Don’t Try Too Hard

There is always a load of advice carpet-bombed on NQTs at this time of year and some of it is sensible and practical.

But if there is one piece of advice I haven’t been seeing anywhere though and that’s about making an impression.

The first time in any new work environment and people want to be seen as adding value but that doesn’t mean bending over backwards to impress.

If anything, this is the time to hold back and ease in gently rather than show your colleagues, children and parents how wonderful you are. The best way to ‘be’ in your new school is not by trying to prove yourself and being a brilliant teacher – that’s going to take a while. It’s early days and the impact you can make needs to be neutral and that involves a lot of watching and listening.

NQTs are going to be bombarded by advice from ‘outside’, particularly the Edu-Twitterites and Edu-Twits  but the people to listen and learn from are those on the inside who know what’s what, what’s not and what’s rot.

The teachers you work with are the people to get the inside information from and they don’t expect you to be all singing and all dancing. They also don’t expect you to be showing off or being competitive. They certainly don’t expect you to know it all and quite frankly, a know-it-all is like grit in the machine.

Trying too hard in the few few weeks of a new term is a sure-fire way to crash and burn by October and that won’t impress anyone, least of all your class as they need you for the whole year.

Forget trying to be impressive and stick yourself in neutral until you get your sea legs and then add some value.

If there is more than one NQT in your school then join forces and commit to being realistic rather than trying to out-do each other (I’ve seen it lots of times and relationships free-fall).

If you are hell bent on standing out in the first term then you’ll probably stand out for all the wrong reasons by going too far.

If you really want to add value then do things without complaint or resentment and offer to help your colleagues – just not too much. Volunteering to do this, that and the other is a classic NQT blunder because you end up taking on responsibilities and projects that are taking you away from your core business – teaching your class. Doing too much and trying to be impressive will overwhelm you and make you miserable.

Being a peacock isn’t necessary, just enjoy being at school.

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