Putting the brakes on changing the world by @primarynqtweet

Please don’t put the brakes on my enthusiasm

Don’t do too much; make sure you’ve had enough rest; come back refreshed; don’t over plan just yet: I’m in a new year group; I want to get it right; I’m used to planning in minute detail; I want to make a difference!

This is a re-blog post originally posted by @primarynqtweet and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.

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This is the good-voice: evil-voice conversation that’s been going on in my head for the last few weeks. I posted about creating a classroom; now, gladly, I love my new classroom and I hope the children will too. It’s an entirely different room from the one I inherited and feels a place where magic could happen. Of course, it’s no good having a stimulating environment where the children can bring their own ideas, if the teaching and learning in it isn’t on a par.

So, how do you learn to strike a balance between keeping it simple and achievable and yet also bringing something a little different? I’m not stubborn (well, maybe a little!). I want to listen to advice – the advice of all those experienced teachers around me who say give yourself enough time to recuperate. I have no doubt that they are right and eventually, sometime in the future, I hope that I, too, will be able to actually enjoy the summer holiday and have some real switch off, dare I even say, family time. With three children under 6 the pull is constant.

But this is not a blog on motherhood vs teacherhood. I am an NQT. I have, arguably, a level of enthusiasm, or at least a raw enthusiasm, that I may never have again. It is untarnished by red tape and politics; some may say it is naive. Whatever you label it, I want to harness it NOW. I want to use it to further my practice within the sharp learning curve that no doubt faces me in the school year ahead. I also want to use it to inspire some of the more experienced teachers around me. I hope that doesn’t not make me presumptuous or righteous in any way.

NQTs may have a lot of questions and worries; will probably get some priorities wrong and definitely lack experience in things they don’t even know they don’t know yet. But, we are an army of change-makers – we seek out new ways of doing something because for us, they aren’t new. It’s just the way things are. For example, subject leaders who have had difficulties in establishing the Computing curriculum amongst teachers who would keep things unchanged will not meet those same struggles with NQTs who, quite simply, know no different.

We are NQTs in what some describe as a challenging time since the new curriculum is still young and assessment procedures are still being finalised. The beauty is we are a blank slate. We bring little baggage, at least for now. We have open minds to assessment without levels, to new curriculum subjects or topics, therefore we have more free head space to think about how to teach them without the adage of ‘that’s not how we used to do it!’

But just how do I harness all this innocent willingness to try something new when you come up against some who would keep things the same? There are some longstanding teachers I’ve met who have embraced trying things differently, there are some who like the idea of embracing change and there are some who will not engage with it at all. I want to change the world. Not the whole world, just the one inside my classroom – for my children. For now. NQTs are told to be lots of things, but brave isn’t mentioned. Yet, I feel courage is exactly what I need. Courage to stand by what I believe could happen; courage to try something even though it’s a little outside the box; courage to listen to advice and accept I may get it wrong. Oh, and wisdom. Not knowledge. Wisdom. Wisdom to know when advice IS advice rather than the reflections of someone who refuses change with the times.

So, let me change my world – I’m reflective enough and honest enough to realise when something hasn’t quite paid off and why. And please don’t put the brakes on my enthusiasm; perhaps it’ll help you take the brakes off yours.

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