20 May

I was an NQT after a year in the classroom, because I trained with Teach First. So how do I know those PGCE students, heading into their NQT year are ready? Because you really are, whether you believe it or not.

You have your training: Believe me, as an ex-Soldier, I know that “the training takes over”. After my Summer Institute I was both chomping at the bit and anxious as hell about standing in front of a group of Y10s for my first lesson as a Trainee Teacher. I’d had five weeks of intensive training, two weeks in a school, and was patted on the back with a cheery “Fake it ’til you make it”. I really don’t feel this is said to the detriment of my route into teaching, because my ITT provider was Birmingham City University – We had the same initial training you get on a PGCE before being asked to deliver a lesson. Routes are different, but the destination is the same – we are all one community, remember that.

You are qualified: Let’s be honest here. If you have gained QTS, your school thinks you are ready to teach, and your training provider thinks you are ready to teach. I’ll put money on it that your colleagues and peers also think you are ready to take on your own class. The only person that doubts this is you.

Support networks: Remember, in your NQT year you are mentored for the entire year. You have someone dedicated to supporting you in this first year in the classroom. Use them!  You also have your peers from your ITT course, and those you trained alongside in placement schools. I know who to go to for Chemistry and Physics support from my cohort, and personal learning network – they come to me for Biology. We all have specialisms to share.

Social Networks: If you are reading this you have also probably made the first step to eduTwitter. This has really been a source of support, resources and lesson ideas for me since I started this career. I have lost count of the free resources sent to me, including entire schemes of work and curricular when I’ve been working on projects. Just be sure to reciprocate and pay it forward to the NQTs you come across in years to come.

Don’t forget you local networks too. In the East Midlands I organise @BrewEdDerby, @BrewEdMansfield and @BrewEdNottingham with @stevecox17. Why do we do this? It is simple – we get free CPD from some amazing teachers and school leaders across our region. If we have questions on anything, we have someone we can turn to outside of our school for advice. We have both made great friends along the way too.

Originally posted in the "pintsizedpedagogy" wordpress blog - May 2020 

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