Saturday, 22 September 2012

First few weeks of my NQT year...

Well it's fair to say, due to the lack of blogging that I've been able to do, that it's been an exhausting start to my NQT year.

I thought that due to doing a fair amount of work over the last few weeks of the Summer holidays that I was all prepared for the new school year, but this was somewhat naive of me.

As I've started at a new school this year I've obviously had a lot of new routines to get used to, surroundings to familiarise myself with and people/names to learn. Add to all this an increase in my timetable and the responsibility of being a form tutor it's fair to say that I've been somewhat overwhelmed by the start of the year.

That doesn't, however, mean that I haven't enjoyed the start of the year, as I'm thriving in my new atmosphere and everything that my NQT year is bringing with it...

I've now taught all of my new classes for 2 weeks (and a bit), my form group are well and truly up and running with their class blog and I'm getting used to the layout of the school and where everything is.

I feel I have my work cut out this year with some of the classes I have and I am still very much in the process of getting to grips with my lower-ability sets: how best to support them in lessons, manage behaviour and get the best out of them. There have been a few testing periods with them, and some fantastic times where I've seen them engage in their learning. I've already booked myself on a free CPD session (run by the local partnership group) on how best to work with my LSAs and hope that this session will give me some effective and useful ideas that I can embed in my lessons. As I have 4 lower-ability sets I have an LSA in each of these class' lessons and so this is pivotal going forward and will form a large part of my development plan this year.

My mentor is already fantastic and we've met each week so far to discuss general NQT things. I've been informally observed by her and my first 'formal' observation with her is this week. I already feel like I have the support there when needed and know that the year will go well because of this. I am lucky in the fact that my department are also extremely supportive and everyone is willing to help out at the drop of a hat and have been great. There have been a number of e-mails just randomly sent round sharing resources and tweets etc! I've started to observe one of the department's A-Level classes when not teaching in order to develop this and (again, luckily) have a desk in an office where there are 2 NQTs (including myself), 1 GTP and our respective 3 mentors. The great thing about this is that we are able to share ideas/resources/thoughts etc when not in our classrooms teaching. There's also another Maths office where the rest of our department reside that I can sit in too.

I'm sharing a tutor group with another member of staff, which, considering I'm new to the school, has been a god's send as they clearly know where everything is in the school, what the expectations are in tutor time and all those 'little' details that you need to know. I feel we're working well together with the group and it has helped to have another person there to check I haven't forgotten to tell the group anything or missed any important information. We have a form tutor parent's evening this coming week and so it'll be a good chance to meet my tutees' parents.

In terms of lesson planning and marking, this has very much taken up the most part of my time, and I expected nothing less. However, due to the increase in my timetable this year as part of moving from a GT to an NQT, I'm finding that there is so much that I still want to be doing but just don't have time to like I did last year. This is meaning that I'm having to find more efficient ways of going about my weekly routines in order to keep the consistency of the quality of my lessons. I'm already aware that my Week 1 timetable is a bit less hectic than week 2 and so I'm trying to plan the marking of students' books around this etc.

I feel overall I have settled well into my new role and school, but there is still so much that I need to do, need to get to grips with and need improving moving forward into the school year. I know these things will eventually get there and each day I feel I'm getting a better grasp on things.

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