by Alison Laycock
Your NQT year is a steep learning curve when you will experience lots of doubt, feedback which may come across as negative or full of areas of improvement and you will be so tired at times that you won’t know if you are coming or going. This first term and especially the first half will fly by in many ways, however when it feels like a hard slog, the tendency will be to only remember the negative or difficult times. So, we need to turn it around and be prepared in advance.
Make a point from the very first day to make a note of all the positives and even the smallest of successes as these will all build up to be so much more. When you are feeling low, down or just plain exhausted, the positives and the small achievements will help you through.
Don’t wait for the whole class to demonstrate learning and understanding before you celebrate your role as a teacher, celebrate the first and keep going. Don’t wait for the whole class to behave before you see the lesson as being positive, notice all those who quietly behave and get on wth the lesson.
If someone pays you a compliment, say ‘thank you’ and store it away. Don’t dismiss it or try to justify what they have said, simply acknowledge it, you are doing a good job.
Acknowledge and celebrate the imperfect as well as the perfect. As long as you have completed it then it is successful, it does not need to be perfect. Don’t delay your bedtime or allow your sleep to be disturbed in the search for perfect. Accept that the lesson is planned and the resources are ready.
Now do the same with your students: Celebrate and acknowledge the good in them, the good behaviour, the contributions they make in class and through their homework, how they interact with other students and who they are as individuals. Don’t wait for their perfection before you acknowledge all the positives. You can model this to them in the compliments you give and also in the way you treat yourself, don’t put yourself down in front of them if something goes wrong, just carry on, laugh it off if necessary and carry on without any negatives.
Encourage students to celebrate each other: Model this and encourage students to see the good in each other and their work through building it into the lesson. This could be finding the good in each others work and sharing what they like and have learnt from it or at the end of the day/ week sharing positives about other students’ acts of kindness towards them or others.
Take all of the above into your personal daily life too so you build your confidence and self-esteem both inside and outside of school and your classroom. These positives will help you throughout the year and the more you do it, the easier it will be, the more positive you will be and the more you will enjoy your work. Once your students see how much you enjoy it, they will enjoy being in your lessons too.
You may wish to build in treats for yourself to celebrate each month, half term etc so you have something to look forward to.
Every day throughout August, these tips will be shared across social media so I’m including my links here. Throughout August, I’m offering meditation/ mindfulness sessions for NQTS/teachers and school staff on 4th, 11th, 18th and 20th August at 7-7.45pm via ZOOM. If interested, please email Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org
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I’m also offering 25% off all courses for NQTs who wish to develop their mindfulness and compassion skills and resources more. The courses on offer are the 8 week MBSR programme with sessions lasting 120 mins and there are also 6 week Mindfulness and Compassion courses which last 60 mins each session. If you prefer workshops rather than courses then these are also available and can be checked out and booked via http://www.beingthebestyoucanbe.org