Blog: A Day In The Life Of An NQT – Jessica Stalmach

I’m just about to complete my first term as an NQT at Sale High School and I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone! Sale High School is a Strategic Partner in the Alliance for Learning (AGGS) Teaching School.

This time last year I was a trainee here at Sale High School as I was enrolled with the Greater Manchester Bright Futures SCITT at Alliance for Learning/Altrincham Grammar School for Girls; I feel so lucky to have trained here and then to start my NQT year in the same school. I would definitely recommend the SCITT as a training provider as I feel that I benefitted greatly from being in school from day 1 rather than starting a couple of weeks into the first half term, like many university courses. The training sessions at AGGS were also excellent and I feel that I was fully prepared to start my NQT year once my training was complete; I am now attending NQT training sessions to complement the fantastic CPD that is offered at Sale High School. I have particularly found the pivotal training on behaviour useful and I have used many of the techniques to strengthen my own behaviour management. I would definitely advise any trainees or upcoming NQTs to attend as many training sessions as possible to work towards outstanding teaching and learning.

Now I have almost finished my first term I can appreciate how much more work I have to do as an NQT compared to my training year! Don’t let this deter any potential or current trainees as I am enjoying it so much more. I have a lot more responsibility as the classes are now mine and I don’t have someone watching me every lesson so there isn’t as much pressure and I feel able to try out new ideas. I am also the only NQT in our school to have a year 11 class which is a big responsibility but one that I feel has given me an advantage for next year. I would suggest that NQTs should not feel nervous about taking on such responsibilities. After just one term I have formed strong relationships with my examination group and I look forward to seeing their results.

I have a form group too which I have really enjoyed as it has enabled me to develop positive relationships with my form group and to get to know them as individuals – I’ve even got a few Christmas cards! Also by having your own classes relationships form more quickly which supports behaviour management. I still find some pupils challenging from time to time but I am able to deal with more effectively. My advice to NQTs or trainees would be to ensure that you know the behaviour policy for your school and to be consistent, pupils like to know where they stand. I’m lucky enough to work in the school where I trained so I was familiar with the policies and I now teach some of the pupils that I taught as a trainee.

At Sale High School there are five periods in the day, it can be tiring when you have a full day- it was a big shock at first to go from 2-3 lessons to a full day with break duty! You do get used to it though and it’s really important to be well organised, I’ve found writing to-do lists and checking off tasks helps me to prioritise – don’t try to get everything done in one day you will go crazy! Also you need to make sure you give yourself a break, at first I was planning all the time, marking books every night and all weekend but now I’ve learned to be more strategic. Don’t overanalyse and find ways to use time wisely. Advice from other more experienced members of staff has really helped me. I have learned to make the most of peer and self-assessment. I would also recommend that NQTs or trainees get involved with extra-curricular activities. I run an Ecology club on a Monday lunch time with the RSPB which has been so much fun. I have got to know some of the new year 7 students really well and it has also helped them to make friends.

I hope this is useful advice and good luck to all potential trainees and NQTs reading this!

Happy New Year to all teachers everywhere!

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