Diary of an NQT: Stepping up

Written by: Diary of an NQT | Published:
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Getting involved in all aspects of school life can give NQTs the experience and skills to help progress in their careers, as our NQT diarist has discovered

As mentioned previously, I have recently been given a new role in school. As of September, I will be the new head of year 7, an opportunity that I am thrilled to have been given.

Despite being an NQT, several senior colleagues encouraged me to apply for the post. Since deciding to train as a teacher two years ago, it has always been my ambition to become head of year and so I decided to go for it.

As one colleague pointed out, a similar opportunity may not arise for many years, so I had to take advantage of the opportunity when it came up.

Whether I was successful or not, I approached the application and interview process as an opportunity for personal development. It is so early in my career that, if I was not given the job, I would not have been disappointed. However, the writing of my application was a fantastic way to reflect on my NQT year, and consider both my strengths and points for development.

I am not going to go into detail about what the new role entails as it is not relevant to the broader experience of being an NQT. However, I think that the success of my application is entirely down to the investment that my school has put into me an individual.

Since taking up my teaching post, the school’s senior leaders have offered me numerous opportunities for professional development, and it is through taking these opportunities that I was able to build a worthy application for the head of year role.

It is very easy for NQTs to take on too much extra-curricular work, which can be detrimental to our development in the classroom. It is vital to carefully consider all opportunities that are offered before agreeing to take them on.

However, if you are comfortable with the increased workload, then you should grasp any additional responsibilities with enthusiasm. Not only will this help you to develop as a professional, but it will also demonstrate to your senior colleagues that you are willing and able to get involved with aspects of school life outside of the classroom.

Being involved in extra-curricular activities is a vital part of being an educator. Whether coaching a sports team, attending a residential trip or working on enrichment activities, extra-curricular activities are a fantastic way to get to know your students and colleagues in a more informal setting.

Every school should strive to be a community, and it is only through additional responsibilities that teachers (both newly qualified and established) can contribute to and become part of that community. My school puts a great onus on its sense of community and I have felt part of this from the day I started.

I am lucky to have started my teaching career at a school that suits me so well. Although I have had tough days this year, I have always felt respected by my students and supported by my colleagues. Indeed, I have yet to encounter a problem that could not be solved by solid collaboration and communication between school stakeholders.

This has encouraged me to push myself and, looking back over my NQT year, I feel that I have made a positive contribution to the school community.

As I move into my new role, I hope that I can continue to demonstrate the school values that have allowed me to feel so welcome and comfortable this year.

There will be a number of NQTs in my year group, and I hope to see them enjoy their first year of teaching as much as I have.

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


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