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First day as an NQT - Total disaster

Discussion in 'Primary' started by forrvw, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. I am totally dismayed with how my first day went. I just do not know who to turn to. My school colleagues just keep telling me that I will 'figure it' and not to worry. Well I am extremely worried and I am not figuring it. My mentor is a year six teacher and I am year two (first job!). My head is not really interested in how I am doing and of no help with guidance. I am at breaking point.

    Behaviour: I am not sure on how to tackle this problem. I have guidance on bad behaviour, but am not sure on how to handle everyday problems. For example how do you control a class who do not appear to listen. I have to keep repeating myself. Is this normal for this age group. Should I be punishing them. How should I re-enforce what is expected.

    Lower ability children: I have one in particular that is at Foundation/Reception level and currently is rewarded for completing tasks/activities with being able to use the computer. I would prefer another form of reward, but not sure what form this should take.

    It has been suggested that I should 'push' certain groups. This is this done by giving them higher levels of work (e.g. year 3)?

    I feel that I am just not capable of doing this job and my confidence is at zero level. I feel that my school is not supporting me. I have asked many, many questions, but feel that I am on my own and just floundering. I know that this is day one, but I am not sure if I will survive to day three.

    Is there anyone out there who has some advice/reassurance to offer.
  2. lillipad

    lillipad New commenter

    I think first of all you need to speak to your mentor, urgently and let them know you're overwhelmed. Sometimes we do miss these things if people don't tell us how they feel!

    Behaviour - children not listening to you? I wait for silence. And I tell them i'm waiting, if it still doesn't come I count down from 10. If it STILL doesn't come, I start counting up, every time I reach 10, they lose a minute of their playtimes- the entire class. They quickly learn! Always always follow through on what you say - if they have to lose golden time, then make sure you take it. This part of the year is crucial for setting up attitudes for the rest of the year. It is normal that they won't listen - if you let them not listen! I expect that my class will listen, and anyone who chooses to be rude and chatter loses their golden time.

    If you don't like the lower ability child being rewarded with computer time- think of something else - stickers, time to play football, board game time, lego, what ever you want!

    You may need to give some of your higher children higher levels of work - look at the APP criteria to see what your potential level 3 children need to do and then teach to that, but make sure they are secure with all the basic stuff first.

    But please tell your mentor how you feel.
  3. bigbev

    bigbev New commenter

    No 1 - Breath!
    No 2 - you can do this, it is day 1 only!
    No 3 - I am sure if you went to the staffroom you'll hear lots of experienced staff saying things like 'I forget how fussy they are at the start of the year etc - start of term is always tough however long you have been teaching, every class has such different dynamics as every child is different.
    No 4 - It takes any new class time to settle into their new teachers expectations.
    No 6 - Glass of wine tonight....even watch new series of Dallas on Channel 5 and start a fresh in the morning......YOU CAN DO THIS!
  4. Some behaviour tips from working in a SEN school - hope they are of some use...
    What is the school policy for behaviour? If it isn't very specific you could use some form of traffic light system (green for positive behaviour, blue for neutral, yellow and red for being told off). You could then have a reward for the people in the green by the end of the day or week (e.g. 5 min of golden time) and tell the children that they can move up or down the system.
    Have you gone over the school rules with them or made classroom rules?
    Don't attempt to talk over them - you will ruin your voice. Maybe count to 5, but don't go 1,2,3,4, 4.... 4 1/2.... 4 3/4. Instead count 1, 2, "I am talking - nobody else should be", 3, 4, "I am talking - nobody else could be. If they continue they will lose breaktime/be put in the yellow etc", 5, 6. If any is taking at or past 6 then follow up immediately.
    BUT I'd say the MOST important thing to do is selective praise. Say you have a child and the child next to him is listening - praise the child next to him.
    How disruptive is the LA child? Is the reward at the end of each activity, each lesson or end of the day?
  5. Vanadesse

    Vanadesse New commenter

    I agree, speak to your mentor. It's their job to help you and it's in the schools best interest to help you.

    As much as it's not what you want to hear, you WILL figure it out. It's your first day (mine too!) and you're not expected to know all the answers, that's ok.

    Behaviour wise, it's all bout consistency, rewards and sanctions. Implement a clear system for when you want to get their attention, with my Year 2s I clap a pattern and they put everything down, repeat the clap and look at me with their arms folded. If the don't do it first time, I tell them I'll give them another chance and do it again. The first person to repeat the clap and stop gets a sticker on their sticker chart. Already by the end of the first day today they're getting the hang of it, they know that I won't talk over them and I won't talk until they've all stopped, i've made that very clear. You need to make your expectations of them very clear and you need to stick to them. Also, we came up with our own set of class rules and they've suggested things like stopping and listening, not talking when I am, not interrupting etc. Give children ownership, it helps.

