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Mistakes you've made and learnt from as an NQT

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by blueberries, May 27, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    Just wondered what mistakes you've made this year that you will not repeat come september!
    I'll start: In sept I was more worried about them liking me than respecting me! ( I have a few who are not brilliantly behaved as they think they can get away with it). This sept I will be sure to enforce the rules from day 1 and stick to them all the time!

    Feel free to add yours below [​IMG]
  2. anonymousarty

    anonymousarty New commenter

    It's not personal - even when it seems personal! Kids are just being kids, our job is to make them behave in an entirely different manner to the one nature intended.

    Try to see the big picture - I remember being in the room at the end of a particularly rough year 8 lesson thinking I should not be in charge of pencils, let alone kids. The TA gave me a tissue and said "I think you forgot to notice that 22 kids were doing everything you asked them to, you were so focussed on the 6 that were not". Those 6 are still hard work. but I remember to acknowledge (and enjoy working with) the 22 that are not!
    Genius is all around you.
    Music in - music out. Nothing settles the kids and quietens the room like a song to enter to, and a song to leave to. Date, title, learning outcomes and a little task by the end of the song. Lovely! Keep them guessing, too...something from the charts, old school rap, classical, and the llama song!
    You'll never get them all on-side, but you might just teach them all something.
    Don't argue with them! "Everyone else was talking!" "Maybe so, thank you for stopping now, though"
    My PGCE mentor always says "Don't smile til Christmas!" but I fail at that...but start with the same rules you want to finish on.
    Make your classroom safe - zero tolerance on name calling etc. The students will appriciate that.

  3. Not to dish out penalties to individual pupils when most in the class are being disruptive.
  4. Same as blueberry - I intend to be firmer and more consistent in September. I'm in a mixed age class so I'll still have a lot of the same children, but I'm hoping an influx of well-behaved littlies and a no-nonsense approach will give us all chance to have a new improved ethos about behaviour and expectations.
    I also intend not to get into "yes you did / no I didn't" arguments and "well so and so was talking as well" discussions. I like the idea posted above - "Maybe, but thanks for stopping now". I can see this being wheeled out in my classroom, come September.
    The thing I'm looking forward to most, however, is knowing the routines a little more. Harvest? Yes, of course I know what we do at Harvest! Choir practise interrupting every lesson for six week? No problem!
  5. don't teach in a 'challenging' school
  6. ela86

    ela86 New commenter

    I too am guilty of the wanting to be liked and not being firm enough at the beginning!
    I now know that come september I will need to be firmer and have a no-nonsense approach, if HW is late I will chase it to no end.. I work in a College and HW is rarely handed in on time!
    As someone else has already said, I will appreciate being familiar with the routines now and not being new to all these "unwritten" rules!
    Can also identify with the rising to challenge post- When I have thought my pupils were not able to do something they have failed but in other cases they have risen to the challenge and made both myself and themselves soooo proud!
    Can't believe how much I have learned this year!
  7. Whatever you do keep a file of evidence that shows how you've met the
    core standards. That way when your head says you haven't you have proof
    that you have.
    For me, I know I can't succeed somewhere with
    aggressive / defensive (depending on the day) bum licking staff. Sorry
    for the horrible expression but I can't put it another way. Doesn't matter
    if the kids are bouncing off the walls, it's more important to find
    reasonable adults that you can work with.
    Also, see above, if you're working a 70 hour week you might be in the wrong school.

  8. I have learned so much this year including:
    1. The type of school I want to work in and what to look for when looking round schools, questions to ask and what to look for. I have also learned about schools I don't want to work in and I know understand my own reactions to these schools.
    2. Mixing professional/personal. This is nothing I have done but I have been watching other people and have seen massive mistakes or problems when teachers have mixed their personal and professional lives. Granted the cases I am talking about are quite extreme but what I have seen shows how easily it could happen.
    3. Managing and relating to other people. Life is too short to fall out with people over petty things but some people need careful handling, particularly some of the TAs who have been in a school since year dot. This year I have learned to flatter and praise and to tell them I value their experience in order to get the best out of them. Also have realised some people are just interested in themselves and making it all about them and forget they are there for the kids - there will always be people like this and I find staying away from them is usually the best option or if I have to deal with them looking at how what they are suggesting is best for the kids :)
    4. Workers vs Shirkers - there will be those who work kard and those who do enough to get by and those who do next to nothing and leave stuff to everyone else. Unfortunately this is a fact of life and life is too short to get wound up about it. All you can do is work as hard as you feel you need to. That said it is also important to keep awork/life balance. For me this means working at school and trying not to take anything home unless I have to. I never work at home in the evenings. Home is home and work is work.
    5.Some negative people will bring you down - stay away from them.
    6. I am in charge in my classroom, not my partner teacher ;-P
  9. Even though I only started in January and will finish this July this is what I have learnt...
    1. Same as Blueberries I wanted to be liked if I am honest whereas it would have been better to be far stricter than I ever was. Now I am suffering for it! It is so hard to turn around.
    2. There is a school for everyone where you fit in. I like most of the staff I work with but I do not like the majority of the kids, who are lazy and disruptive. Question for anyone but particularly Bobby Carrot as you have eluded to this above - how do you judge this before and on interview.
    3. Have a personal life make the most of friends and family.
    4. Your PGCE year actually gives you very little real experience - I did mine in two soft schools and have no idea how to handle things in a more challenging school.
    I think this is a good thread and don't want to turn it into a moan but I am not bothered if I ever work in teaching again when I finish in July, I have found out a lot of things about myself and personally don't think teaching is for me. I do however have a newfound respect for all teachers out there who have been going for years day in day out, or even in more challenging schools than mine. You do a great job even if you think you don't you DO!!!!!!!
  10. I agree. I had all sorts of success with positive reinforcement and so on, but there are times when little darlings are determined to push one-another into situations. I found "but she kept staring at me" and "yes she was, and you may have noticed she is not the one now needing my direct attention" conversations a bit knackering.

