions, others to pursue academic studies and others retirement. From the person who supported and mentored me and was my rock through my PGCE year, to the member of the leadership team who I did not know so personally but whose presence was always felt, the absence of each staff member departing will leave our workplace slightly changed.
What I have found interesting is having to hide the news of teacher resignations from the pupils. Some teachers are so popular it seems that letting on to the pupils risks an act of mutiny.
It is always sad to see people move on, but it is exciting to see the fresh new staff who will be joining us. In the words of Tim Rice: “It’s the circle of life and it moves us all.”
Our NQT diarist this year writes anonymously and is a teacher of maths from a south London secondary.