Remember when you were an NQT? You had secured your job, had visited school several times to plan out your first classroom, to begin the never-ending laminating marathon and to try to learn the rules (both school and staffroom) before September 1st.
Everything seemed so new and fresh, you were enthusiastic and eager to do everything and to do it well. You literally couldn’t do enough work. You’d be first in and last out and you’d take a pile of books home with you that would put a serious dent in your car boot.
Any iniatives that were floated around the school, you’d run with; a display would be up about it before the end of the school day.
Ah, those were the days.
We have two NQTs with us this year, both keen and eager – it’s great. I joked with a colleague how enthusiastic they were; how excellent their displays were and how we’d soon beat that enthusiasm out of them with a sharp demoralising stick.
It was a joke, of course. But how quickly does cynicism or exhaustion kick in? With Gove and his wondrous fairy tale ideas being dreamt up, it is hard not to sigh with exasperation and to plod on. Just keep plodding on!
There are teachers in most schools who have seen it all and done it all. They just want a few more years of easy plodding until they can finish. Not all teachers are like that, thankfully. There are those who have been at the chalkface for ten, twenty or more years who are still enthusiastic, still brimming with ideas and still energetic towards the job. I consider myself one of those people (not everyday, mind!) and am priveleged to work with a lot of staff who are equally committed and still have that passion for the job.
If you are fortunate to have an NQT this year, guide them, nurture them, help them and learn from them. They have just completed their training and will have a different perspective to ours. Use their energy and enthusiasm to spur you on, to remind you of ‘ah, those were the days’.
I am looking forward to this year very much, I can see exciting things happening, especially being shaped and driven from our two newbies. We need to be there as mentors and friends.
NQTs – you will want to do everything and you will want to do it perfectly, that is only natural. You have to be careful to not be disheartened though when the experienced staff members leave before you with no books and they appear more chilled than you. That’s experience.
You will become more experienced as the days, weeks, months and years zip by but keep hold of that enthusiasm. Remember why you wanted the job in the first instance. It may seem cliched or twee but we are here for the children. If we can’t be enthused about making a difference to their lives, then we are in the wrong place.