My Journey at GJA

During my PGCert at Brunel University I applied to various teaching agencies with the hopes of getting a class teacher job for September. Whilst on my final teaching placement I received a call detailing a year 4 NQT post to start in June of that year. I eagerly went along to the interview and was lucky enough to be given the job. As my PGCert was due to finish at the end of May, being able to start work straight away in June was a blessing.

From my first visit to the school I was welcomed by friendly staff and pupils. I felt (and still do feel) very much a part of the GJA family. Despite being a new member of staff joining the team for the final term of the academic year, I was welcomed and supported by each and every person I met.

Before my proposed start date I was eager to get to know the staff and school systems, in preparation for classroom teaching. Therefore, I requested to be present at the INSET day during May half-term. This was a massive aid to me in that I was able to experience an INSET day, I met with my team members and I was introduced to the curriculum topics for the first part of the Summer Term. I was also given some time on that day to organise my classroom environment and read background information on my pupils.

During my first two weeks I was mentored by an experienced member of staff; a year 5 class teacher. This was an immense opportunity for me to be able to team teach with such an esteemed teacher, so that I could learn how to pitch and deliver lessons with an incredibly high standard. I was extremely fortunate to be given this term to settle into the role as class teacher and become familiar with the school systems. At the end of the Summer Term we had a transition day, where we were introduced to our new class and were able to spend the day with them getting to know them! I was also introduced to my new mentor who, despite being a new member of the GJA staff, is an extremely experienced teacher with a background in management.

I used part of the summer holidays to set up my new classroom environment and organise systems to be put in place. For example the four B’s (brain, book, buddy, boss), which is a system that I was introduced to on my last PGCert placement and it teaches children how to be independent learners.
The NQT programme at GJA follows the London Borough of Hillingdon with the Park Federation. This privileged me, and two other NQTs at GJA, to go to a series of NQT CPD training courses at Cranford Park Academy. These ran from Autumn to Spring Term, and I found them exceptionally informative and useful. We were introduced to other NQTs at another school in different year groups, and were thus able to discuss experiences and share resources/ideas. Most of the sessions were team based, where we worked in groups to complete various activities and trial different techniques for teaching and learning.

In doing so we were equipped with the knowledge of innovative approaches, and were given the confidence to try them in our own classrooms.
During the Autumn term I struggled with being a class teacher, however I gradually improved by heeding everyone’s advice and asking for help. With each half-term holiday that has passed I have been dedicated to coming into school to work extra hours, ensuring that I keep on top of my to-do-list and general classroom teacher responsibilities. As time has gone on, I have learnt how to ‘work smart’ in that I can finish the majority of my work during the week, taking time out for myself at weekends.

Now we have almost reached the end of the Spring Term, I feel confident that I have improved in my practice. The only way is up!

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