So, now I'm an NQT. When exactly did this happen? Was university just a dream? No, actually, I'm pretty sure the last few months of slogging away at two (TWO!) dissertations whilst trying to find a job was more like a nightmare. But now I'm here. And in my excitement of being offered a job (in Year 5/6, my favourite age group), I have agreed to work part-time before summer (if you watch closely, you'll be able to see the last few months of my freedom drifting away...) - and now I'm bricking it.
10 things I am terrified about
(please ignore the dangling preposition. '10 things about which I am terrified' didn't quite have the same ring to it. Creative license, anyone?)
1. I am still a child.
Yes, I am 22, but I still feel about 15. And my face agrees with me - I could easily sit amongst a class of Year 9s and nothing would look amiss. My height doesn't exactly help - in fact a handful of my class, particularly the Year 6 boys, could probably quite easily use me as an armrest.
2. Bad behaviour
I'm a terrible culprit for laughing at silly behaviour - I must perfect the 'why-on-earth-would-you-think-that's-funny?' teacher glare. However, in terms of more serious forms of disruption, I consider myself equipped with a vast array of behaviour management strategies, mostly thanks to the HORRENDOUS behaviour (and I mean, 'cry-in-the-corridor-during-a-lesson-whilst-the-TA-watches-the-kids' type of horrendous) of the children from my fourth year placement (I imagine a more detailed story will follow in another blogpost). However, that was five months ago - what if I have forgotten everything? If I ask a child to do something and they say, "no", what will I do?
I have to stand in front of 240 children and expect them to all find me interesting enough to listen to what I have to say? In fact, it's not even the children that really bother me - it's the other adults, standing at the side, judging me...
What if the TA doesn't like that I'm so young? What if they've been at the school for ages and don't like that I'm taking over the class? What if they don't do what I ask them to do? What if they override my authority in front of the children? What if they think I'm a rubbish teacher?
5. Staff meetings
Whether it's planning with another teacher, your team or a whole staff meeting - this time you're actually expected to contribute. Being a student in all these situations was dandy - you didn't have to contribute your ideas, because nobody really cared - after all, you were going to be gone in a few weeks. But now your opinion actually matters... what if I say something stupid?
6. Actually teaching
My favourite part of teaching is being in front of the kids - that all comes naturally. But how am I going to make them progress? Am I actually capable of teaching 30 brains enough skills and knowledge to move them up those two golden sub-levels in one year? Can I really teach them all something new in every lesson? God help me.
Our school is due an Ofsted inspection any minute - so if it's not whilst I'm part-timing before summer, then it will be during my first term as a full-time teacher in the autumn. I AM SO EXCITED (sense the tone). I think the best part is that a headteacher I know (who has also trained as an Ofsted inspector) has informed me that, as an NQT, I will almost definitely be observed and asked a number of questions following my observation. I have already experienced Ofsted twice, the second time being particularly petrifying (think crying teachers, evil inspectors and a headteacher who had lost all hope) so, quite honestly, the prospect of an impending Ofsted fills me with sheer terror.
With the children (what if they don't like me?) and with the staff (what if they don't like me?). One of my mentors once told me (re: working with children), "You are not there to be their friend - they already have lots of friends. You are their teacher." However, another mentor said, "They need to know that you like them - you have to be their friend as well as their teacher." My aim is to be strict - but fair - and fun. I want the children to be able to enjoy themselves with me, to be able to be a bit silly, but to know the boundaries. If I am too friendly, will they take me seriously if I have to tell them off? If I'm too strict, will they be able to relax enough to enjoy my lessons? What about the other teachers - will I get on with them? I want there to be someone who, at the end of the day, I can go to their classroom and say "I could have slapped X today, he was a right pain in the arse" or "I taught the worst lesson of my life today" without them thinking me a bad person.
See point 1 - will they be happy with such a visibly young person teaching their children? What if they disagree with something I do? What if I say the wrong thing?
10. Work/life balance
Is there such a thing?
As you can clearly see, I'm an over-thinker. I worry about anything and everything that could go wrong. Does that make me a good or a bad teacher? I think I need to find a healthy middle-ground.
Don't get me wrong, I can't WAIT to get started. I will soon be posting a list of things I am excited about - after all, I am about to enter into the best job in the world.
Find me on Twitter at @Miss_RQT (previously @MissNQT)