    You say you have to keep repeating yourself, what do you mean? Repeating instructions? Why are you having to repeat them, think about it, are they not listening or are they not understanding? If it's the first, don't give them until they are. Don't talk until they've all stopped talking and stopped what they're doing. Maybe think about how you say things, maybe that might help too.

    With the LA child, set up a sticker chart and when he/she gets x number of stickers, they get to swap that a reward of your choice. It could even just be the reward of the sticker itself.

    In relation to your HA children, it's not necessarily giving them year 3 work that you challenge them, though it can be. It could be making what you're doing more difficult. Putting things into problems in Maths for example. Have a look at Pitch and Expectations for help with leveled questions. Remember that some of the Year 3 work they couldn't possibly do because they haven't learnt the processes etc. of doing them.

    Just remember that you've had only one day at school. You really can't make your mind up about anything just yet. You've not built a routine, the children are overly excited as it's a new year, new class and new teacher. I've got Year 2 and had them (different school) for most of my PGCE too, they're an excitable year, just stick with it.
  6. AW . . .some great advice above. Stick with it. Tomorrow is a new day. But DO DO DO go and have a chat with your mentor. I'm year 6 and if she's like me she will have been madly running around doing the things that year 6 teachers do and (wrongly) may not have empathised with your new scary role. Go and show your face. ORRRRR she may have left you alone on purpose - didn't want to tread on toes. Go on, go and tell her that you're feeling a little overwhelmed. You will be able to do it, but a friendly shoulder is a definite must during your NQT year. Order some stickers - do it now. And defo don't give instructions until you have them ALL looking at you. I used to use, " 1 2 3 look at meeeee." in the infants; worked a treat. "OOO gosh . . you looked straight away Joel. Have a sticker. What a super stop Claire. Have a sticker." They'll get the hang of it. Year 2s want to please on the whole, and those that don't , use the big guns. Take away play times, or whatever it is that floats their boat. Good luck. And come back on tomorrow and tell us how it's gone. :)
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Nopes, of course you aren't. You have a whole year of time to figure it out and you will. But goodness me, don't expect to have it cracked on day 1.
    And? I teach year 1 and have two NQTs to mentor, one in reception (I've never taught and am clueless) and one in year 5. Doesn't mean I don't understand that they are overwhelmed right now and need lots of support.
    They won't be. They have a whole school to run, that's why you have a mentor. Keep the HT for the really big stuff.
    No you aren't, you have just got in a flap and a faff and everything seems worse than it is.
    Yes it is totally normal for children on day 1. They have a million more important things to think about and discuss than what their new teacher wants to tell them. As you get to know the names of the tricky ones, you'll be able to use their name in a stern voice to get their attention when they aren't listening. Keep repeating that 'We listen properly in this class' in a firm voice with a glare to specific children. you will have to repeat this about a million times a day for a week, then you'll be ok and they'll have learned. Remember that at the moment they don't know your expectations and they don't know your rules. They don't have a clue what they are doing wrong, they need you to tell them specifically and clearly and be patient while they learn.
    If this was my class he wouldn't get any more rewards for completing tasks than any other child. He would get appropriate work to do, but no more reward.
    Someone else already gave you good advice about looking at level 3. But for goodness sake don't worry about that this week. I spent all morning getting my year 1s to write their name legibly 4 times to make labels for their books. Seriously, this took all morning! (Yes I am new to year 1 and so am somewhat shocked, but pushing my more able wasn't going to happen today or any time this week.)
    You are more than capable. There are a zillion would be NQTs without jobs. No way would you have got one if you were hopeless. Don't compare what your class did today with what you had on teaching practice. Wait until October and then decide if you are capable or not. Bet you anything it all comes together and you are loving every minute.
    You are all on your own. That is the biggest difference between trainees and NQTs, the feeling of being all alone and soooo responsible. Lots of experienced teachers in new roles don't have a clue at this point in the year. I remember crying this time last year because I didn't have the faintest idea and thought moving to year 2 was the stupidest career move ever. (This was the first day of my 15th year of teaching, but I'd only have year 5 and upwards before.)

