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Starting NQT year after 2 yr skills test ban!

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by JMoogle, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. JMoogle

    JMoogle New commenter

    Hi all!

    I am finally going to start my NQT year in a primary year 3 class and I am really excited!!! BUT... and it's a big BUT....
    I haven't taugh a whole class since 2 1/2- 3 yrs and I can't help but feel like I might not have it in me anymore. I didn't pass my skills test on the first 3 rounds so had to wait 2 years to take the test again but now that I've passed the test and got the job I'm PANICKING! I know I can take small groups/ interventions as I have been working as a TA for the past 2 years but it's a TOTALLY different thing to be the class teacher and take all responsibility!

    I was just wandering if anyone else feels this way OR feels they have been majorly effected by the 2 year skills test ban???

    I have been told to do 2 1/2 wk supply/cover work with my September class (which I am SOOOO grateful for) starting THIS monday 4th! I am going to go in all positive. (BUT I AM SECRETLY TERRIFIED!)

    Any advice and tips on fist days with new class and how to get over the nerves will be greatly appreciated!

  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    HI JMoogle

    Well done for passing your skills test. Keep that in your mind - that you did not quit, but kept going to reach your goal. Of course you have it in you, but you will have to remember that teaching isn't easy for anyone; not even for those teaching many years. You are just starting out and will make some errors of course, but you learn from those. Someone once told me that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to perfect a skill, so it is more of a journey that you are starting on Monday. Therefore, you have to be mentally prepared and not surprised by things perhaps not going exactly as planned. There are, however, things you can do to prepare for Monday.

    One thing that will help you on Monday and the rest of your career is to be as organised as possible. That means getting to school early enough to set up for your class. Before Monday, think through the very basics of what you were taught on your course: how to get to know a new class, how to set up routines, how to establish your expectations, some basic things you might use that you are familiar with for time fillers, and so forth. I am a great fan of lists, so make a list of what you think you will want to do on Monday - how you see the day developing. Don't leave any stone unturned and have a few back up ideas on your list. If you are covering then the work will have been organised for you, but have one or two things to do in the back of your mind just as backup. Don't over do it though, since you have to make good use of your time.

    Go back to the very basics of good classroom management and try to remember what you have been taught. You will be the leader of your class and you have to know how to deal with disruptions as they arise. You don't know the kids and they don't know you, so if they are like any other class in the entire universe, then they are going to test you to see what you are going to do. Don't get caught out. Have a plan in the back of your mind on how you are going to deal with misbehaviour. Ensure you get the school's policy on behaviour and read through it as soon as you have a chance. Get to know the routines that the students are used to following and use those for the next few weeks until end of term. You can then tweak them if you need to in September when you have had some further time to prepare.

    Try to take one day at a time and use the Swiss cheese technique: instead of eating the whole block of cheese, just nibble at it. Do one thing at a time and enjoy your class.

    I admire you for not quitting when you had to keep taking your skills test. So well done for that. Keep all your accomplishments in the back of your mind and that will give you the confidence you need to take your next step which is now doing the job you trained to do.

    Have realistic expectations and if you make some mistakes don't beat yourself up about it. Remember you are still learning and the school will support you. Saying that, if you know you have a particular weakness in a subject area, try to keep updating your skills in that area.

    Please let us know how your day goes on Monday.

    All the best for an exciting day.
  3. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I think that many new teachers feel the way you do, even when they are going straight from training into their first teaching job. I know I did. Part of it is apprehension about what the class will be like, so having this opportunity to work with your class before the holidays will help a lot with that, as you'll learn quite a bit about them (personalities, abilities) before September rolls round. And the other part is apprehension about whether you can do the job; well, you won't know that until you try! You can help yourself feel prepared by getting some long/medium-term planning done over the summer; it really helps me to have a rough idea of what the year ahead might look like, even though I know things may change depending on the needs of the children.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Oh, and tips for the first few days. A mistake I made as an NQT was not being strict enough early on. When the children are getting to know you, they are likely to be on their best behaviour, and it's easy to let little things slide "because they're usually very well behaved". But actually, they are looking for where your boundaries are and how you will react when they break the rules. So you don't want to teach them that nothing happens! Start off strict and remember that it doesn't matter if they like you, as long as they respect you.
  5. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    Comfortable shoes.

    I'm not being flippant.

    If you're done it before you can do it again.
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Don't forget to eat properly as well as the comfortable shoes. If you don't eat, you won't have enough energy.
  7. JMoogle

    JMoogle New commenter

    OMG thank you so much guys, I feel so much more positive about it all. I still have no idea what I am planning on teaching on the first few days lets see the timetable first! You are sooooo right about being strict I am totally going to do that! I have read their 'main' policies and I know who the people are from their website. I also found out from an e-mail I recieved that there are going to be 5 other teachers/NQTs starting in september at this school so I feel hopeful about finding someone like me in the same boat. BUT i am also worried about current staff and teachers having preference over which NQT they like. I hope I dont stick out like a sore thumb. I genereally get along with people fine but I just hate people who deliberatly try to put you down. (what am I going to do?!!!) Also the headteacher who interviewed me (and who i get along with like a friend) is leaving and I am just gutted that she isn't going to me my mentor. I hope my new mentor is someone who I get along with well. Also, I am unsure what and how much I should tell all the staff about me failing my QTS skills test? I bet people incuding TA's would judge me based on this and I dont know how I feel about them knowing this?

    I will let you guys know what happens on Monday!!

