I was going to give this post the title: ‘What am I most nervous about?’, but after thinking properly about it, there’s no way to narrow it down to just one thing. I am nervous about the whole year to come.
*apologies in advance: this is quite a lengthy one!*
My very first worry about my NQT year was whether I would have a LSA (Learning Support Assistant), and secondly to that – would we get along?
It’s scary, I’m being given 28 children to guide through the year, not every school provides each teacher with another adult for support. I’d thought about some of the LSA’s I had worked with during my training year, some were absolutely fantastic and others – well – if you don’t have anything nice to say… All I could do was hope that if I were to have a LSA with me, teaching the children by my side all year long, that they would be the kind of person I could get along with, the kind of person I could have a laugh with, the kind of person that wouldn’t judge whilst I’m still ironing out a few bumps in the rug.
When I met the LSA I’m going to be working with for the first time, I cannot explain how overwhelmed with relief I was. She is wonderful.
I can happily tick this off my list of worries for next year!
I feel like this is a pretty ordinary, non-specific thing to be worried about whenever anybody starts a new job – am I going to fit in?
When I visited the school for my interview I can remember thinking “Oh my goodness, I absolutely love it here!” I explored the classrooms and the building and just kept finding more and more about the school that I could fall in love with – but it was the middle of term, the staff were teaching, I didn’t meet any of the staff other than those on the interview panel. I knew I would feel at home in the school, but would I fit into its family?
I can safely say after spending a week at the school that I feel as though I’m fitting in very well. I think what has helped the most is that I’m not the only new face for next academic year, so I’m not having to tackle anything for the first time alone. I wouldn’t go as far to say that everybody loves me (yet!) but I’m definitely not worried about whether I’m going to fit in or not anymore.
Another worry squashed; on to the next!
I feel like every teacher (new or experienced) has this worry at this time of year; are they going to be supportive, how will they react when I speak to them about their child, will they read with them and help them with homework etc. I don’t think it’s a worry that can be squashed as quickly as some of my others.
28 children. That’s at least 28 grown ups, possibly more if children have both parents, step parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters – the list of possible adults a child can have is massive and that is terrifying, especially as this is my first year.
I think it’s scary for the parents as well, I mean they’ve never even seen my face before, and now they’re handing over their pride and joy to me for 6 and a half hours a day, five days a week? On top of that they only really know about me what the children tell them, they only get to see me for about 20 minutes of the day themselves.
I don’t even know why I’m scared of the parents… maybe scared isn’t the correct word to use but I can’t think of a better one – anxious maybe? I mean I’m giving my everything to those children, doing my best to help them succeed not only academically but supporting their personal and mental growth too. It’s scary for every body, but I guess that’s just part of the job, maybe it’ll get easier the longer I’ve been teaching, maybe it wont. I honestly have no idea what to expect but I’m just hoping there are no surprises in store.
Pupil progress meetings
I’ll be honest – I am absolutely dreading my first pupil progress meeting. I think that’s natural though; I can’t see any NQT actually looking forward to their first ever one. I’ve worked with experienced teachers that get nervous when it’s put in the calendar!
For those of you who aren’t teachers it’s basically what it says on the tin, a meeting to discuss pupil progress. I’m sure all schools do these differently so it’s hard to know what to expect. Basically I’ll have to stand my ground and know every single child, where they’re at in Maths, English, Science, Phonics, for children that aren’t accessing National Curriculum level learning, I have to know exactly where they are on the Development Matters scale. I need to know all of the next steps blah blah blah so much teacher faff that I’m sure sounds so boring. There’s just SO much to know about each and every child. I’m sure I’ll be fine – I’ll find some sort of system to help me, it’s just so daunting!
I’m pretty worried about what the children might go through in the next year, what am I supposed to say? What if they go through something I haven’t experienced myself? What if I say the wrong thing and make it worse? I don’t know everything! I think that’s natural though, I’m just going to have to wing it I suppose and then eventually I would have dealt with most situations. I don’t think anybody ever really deals with everything, do they? Who knows – I guess it doesn’t help that people react differently to different situations. I’ll probably be able to read the children’s emotions etc. once I know them a little better, but it’s still scary though right?
I never really thought about this until the end of my second placement – I’ll be taking the children on a lot of trips throughout the year! I think this is very much my‘worst case scenario’ brain running over time but… what if one of them gets lost? Or injured? I feel like I’m a mother now! I mean obviously it won’t ever just be me that is with the children, but surprisingly there isn’t a legal requirement for adult to child ratio for school trips! There is a guideline that most schools work to from 4-6 adults per class of 30 in KS1, so that’s like 3-5 other people including me, so what that splits in to children in groups of around 6/7? But I’m still responsible for all of them; they’re my class!
When I say i’m nervous about bullying, I don’t mean on my own behalf. I feel like with this one it’s a very parent-based worry – I’ve gained 28 children, what if one of them gets bullied? Or worse, what if one of them is the bully? How am I going to discuss this with that child’s grown up? It’s such a sensitive subject! Maybe that’s just something that comes with children, whether they’re your child or not.
I’m not nervous about the actual phonics screening, I actually think I’m quite ready for it. I’m just nervous about getting the children ready, how are they going to react? I know it’s not a massive test like SATs or anything, but the little babies are only 6! Some of them will still only be 5 come next June, it’s an awful lot of pressure to put on them! I’m sure they’ll ace it though, they have got a fantastic teacher after all!
Failing the children
Finally, my biggest worry about my first year of teaching is – I would imagine – the same as every other NQT… what if I’m not what the children need? I honestly don’t think there’s a single NQT out there that doesn’t have this worry. It’s a confidence thing I think. Don’t get me wrong, I know full well I can do it, I’ve worked so hard for the past 4 years to get here, I know I’ve got this… but have I?
It’s the anticipation; not knowing exactly what is going to happen, but that’s only natural I suppose, this is all new to me – of course it’s going to be scary!
* Basically I’m bricking every single aspect, but it’s definitely a case of once I’m doing it it’ll be a big worry over nothing. The anticipation and uncertainty definitely makes everything seem scarier than it actually is! *
Definitely share some of these fears for the NQT year. The LSA one is a really good point. When you seem to have gotten over the fear of addressing a class full of pupils, then it’s even more scary to have another adult in the room and probably judging you. Most TAs though are nice people who are doing the job for the same reasons as us though. I’m sure it’ll be fine.
Maybe have some coping strategies planned. A way you can gather your thoughts and take a mental breather. ( not easy in a busy classroom I’m sure). No- one knows everything we can only do our best. It sounds like being a new parent – scary and daunting. Sometimes you need advice from someone who has been there, done that and there is no shame in saying I’m stuck or unsure sometimes. A reflective outlet is great to look back on and see how you’ve coped, changed and gained confidence. Good luck x
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