    You will be amazing, and until you know everything, there is TES!
  8. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    Don't panic!
    It is very normal to feel like this. Teaching practice never quite prepares you!
    Some key things to remember:
    1. Never, ever talk over a class who is talking. They'll think it's the norm. Wait for silence.
    2. Lots of positive rewards for children doing as they're asked. I'm in Year 2 and have LOADS of stickers and some little cards I can give out and gold stars... Always praise!
    3. Be forgiving of yourself! You've only just started and you'll learn lots really quickly - promise!
    4. Have a lovely lunch break in the staffroom and chat to people. You'll find more than a couple who are finding the children bouncy after the holiday! You'll be recharged for the afternoon, too.
    5. Buy some wind chimes and use them whenever you want quiet. Save your voice for teaching!
    If you would like some more specific guidance, feel free to message me. I have definitely been there! [​IMG]
    Good luck!
  9. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    And this will be me tomorrow... First year in KS1, having been in Year 6 last year! I can't even think about a timetable for the day and I have to have done it by the time they come in in the morning!
    It's definitely a new school/new year group/new academic year thing.

  10. Couldn't agree more with Minnieminx. You will be amazing. This is your first day of your first job, so don't put too much pressure on yourself. I was always told the day you think you know everything is the day you should leave teaching!
    First, get YOU back on track. Have a break tonight. Watch TV. Have a (small!) glass of wine, read over any letters you've kept from previous mentors on placement or parents... they'll hopefully give you a boost and remind you why you're here and just how good you are.
    Then go back in tomorrow and show them who's boss! Spend an whole morning reinforcing behaviour if you have to. Show them what you expect. Agree together a reward and sanction system; if the kids have had an input in it, they are more likely to follow it. Spend as long as it takes on the behaviour until you are happy. Be that dripping tap! Then you will be able to concentrate on getting their progress where it needs to be.
    Take each lesson and day at a time. Small steps. You <u>can</u> do this.
  11. cally4

    cally4 New commenter

    Bless your heart!!! Just survived my NQT year so now Im an old hand hahahaha. I had year 2 for my GTP year. I used to have a class V.I.P this person was allowed to stand at the front and sit on a special chair, lots of other privileges and each day a new one was chosen. Monitors for various things as well. Y2 love jobs and love to judge each other! The first 3 days of term were spent clarifying what was expected, pshe stuff and just a little formal stuff. My mentor was a very experienced Y2 teacher in a challenging school with some tough behaviour and she said the first few days were vital. So step back and stop worrying about maths and lit for the minute and just get your head around classroom management. I would count back from 5 but I made it clear I wanted quiet at 2!! I would lavishly praise children who did as i wanted and this age group want to please, we didnt go mad on stickers either, immediate verbal praise worked. We had a secret pupil, everyday we looked for a pupil who followed the class rules, at the end of the day they got a big sticker and their name in the golden box, and the end of the week one name was chosen from the box to look in the golden box (full of tat, kids love tat, stickers, stuff from toysrus party bags fillers, etc) . If a child misbehaved that i had secretly chosen, no ticket for the box and i never revealed the name, just looked very disappointed, children would speculate, it must be X they did whatever, but it got them thinking about behaviour. The school had pictures of weather and pegs with names on and children could move their names up, those who ended up on the rainbox earned a sticker and a wow certificate, those who commited the worst sin were sent to the head! The physical act of "go move your peg" would sometimes be enough to calm the most irritating child!
    we devised a class charter and talked about rules and they came up with 5 class rules that were important to ensure learning. I printed and laminated this. Lining up boy/girl can be introduced! Seating positions boy /girl etc this keeps the troublemakes apart!!! I had photos for carpet places, children had talk partners and this helped too, I could engineer to a point who sat where! I did try and change places regularly to ensure children had varied partners. It took a while and was a faff but worth it!!
    I had some real high flyers and some very low children in the class and grouped them according to ability. Sometimes I would have mixed ability gps for peer support. Get this week out the way first. Diaries about the holidays, some maths games, lots of PSHE, pe, worry about next week at the weekend! and come back to TES xxx
  12. Cinders2000

