As we reach this stage in the course, emotions will be very mixed: excitement that you have nearly made it mixed with fear that you are about to become the ‘real thing’! In terms of these emotions my advice would be to just let them happen, don’t try to over analyse or make sense of everything you are feeling right now. Remind yourself (again!) of the roller-coaster of a year you have had and be kind to yourself!
As half term comes to an end, make sure you are organised and know exactly what else you need to get out of these remaining weeks of the course. Keep focused on that idea of being ‘NQT ready’!
It would be easy to decide to wait until the end of June to organise all your paperwork (if it isn’t already immaculately filed?!) or write ‘to-do lists’ for September. The problem with this is you:
- may go straight into working the week after the course finishes;
- might go on holiday or just collapse in a heap to recover from the year!
Either way, sitting down and organising everything is, quite rightly, unlikely to be high on your agenda!
So investing a little time now could pay huge dividends in getting you ready for September.
Some ideas to think about:
- Is it worth reconsidering your current organisation system? It may be, for example, that everything is currently organised by class which works for your current school but not for next year – would it be better to have all plans and resources for teaching a particular curriculum area in one place? Believe me, if you don’t do this now you never will and, when busy next year, it will feel easier to plan from scratch than find ‘that lesson’ from this year amongst all your files! There is no right or wrong answer to a system of organisation but just think about whether or not it is currently too context specific.
- There are some key areas that NQTs always comment on not feeling prepared enough for no matter how much we cram into this year:
- marking, assessment and using data;
- working with SEN pupils;
- working with bilingual pupils.
Now would be a really good time to revisit these areas and think about everything we have done with you in relation to them over the year. Put them to the top of your list for for any spare moments you have in school over the next two weeks – what else do you want to know? Who are the ‘experts’ in your school that you could talk to or observe? Are there some NQTs you could talk to and ask questions about these areas?
I talked about assessment and marking recently and offered some links to resources that might support you but here are some links to websites that you could look at in relation to SEN and EAL:
- https://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/ – you should already be aware of the Communication Trust from work we have done with you but this is a reminder of the Trust and the resources they offer teachers.
- http://www.naldic.org.uk/eal-teaching-and-learning/eal-resources/ – whilst a great site in general, this section of the Naldic website specifically looks at resources for supporting EAL pupils in different curriculum subjects.
- http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/6059/1/RR516.pdf – an interesting article looking at strategies for teaching SEN pupils
- https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/eal-toolkit-6040879 – there are some good ideas and strategies here for working with EAL pupils
The list could go on but there’s a flavour of resources you could explore! Crucially think about everything we have done with you, dig out notes and resources and then decide what else you want to know before the end of the course.
- Can you compile a list of questions you want answering before you finish your placement? It doesn’t matter how small or silly they seem write them down. What do you want to know to make you feel less worried over the summer? Some questions may be specific to your employing school (in which case try and find a way of asking them) but many will not be context specific. Devise your list and then ask as many teachers as you can for their answers! Here are some starters for you:
- Is there a key activity you use in your first lessons in September?
- What do you do with your form group right at the start of the year?
- How do you make your ‘behaviour rules’ clear at the beginning of the year?
- How do you organise your classroom for September? Do you have displays up? If yes, what sort of thing?
- What are your top three tips for September?
Make your list and then ask as many people as you can for answers in your last two weeks in school!