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Work-life balance for future NQT

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by tobyr2385, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. Hi all,
    I'm guessing this is the right place to post this?
    I'm an NQT. I don't have to plan my lessons on the same scale as I did during my PGCE year, nor write assignments that bored me.
    In theory I have more time to myself, so my question is how do I achieve a work-life balance in my NQT year?
    Should I plan a non-school related activity for a few nights a week?
    I'm moving to a new town, where I know nobody but within driving distance of people I do know, so making new friends both colleagues and "civilians" (I'll term them) is a priority for me.
    I spent the majority of my PGCE year talking to a handful of people - mostly about school - and other people I met were usually students, some nearly a decade younger than myself!
    Some teaching friends have said that the NQT year is easier, others have said it's more difficult. Am I in for a shock?
  2. I know where you're coming from.On my PGCE year, I became a recluse who only spoke to three people socially - all pgce students who understood the pressure i was under. My school was nightmarish in terms of the pressure - detailed lesson plans, being told to re-do resources so that i was "excited about teaching the lesson!!" when it fact, even with the re-jigged ones, i'd rather have watched paint dry for 50 minutes..
    my placement kept saying " if you can survive here..."
    yada yada. I've had that **** from each school i've worked in, but there is a degree of truth in it. Our placements varied so widely - me, being harrassed for resources at 11.30pm on sunday, to meet a 'week in advance' lesson planning deadline, to my friend never planning anything on paper, nobody checking and being told she could go home early. It depends on where you are. The only person who can answer this question is somebody who just did their NQT at your school.

    good luck.. we'll need it!

  3. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    That depends - I found my school expected more detailed lesson plans than I'd been expected to produce during my PGCE. Also remember that, even if your plans don't have to be as detailed, you will be doing more planning in terms of the number of lessons each week (ie. all of them).
    All placements are different and all schools are different. If you had a tough placement and are doing your NQT in a school you find easier, then obviously it won't be a shock, but if it's the other way round then yes, you will find that you work harder as an NQT.
    I spent my NQT year failing to achieve anything resembling a work-life balance, so I can't be much help I'm afraid!
  4. Congratulations on your NQT post! You should have a subject mentor (usually your HoD) and an NQT mentor (usually a member of SMT/SLT) and you are entitled to a weekly meeting with each. Make sure that these meetings take place - don't be fobbed off because people are busy! Your NQT mentor especially has a pastoral responsibility for you; talk things through when you feel particularly pressured and try to pre-empt looming pressures by good planning. There will be times when it will be impossible to achieve a 'work/life balance' - that's just how it goes with teaching. But staff support for each other goes a long way to get you through pressured times.

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