Dip Diary 7 – 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 role did you have? How did you find the process?

I will be five years qualified this October so I’m glad to say I have finally completed my Dip. I previously held Learning support and resource Teaching positions in schools which meant that I couldn’t complete the restricted dip.  After Christmas this year I was lucky enough to get a position in  local school I had been subbing in prior to Christmas. I had exactly 100 days which was just enough to apply for probation. I had 5th and 6th class with 21 children in total. I completed the traditional Dip which was extremely overwhelming initially but once I got into the mindset of planning it became somewhat easier. It wasn’t without its stressful days and late nights but I had an extremely supportive Principal and my support teacher acted as a mentor of sorts and all round agony aunt!  The most difficult part was planning for an extremely wide range of abilities and catering for children with very different interests.

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

I would have been in school an hour beforehand every morning and usually stay for another hour most evenings. Usually I would take Friday evenings completely off and do something for myself. Saturday was usually my day for planning for the following week and then on Sunday evenings I would plan in my teacher diary the subjects for the following day. I’m not gonna lie I spent a lot of time on planning and preparing but I kept focusing on the Summer and that I would have my Dip completed Finally!! The weekly planning was fine once I got into the swing of it and some weeks my plan would roll over if we had missed a subject due to an outing or event.

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

I would have been lost without Twinkl. For every subject display area, powerpoints, loop games etc. It was without a doubt the best €90 I ever spent!! Khan academy for maths, Topmarks daily ten mental maths, folens online for abair liom (Gaeilge), Kahoot quizes (for all subject areas) and dingbats for problem solving all worked really well.

What advice would you give to a NQT?

My one piece of advice would be to pace yourself throughout your Dip year, some days I would have looked back on lessons and thought what could I have done differently there to make it more interesting to the children. I also included the children in their own learning a lot more than I previously would have. I gave them independent project work to complete which they really enjoyed and which produced far greater end products because the children were inspired by their own imagination and thoughts not what I wanted them to complete.