Feel as if you’re finding it harder than expected as an NQT or RQT? Most teachers would say they’ve been there. Caroline Locke writes how she went from a struggling NQT to commanding her classrooms.
Let me introduce myself first. I’m Ms Locke. The one you call when that Year 10 just will not stop throwing things. The one who talks you through that new pedagogy and shows you her techniques. The one who’s lead us through mixed attainment teaching and had her Year 8s voluntarily go away and come back with a knowledge of matrices. That Ms Locke.
I’m not saying that to show off, I just want to give you context for what I say next.
A friend of mine was teaching her Year 13 class and mentioned me to them. They groaned. My friend asked them why. They told her that they had hated having me as a maths teacher. My friend was stunned, given everything I am now, and came to ask me about it. I said, yes, they hated me and were right to. I had taught them in my NQT year when they were in Year 8 and I was not good.
I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know how to manage a class or how to talk to students or even really who I was as a teacher. This lead to lessons where no-one learned, or where students ran the lesson not me.
I learned. The hard way. It took two or three years for me to really hit my stride. It’s true for a lot of NQTs, even the really good ones.
That said, there are some tips I can give you to get up and running sooner than that.
Teaching is a hard job with a steep learning curve. But it’s also the most glorious job in the world. Remember to reach out to people and talk things through. We are all compassionate and caring people, or we wouldn’t be in teaching. And don’t forget that the students are people too, with their own things going on.
Best of luck to you, whoever you are reading this!