Gave my notice by October – my NQT Year

Thank you @abster for giving me the excuse to indulge in selfies.  This is also a bloody hard story to write because my NQT year was crap and I almost left teaching.  What follows may sound negative, so if it’s the first time you’ve come across me, read some other stories of mine first.  If I sound like an arrogant brat, I won’t wriggle out of that one because I probably am. I’ll let you decide when we share a beer / coffee / joke.

These two pictures were taken at some point during my NQT year during Duke of Edinburgh Expedition training – I was the instructor for University students from Portsmouth.  I’ve chosen these two deliberately as I can sum up my NQT year with two words: Isolating and Edgy.

(The header image is from a fav wild camp spot in the Careddau -I’m not going to say where because it would spoil it 😉 and earning the Freedom of the Ogwen Valley by leaping between Adam and Eve on the summit of Tryfan. The ‘f’ is a ‘v’)
I bloody hated teaching, so much that I had given in my notice by the October in order to return to poorly paid outdoor instruction. Anyhow, in an effort to stay on task….
Route and first role
Planned to join the RAF whilst at the University of Exeter. Almost killed myself in a car accident.  Reconsidered.  Planned to travel for three months, came back quite a while later. Bagged a Geography Degree at the University of Portsmouth, did a PGCE at the University of Durham.  My first role was in Southampton in a school that closed.  I was a geography teacher and put in charge of Leisure and Tourism.  I was entertained with a Year 9 tutor group.
High points
I need to think about this….
Right, it was having lots of time to climb mountains.  
The other thing it gave me was a big long list of what not to do if ever I was in charge.
Low point
Not really enjoying teaching but finding that I could do it without much effort.  Sound arrogant, but colouring in doesn’t require much planning.  I didn’t feel challenged and therefore gave in my notice and planned to quit teaching.  A mix up in communication meant that I stayed on to complete my NQT year, mainly for the money.
I basically spent the year uninspired. In a word, it was bollocks year.
Most surreal moment
Giving marriage counselling to two 40 something parents.
Biggest challenge of the year
Having to lead Leisure and Tourism with some of the most wonderful but equally challenging young people ever.  This included running trips and visits very early on.  Having the stomach to stay the course.
My advice to an NQT would be
Don’t join teaching because it’s easier than making a decision.  Develop your own manifesto for teaching and remember why you made that decision.  Ask for help but don’t be afraid to make waves.
Say no, focus on making teaching the best it can be. Walk around the school during your NQT periods and say hello to staff and children.  
How come you’re still here?
I got another job (mainly to run Leisure and Tourism again), struggled by for a while and then a bloke called Jeff Stanfield came into my classroom.  He told me what I did was a little more than OK.  Made me wonder what I could do if I tried a little harder. He probably doesn’t know it, but he basically lit a big rocket and fired it.  I haven’t looked back.  Thanks Jeff.  The words you say made me the teacher I aspire to be.

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