Dip Diary 3 – Experience of recent NQT’s

I’ve been receiving lots of messages from newly qualified teachers about completing the Dip/ Droichead process. I asked my followers to contribute to some guest blogposts on their personal experience of the dip/droichead process and to offer any advice to NQT’s. I was overwhelmed by the amount of teachers who agreed to answer a list of questions and I hope their experience will help with your NQT journey!

What course did you complete? When did you qualify?

I was amongst the first year of the PME and I completed it with Froebel, Maynooth University. I graduated in 2016.

How did you find the job search?

Brutal, still do. I moved from my home county and was starting out fresh somewhere and the first year I sent out 30 + applications at least. I have plenty of rejection emails and letters too! This year has also been really quiet again but I’ll keep at it.

Any advice for teachers currently job hunting?

Keep at it! It is totally disheartening but you have got to keep at it. That elusive job won’t find you.

What role did you have? (If mainstream – what class?)

I carried out the Dip twice! My first year I was in a 2-teacher school and had 3rd-6thclass and then for my second attempt I had 3rdand 4th

Did you complete the traditional dip with an inspector or the Droichead process?

Inspector process, both times.

How did you find the process?

Nerve wrecking and exhausting but it makes you define who you are as a teacher. It is a long process (100 days in total), after so much work in college and so many inspections there, does it need to be that long still? It is really easy to register, forms etc. but it is tough.

Did you have a mentor or a go-to person to support you in school?

In my first year, not really! I had plenty of questions but no-one to ask them to! I contacted my local education center and they put in contact with a teacher in a similar setting in the school and that was all my support. In the second school it was a different story. All the teachers there were very helpful, supportive and complimentary. I could have asked them anything and they gave me tips and materials to get me through the inspections. Having a support or mentor makes all the difference in doing/passing the Dip.

What was the most difficult part?

Understanding what the inspector wanted was the most difficult part. They say so much when they meet you it is really hard to take it all in. For my second inspector, she had a teacher sit in with us and takes notes, that way I could take in everything and not worry about writing it all down.

How many hours did you do preparing/planning etc.?

I couldn’t tell you. Long term plans easily took me 3 weeks of 2-3 hours per day. Weekly plans took up to 1 hour each time and then CM’s could have been 2 hours easily. I’m a stickler for detail and they had to be perfect.

How did you find the weekly planning? Any tips for NQT’s?

Give the weeklies lots of time at the start and then you become familiar with the layout etc. Then shorten your time spent on them- you can weight yourself down with paperwork if you want to. Decide what you are going to do in your lessons before you type, it will make typing quicker and the lesson will be clearer in your mind. Don’t go to Instagram or pinterest for ideas while typing your plans, it will only distract you and lead to procrastination.

What resources/websites/blogs etc. did you find most helpful?

Social Media: Pinterest is God! Instagram (set up a teaching only account so your personal feed doesn’t get too bogged down and you can separate both personas), twitter, facebook and twinkl

Websites: teachingideas.co.uk, blogs, the literacy shed, dk kids find out, youtube (obviously), storynory, seideansi, leightleat, robo, topmarks.co.uk, the drama notebook, sheppardsoftware.co.uk (it’s brilliant), tes.com, askaboutireland.ie

What advice would you give to a NQT?

It is scary going out there at first, it is nothing like teaching practice. Don’t rush into anything at the start, take it easy and take it all in for the first few weeks and then go hell for leather. Give yourself a break, you know more than you think you do. Have fun with the children in the class, they’ll appreciate it. Get to know the children too. Don’t be inspector/dip/droichead focused all the time, take time for you and focusing on the learning.

Anything else you’d like to include?

I am a 2ndyear NQT, living in Tipperary. I passed the Dip this year after a tough first year. I have an Instagram account it is: miss.gaffney. Follow me!