Had a really interesting ‘Symposium’ today in my Personal and Professional Reflection and Development Unit (try saying that 5 times fast)!
Consisted simply of 5 groups sharing their group papers (1000 words) and the themes around those papers. This links in to the Anxiety in the Classroom entry I made a few days ago.
Many themes emerged from the discussions but one caught my attention regarding, as NQTs, our status in the scold we are trying to find jobs in. The prevalent view in the groups paper was that, as NQTs, we can expect to be seen as ‘Not Quite Teachers’ (I actually just made that phrase up, quite impressed with that!)
I hadn’t quite thought about this. Their argument was that in schools, we are seemingly pulled to confirm with the schools ethos and policies, meaning that we may need to change our values in order to ‘fit in’. As a result, we would have less of an impact in the school, feel or value is not as important which might have an impact on our confidence in the future. A practice of keeping your head down, take no risks and receive the approval of those who are mentoring you.
There may well be a lot of truth to this view. Let’s take a moment though to highlight this in the classroom. If a child had a bright idea that they thought was creative, but not quite what the teacher wanted – what would we as the the teacher want them to do? Hide it? Bury it deep down and wait for someone with the ‘right’ answer to speak?
So, is this the same for NQTs? I argue to think the other way – maybe future employers and colleagues may look positively at the NQT status, as Newly Qualified Teachers. Sure, there is less experience. However, there is a freshness, an enthusiasm and an ability to mould that may well not be there in a more seasoned professional.
Now of course, these are generalisations. Some employers may well see NQTs as just less than a non-NQT, maybe some more experienced professionals are indeed more fresh and enthusiastic than some NQTs. What makes the difference? As with most things it’s down to attitude. If I enter my first post, fully aware of my flaws and lack of experience and focus on that, I will struggle to make a positive impact, on the school and in my class. I will aim, however, to stand out and be a Newly Qualified Teacher, not a Not Quite Teacher.