    This thread is going to be invaluable for induction, I like first-hand experiences for this, they feel so much more trustworthy than the standard blurbs.
  11. Mine too is about wanting them to like me. Haven't we all learnt from that. For me it would be to be more "demanding". I have not had direct feedback yet, just chinese whispers up the corridor. I didn't know if I had passed my induction year until I got the certificate from the GTC!!!
  12. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    I'm going in to my 5th year of teaching and, whilst I could easily fill pages with advice, two key tips given to me that have proved invaluable are:
    1) ALWAYS carry a red/green pen so when a pupil asks you to look at their work you can acknowledge it, make a quick comment etc (or tick and target against WILF etc.). It is a godsend when you are wading through book after book and found you have already marked that 4 page story with detailed, quality feedback. If you're reading it anyway, and orally feeding back, you may as well take a moment to jot it down!
    2) When asking a pupil to do something, never say please, always say <u>thank you</u>. This is a small, subtle psychological tick that has good results. Try it!
    There is lots of other stuff but since NQTs are overwhelmed with good advice (there are loads of great pointers on this thread already!), I'll keep it brief!
  13. One thing I've learnt is that all teachers have their own style of working and relating ot the kids. I've heard many times nin my school 'kids are feral and need training' or 'kids areanimals you need to train them like animals. Usually accompanied by the don't smile 'til Christmas advice.
    I have to say I hate this advice. To me if you treat someone like an animal they will behave like an animal so one of the things I try to rememebr at all times is to be respectful and polite with students. You can get attention, mange behaviour etc, without shouting or being aggressive etc
    You can be firm in your ules, but still be approachable and appreciative of the kids as human beings.
    It might be harder in the long run than being the intimidating shouting teacher, but it is mroe rewards to see kids behaving because they are choosing to in response to how you treat them.
    Don't be afraid to be your own person and try your own ideas.
  14. Y

    You are Spot on. As a teacher you need to strike a balance by knowing when to be strict and when to be laid-back. Above all be yourself, by all means take advice from other colleagues but only use the ones that you feel are helpful to you.
  15. heidiyoung86

    heidiyoung86 New commenter

    The first mistake I made was giving back their homework without writing the grades down. Don't expect to see it again! As for the worst mistake I made - I promised them all these strict routines and sanctions that would be followed, but couldn't keep up with it myself, so in the end they knew they could get away with stuff because I'd forget to follow through!
    Be realistic with what you can manage on top of your normal workload, because keeping behaviour scores on the board, counting the pencils you've leant out, sitting detentions, keeping track of who's due what and when, and phoning home all takes up a lot of time even if you are the most organised person in the world!
    Also, I won't be taking the 10 rubbers, pencils and sharpeners I got given at the start of the year into each lesson in a nice little pencil case next year, because by October it was already a nice empty little pencil case!
  16. As a music teacher in secondary, I learnt one thing VERY quickly during my NQT...
    When teaching keyboard and how it is played properly, do not refer to the piano player as a Pianist. Once accents come into play, all they heard me say was "penis" multiple times!!
  17. humour!I tend to shrug things off wth a joke, or just say 'do you want to discuss this at 3.05 because I'm abit busy right now' and then they tend to go quiet!
  18. marniott

    marniott New commenter

    Wow - what a very sweeping statement...can you expand on this a little more??
  19. I do this, it does work!!!!
  20. Very true, but also not to dish out penalties to ALL of them when most are being disruptive. That risks losing the few that aren't being!

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