    Cinders2000 New commenter

    Deep breath! You could try the marble jar where you fill a container with marbles for good behaviour . When the container is full they have 'earned' a treat which you can negotiate with them. Tell them what they can get a marble for, e.g. Being quiet on a countdown of 5, lining up quietly or whatever. Give lots and lots of praise, stickers etc, remember they will be feeling insecure as well. Don't expect miracles though, they've had 6 weeks off and need time to readjust to things again (including having a new teacher!). Good luck, oh and don't forget - enjoy your class, have fun, this is a great job!
  13. I'm in my fifth year of teaching and started at a new school. Some ups, some downs, throughout the first day. I honestly had the thought at some point "Bloody hell, what IS going on here? I've NEVER had a class be so difficult on their first day back." However, my old classes never all knew each other in the past and were still a bit wary at this point in the year,...my current one has been together since starting Reception and they had so much to tell each other after six weeks apart. [​IMG] Take a step back, look from the distance and don't get wound up by them not managing to meet your expectations just yet.
    I'm not entirely happy with how today went, but I know I'll figure it out and I'm usually quite good at sorting out my classes. This one will just take a little longer, I fear.
    So, even after several years, people can still feel a bit rubbish...as an NQT, it's absolutely ok not to get everything right from the start.
    As the others have said, speak to your mentor and get support into place. You need to have back-up. This is not a job that can be done in isolation.
  14. I was an NQT last year, and I teach year 2, if you saw me on day 1, you'd think I would never had passed. I nearly missed assembly, they were beyond loud and I forgot what time they went home. It was horrible! My school were great but I remember going home very very depressed!
    Anyway I'm through the other side and laugh about it now (along with many horrific mistakes) , however NQT is still a BIG learning year.
    Behaviour: you need class rules.A big word for me is expectation, in year 2 expect high levels of behaviour.One simple thing I did was Class Dojo, google it. They love it! It's easy and if they get more than 12 positives a week they take home a weekly report. If they dont do what you asked verbally warn, some formal ish warning (name on board or cloud) then punishment. If you tell them twice and they still do/don't do it then break time, tell the parents etc. is a must.
    I dont know if someone else has said this but personally forget about the other problems at the mo. I wrote out what went wrong priotisied then action planned the first 2. Not in massive detail all on half an A4 page, this way you can see these big issues are really easily solved with small steps.
    Last little thing, get some form of shaker or class clapping pattern to shut them up, then stop them everytime they do something wrong.

    Honestly it will be fine!
  15. Don't worry too much. The best teachers are the ones who are always striving to improve and are never totally satisfied with their performance. First days are always hard.... When I got my first job the school asked me to take a class for an hour to help me get a feel of the place. Within 20mins I had fainted in front of a year 6 class.....a curse of low blood sugar. What a way to make an impression!
  16. cally4

    cally4 New commenter

    forgot to say use to a tambourine! saves your voice!! worked a treat! noisy little blighters. NQT at my school today was in tears at lunchtime cos her class were little xxxxxx. Honestly, dont stress! I also missed assembly a couple of times as well!! Ignore anyone who says, "they were never this naughty/loud/blah for me" they are lying toads! Find your mentor and dont worry about crying! your nqt/ppa TIME is heaven sent! Use it to visit another school if you can, it might help!
  17. We started using this last year. The only negative is that it can hog the whiteboard, although you can minimise it.
  18. I did that once, got engrossed in something and the time flew.
    I was just annoyed that no one came to remind us. It wasn't as though we frequently did it.
  19. Some fantastic advice here. To the OP - I hope the rest of your week improved. Please let us know how you got on.
  20. Yr 2 are likely to need to be taught how to listen.
    get their attention using a signal - e.g. a small bell, hand in the air - they can copy to show they have seen
    Tell them to put down pencils etc
    Teach/remind them about sitting properly - Show me Good sitting
    Teach them to look at you - Show me Good looking
    Teach them about turn taking. (My turn - point to self, your turn - point to pupil)
    Since reward is more effective than punishment make sure you recognise/thank those who are doing as you have asked, say Good Looking, Good sitting, Thank you to reinforce the behaviour you want to see.
    The vast majority of yr 2 love to please
    Talk to your SENCO and see if there is an SaLT in the system who can help you devise a good listening development programme for those pupils still struggling to do as asked
    Look at the classes APS points/attainment levels to devise appropriate next steps - some will need the sort of work usually done by EYFS or older groups because that for them is the appropriate next step. To be frank you need to "push" all your pupils i.e have high expectations that they can and will make progress if you are clear about the next step they individually need to make progress and plan their learning experience accordingly.
    Given that this is your first day of term in your new job I wonder why you are in such a state of shock - did you not choose to apply to this school and accept the job? Did you not visit beforehand? Did you not ask for information about the class levels and curriculum beforehand? You chose to take charge so why the shock?
    Nobody ever said teaching was easy. It requires dedication and persistence. It requires an ability to actively anticipate and problem solve. Once you dive in it is really good fun and a very rewarding way to earn a living. We all had to start somewhere and most of us kept going because we still love the job.

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