Starting your first year of teaching or even going into a new school year can be a scary thought. Nigel's blog highlights the things you need to keep in mind to stay focused and believe in yourself.
Starting a new role is always daunting – especially for NQT’s. Whether you’re on a contracted role or teaching through an agency, really makes no difference, in terms of how you commence this new profession you have chosen. Whichever route you have taken into the industry – Teach First or the traditional PGCE, you will have already done some formal training.
However, my main advice would be to focus on reassuring yourself, on some of the things that will naturally fall into place; regardless of all the pre-empted speeches, instructions and to some extent the training and observed practice lessons.
The usual meetings and preliminaries prior to that defining moment when your students first pile into the class-room do nothing to reduce the aura of anticipation; but rest assured as soon as you are in front of your first group – you will instantly start to feel a lot more comfortable. The real you will start to emerge. After all, just in case you haven’t realised it yet – the role of a teacher requires that thing we call a ‘persona.’ This is the bit that’s you… even if this is a slightly emphasised version of yourself – that’s quite fine, after all teaching is a performance profession.
It’s like - this is the instant when you can finally rely on those instincts that prompted you to go into teaching in the first place. Now you can ‘back-pedal’ a little without the pressured scenario of onlookers (at least for the time being) – let the dynamics of your class take shape as you begin the usual ice-breaking activities; you will immediately begin to feel a surge of confidence swim through your veins.
This is where you start to assert yourself in a way that reflects your natural personality - as much as all the training, preparation and planning you have recently gone through. You can even take a momentary breath of reflection, in recognition of your new role, your new life, for better or for worse – you will need to find yourself, and no-one else can do that bit for you. The because to this notion is that: whilst there are plenty of protocols, and pre-scripted templates to teaching these days – some (not all) teachers can all too easily fail to notice that – it is your uniqueness as a person that will inspire and enthuse your young charges – not the clearly displayed lesson outcomes, multi-differentiated tasks or super-starters and plenaries, we all adhere to day in – day out, or should that be lesson in – lesson out.
Trust in yourself – and in your class-room persona and all will be well; after all you’re a teacher now – yes… you.