NQT? I’m coping better than anyone!

Why NQTs might be coping with remote education better than anyone else.

I look at my daughter and how she has adapted to remote education with awe. She has, over the course of the last few weeks, transformed her teaching from traditional class based to a blend of live, recorded and class- based teaching and she has made it look seamless.

Every week it seems she is trialling new technology, new apps and new ways of engaging her children, new ways to assess their progress and knowledge and doing it with a smile on her face!

As someone who is keen to embrace new ways of working but has also struggled at times I have wondered why she seems more able to cope with all the change than myself with all my experience and I have realised it is down to three main reasons:

  1. She is not experienced and has not yet learned her ‘go to’ teaching style. She hasn’t yet ‘decided’ or become ‘stuck’ on a certain way of teaching as she is still in the exploration stage of her career. There is no right way to teach for her as she is still trialling new ideas- remote education is another strand of this.
  2. She has grown up in a world where technology has been a big part of her life and it is just accepted that it is the way we do things- the barrier of using technology does not exist in her generation as much as it does in mine!
  3. She has already had a bubble collapse and has learnt lessons from teaching at home. She has reflected on what worked and what didn’t work and has adapted her current teaching accordingly.

 I have seen many articles about how we need to support our NQTs during this pandemic and I totally agree- but some of the rhetoric around why they need support needs to change. Every one of my NQTs has shown me they are resilient, adaptable and I have been quite literally blown away by their whole approach to the pandemic and the challenges it has brought.

For me the key to supporting them is about wellbeing support- the loneliness of how we are teaching currently is the bit that NQTs are finding the hardest. So how can we support?

  • Regular check ins- these need to happen more often possibly than for other members of staff as they may not yet have developed the confidence to speak up- this takes time and being together, so nurture them.
  • Being part of the team- it can be hard for NQTs coming into established teams to feel part of the bigger picture or to feel that their place in the team is valued- relationships are built over time and leaders need to be mindful of this
  • Allow NQTs to contribute and ensure their ideas are valued- experience means nothing currently as none of us have taught in this way and my NQTs have had amazing ideas!

So for me NQTs need emotional and wellbeing support as much as anyone but they also need to be recognised for their expertise and willingness to adapt and perhaps lead the way for other staff. They may be new to teaching but they are often the experts in some aspects!

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