Dip Diary 2; 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 completed the four year B.Ed in St. Pat’s/DCU from 2012-2016.

How did you find the job search?

The summer I finished college I sent between thirty to forty applications for jobs in different counties (west of Ireland and Dublin), and I heard nothing ever again from the majority of the schools. I was called to attend for just one interview in a school in Dublin (that I had no connections with) and I will be starting my third year there at the end of August.

Any advice for teachers currently job hunting?

I was very lucky I have to say, I walked straight into a job, but I know it doesn’t work out like that for everyone. My advice for NQT’s would be to apply everywhere, even if you think it is somewhere you don’t have a chance of being called for interview – you will be surprised! Also, try not to get too disheartened if you don’t hear back from schools you apply to or if you receive rejection letters – it usually has nothing to do with you and more to do with the fact that someone already working in the school might have the job.

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

I taught 2ndClass for the last two years.

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

I completed the traditional dip with two inspections, one in January and the other in May.

How did you find the process?

I found it a very tiring and stressful year. I also felt that I wasn’t fully relaxed in the classroom as I was constantly jumping at knocks on the door. The paperwork was never-ending and I always had to have all my notes ready and my resources/lessons planned in great detail. However, I got on really well in both my inspections so it was all worth it in the end! J

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

There were four NQT’s doing their dip and we had a mentor who arranged meetings every month with us.

What was the most difficult part?

The most difficult part, in my opinion, was the fact that I was just finished college and new to teaching and working and I was living away from home. Then there were so many demands with planning and paperwork and trying to settle into a new school to deal with also. I wasn’t very good at asking other teachers for help when needed but I learned over the course of the year that your colleagues are the people who provide you with help and support during the year so be sure to ask if you are unsure about something.

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

At the beginning of the year the planning was constant, after work and most of the weekend, but it eased off as I settled in and got to know the children better. The first inspection is a great help as the inspector gives you advice of areas to improve/ to cut down on and I felt that my planning was more focused after that and it wasn’t taking as long, so I was able to have some of my weekends back again.

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

My advice would be to try and be realistic in what you plan. Are you going to manage to teach all that content in one week? I know that in the beginning I thought I had to plan for every single subject every week but as the year went by I started to plan for subjects like the arts and SESE, every second week. I found that this made planning more manageable for me.

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

I think Twinkl is a great resource and worth paying for the subscription. If you can set it up in a small group it makes it more affordable for everyone. I also found teaching pages on Instagram and Facebook to be very inspiring and motivational, and Pinterest is a great website too.

What advice would you give to a NQT?

It is a very tough and exhausting year for a number of reasons, not all to do with the dip, but you will get there in the end. It is very important to try and take some time out for yourself to get a break from work and planning. Maybe pick a day every week that you decide not to do any school work and meet up with a friend or go somewhere you enjoy. Best of luck!