Primary NQT newteacher explains what they've learnt about primary pupils and cricket, Top Trumps and lesson planning in the few weeks since Christmas...
Here are five things I have learned in the few weeks since Christmas. The notion of it being more than a month since I was dressing up as Santa is making my brain hurt – yet more evidence that NQT time moves differently to normal people time…
1. Children don’t understand Test cricket
“Who’s winning sir?”
“Well, it’s a Test match so nobody’s winning as such. Pakistan are on top, but there’s a long way to go.”
“Who’s got the most points?”
“Well, England scored 192, and Pakistan are 170/2 so-”
“So England have scored the most points?”
“So England have scored the most runs?”
Philistines. At least they’re interested, and it’s been quite fun getting a bit of friendly rivalry going between the kids supporting Pakistan, and those who are supporting England.
2. Top Trumps is not a good starter activity
Not even when they’re relevant to the learning objective, and you spent half an hour making them (well, printing them off and laminating them). It doesn’t matter what instructions they are given re: writing down any words they don’t know, reading the cards to each other etc etc, if you give them a game they will play a game. And if they’re 8 and 9 years old they will also do the following: cheat at the game; whine about others cheating; sulk when they lose the game.
3. You’re never off the clock
It’s my PPA? Who cares! The children have forgotten their blog passwords so can’t do their ICT lesson. (Luckily I know them all off by heart, because I’m just that sad)
It’s five o clock and I’m walking through [small provincial city] with my earphones in? Doesn’t matter! A parent wants to ask me a question about the residential in late June, and it can’t wait until tomorrow morning!
It’s three in the morning? Irrelevant! That exciting science lesson isn’t going to plan itself!
4. When it comes to SLT, you can’t please all the people, all the time
In other words, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. My headteacher suggested a pastoral, SEAL-based initiative for some of my children with emotional or social difficulties. I thought it sounded like wishy-washy bollocks, but I said yes anyway. He’s the head. The thing went ahead, the deputy head declared that he thinks it sounds like wishy-washy bollocks and has made this point to me on a daily basis for the last week. If I agree, I come across like a weasel who’ll agree to anything the head says; if I disagree, well then I’m lying. And I have no arguments to back up the disagreement.
5. Get ahead of yourself
This week I’ve had everything planned for the next day before leaving school. This has allowed me to relax and get to sleep at a decent time each night, and do marking in the mornings. Last week, I was chasing my own tail. Every day I came in to school with nothing prepared, spent the day catching up, and by the time I got home was so tired that I couldn’t do the necessary work for the following day. I got behind in marking and assessing, and was grumpy and tired at work, so didn’t teach as well. It’s a no-brainer.
nearlyteacher is an NQT, you can read more of their blogs and those of other NQTs on the excellent NQT Bloggers website