  8. Camokidmommy

    Camokidmommy Established commenter

    Good advice above.

    I am sure all will be fine on Monday, but remember it won't be perfect so don't expect that!

    As for skills tests - why would you tell them? No one needs to know, you have all that you need to do your NQT year that's all that matters.

    Let us know how it goes.

    rachelpaula008 likes this.
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Don't tell anyone about failing the skills test unless it is to encourage someone else to try again and not give up .I think people will see you as an inspiration.
    rachelpaula008 likes this.
  10. poppy150

    poppy150 New commenter

    Hi JMoogle,

    Just to make you aware, you are not alone. I failed my Maths skills test two years ago (by one mark). I was so anxious and depressed during the whole process. Now I am starting my NQT year and feel like I can 'let go' of what happened. I felt like a failure before, but now I feel like I have been given a fresh start.
  11. poppy150

    poppy150 New commenter

    Also, don't tell anyone about your skills test. You passed your PGCE that is all that matters. The skills test does not define you and it is part of your past now. It sounds like failing the skills test really took a blow to your confidence. It took a blow to my confidence as well. However, now that I have passed it I can move on and so can you. :)
    rachelpaula008 likes this.
  12. JMoogle

    JMoogle New commenter

    Hello Lovely People!
    So I had my first day at the school. I didn't teach or do much I just mostly observed and looked at the books and found my new classroom and met the other 5 new NQTs one of which is a TA from the school who has become a teacher and I went roudn and round the building a few hundered time because I was lost. I like my classroom but all that comes later.

    I was gutted to find out that my school use this scheme of work called 'Literacy and Language' from Read Write Inc and I think this is a horrible scheme and I don't like it. I was really looking forward to basing my teaching around texts and story books which I love and thought would be nice to teach the learning objectives through those, but I have been told we are 'not allowed' to do this. It just makes me feel like everything I have learnt in my English Specialism is going to waste.

    I am teaching year 2 (so the year 3 class I will get in September) on this Thursday. I am not looking forward to it. we had a basic handover meeting today and I went through each child on my class on the list i was iven. Its funny how everyone just was labelling children as LA, MA or HA or EAL or SEN. Surely their abilities will change again over the years as they forget most of what they have learnt over the year. half the children in my class are EAL pupils and i have been given 2 1/2 SEN pupils- yes its . I haven't signed my contract and sent it yet. I AM HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT BECOMING AND NQT!

    not only this but I have to teach Spanish a language I know nothing about. the children probably know more of it than me! I also have to teach PE and Music as there is no set/ designated teacher for these subjects. If I take this job it feels like throwing myself into a volcano.

    The question stands: SHOULD i THROW MYSELF INTO THE VOLCANO?

    I am leaving myself until I teach on Thursday/ Friday to decide on my final decision.


    SHOULD JMoogle STAY or LEAVE her NQT post?
  13. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I think you're overreacting a bit here - you say you don't like the scheme of work, but in your first few years teaching it's best to follow a scheme rather than try to do everything yourself; if a child is listed as 'EAL' it just means their parents have ticked a box saying they speak another/other languages, they could be perfectly fluent in English but still be considered EAL, or speak no English at all; Spanish is a problem if you don't know it, but surely your school can provide some training, and they're only going to be in Y3 so it'll only be simple things like hello and goodbye, just do flashcard games with them to learn vocab or something like that - you can learn with them too.

    You've come so far, don't just give up after one day in the school because things aren't perfect - you'd have a hard job finding a school that is perfect! Start in September with a positive attitude, get support from the other NQTs, make sure your mentor helps you, and see how you feel by Christmas.

    By the way, you may not have signed a paper contract, but you verbally accepted the job, so you have a verbal contract. If you break the verbal contract the school could take legal action. Also, it's unprofessional to walk out now, and it would give the school a problem having to recruit for September.
    pepper5 likes this.
  14. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    As others have said, try to enjoy it as much as possible. I can't comment too much, but I would say not to worry about teaching things you don't like; we have all had to do this at times. The last school I had a permanent post in had a head of department (English) who loved Dickens and we had to teach three of his novels. I HATE Dickens, but you need to go with the scheme of work. Use any lessons on the system if necessary, but make sure you start developing your own lessons as well; it's very difficult ti teach another person's lesson.
    rachelpaula008 likes this.
  15. rachelpaula008

    rachelpaula008 Star commenter

    I agree. It's a bit like a driving test - you have a bit of a blip, fail and then retake the stupid thing. You've got the pass and, more importantly your PGCE, which is a major achievement.

    With regards to what you've been directed to teach, that's it, it's a directive and you have to put up with it. Easy to say, but try and see it as an ongoing challenge and seek support from those who have experience in the subjects.

    Wishing you lots of luck and well done on your success : )
  16. JMoogle

    JMoogle New commenter

    SO! Thursday IS over AND my decision about STAYING or GOING has slowly turned to a more definate yes but its still not 100% more like 80%. My Year 3 class in September will be a mix of 12 and 12 children from the two current year 2 classes. I taught one of the year 2 classes today and they did make me raise my voice and push me good. I almost lot them but managed to be okay just. I do love the kids they are a lovely bunch but some of them are just gosh really difficult even after trying everything with them. but I am not one to give up! I will be covering a lot in year 2 and other classes over the next week. I really feel good becing back at the front of the class. I am slowly building my confidence and skills again. I remember how much I enjoy being in charge and being at the front of the class. I cant help it but I alreayd have favourites.

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