I am an NQT. An angry, sighing one, but an NQT. It's one of those admissions like being eighteen and admitting you're a virgin. There's nothing wrong with it, it just seems to need qualifying, and despite any realistic qualification (I wasn't popular at school/I had appauling acne/I was a teenage chess prodigy) people will still look at you as if you have done something incredibly wrong.
It was with great trepidation that I stepped back into the hallowed halls of learning that eventually fed me, with abject prejudice, into the world of being a real teacher. I had returned, suited and booted in a way I never expected, and was ready to talk. I tried to give them a day in the life of a typical NQT and managed, instead, to talk for about an hour before reaching 9 o'clock in the morning. I cannot, due to both short term memory erosion (factor: Weekend of the sort of alcohol abuse I tell my students will kill them.) and my own lack of preparation, actually remember quite what I said, but I do remember one student actually in tears with laughter at one of my true stories of my own ineptitude. (I actually have a new one to add to this blog, but later.)
I am not sure whether that is a good sign.
The tutor who had led me along the treacherous path of PGCEism asked me to deliver a set of five things I wished I'd been told at the start of my NQT year. I of course totally ignored this and got on with a rambling diatribe. I decided, however, that I would atone for this enforced ignorance by coming up with a list and publicising it here.
5 Ways To Survive NQT
1: Find the teacher who has been teaching at the school the longest and talk to them about every single one of your students. The chances are that they've told some of their parents and will tell you more than any SIMS page.
2: Support your students outside of lessons. Even if you hate sport, get outside in the pissing rain and watch them be crap at whichever sport their parents are pressing them, mercilessly and vicariously, into. The next day, talk with authority about how well they played.
3: Find something that they're interested in. I hate football. I can't even bare to call it a sport, but that doesn't stop me picking up the Metro every morning, turning to the back pages and reading through some godforsaken illiterate article about some godforsaken illiterate footballer's affair with a girl more silicon and fake tan than human. Why do I do this? Because half my students probably wouldn't talk to me if I had no knowledge of sports trivia. That sporting chaff gives me an in.
4: The most important people in the school goes in this order (most important first) Students, Resources and Reprographics, Canteen Staff, Reception, Cleaners, LSAs, Teachers, Leadership. AND NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND
5: Never shout at an individual child. Just stop, Have a sip of tea, and then deal with the situation calmly and with authority.
(Honourable mention; Always have a cup of tea to hand.)