Dip Diary 9 – 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 PME in St Pat’s. I qualified in May, 2017.

How did you find the job search?

Overall I have found that there is lots of short term subbing work (one/two days to cover for illness etc.) However it’s definitely a little more challenging to find work for a full year. I was lucky enough that I ended up being asked to interview for a job in a school in which I had done teaching practice during my degree. However in terms of other jobs I applied for, for most I heard nothing back which was discouraging.

Any advice for teachers currently job hunting?

Sell yourself! What have you got that the other candidates don’t have? This is not the time to be humble so don’t be afraid to lay out why you are the best person for this job.

Do your homework! Make sure you find out everything there is to know about the school (ethos, history etc.) before going into the interview it looks good and ensures that you know vaguely what the school is about and can decide for yourself if you would fit in well to that ethos/atmosphere.

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

I taught 5thclass.

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

I completed the process using the traditional dip with inspector.

How did you find the process?

There’s no point pretending it wasn’t stressful, it’s natural that it would be. But it was actually really manageable! So long as you work little and often the workload can be managed, don’t leave it all to the last minute. My inspector seemed genuinely interested in helping me to progress and grow as a teacher and it was really helpful to get the feedback after both inspections.

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

I had no official mentor, however my colleagues were all extremely supportive and always happy to discuss issues or questions I had.

What was the most difficult part?

The most difficult part for me was just juggling everything; planning, correcting and assessment. It was a big learning curve in time management.

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

At the weekend maybe 3 hours each day. Weekdays I was always wrecked so more like 1-2 hours.

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

I found it both helpful and hard-going. It is really useful to be able to map out your week and see where you are going. I  found it hard going just because I struggle with time management so was spending a lot of my weekend on them!

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

mini-whiteboards are also amazing for maths if you have access to them! You can easily assess in real time if the children are getting the answers.

What advice would you give to a NQT?

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions! No one will mind and if they do, that’s their problem! We were all new once.
  • Make sure you make time for yourself to relax.
  • Try to do a bit of work during the week so you have your weekends.
  •  Lastly try do correcting little and often so it doesn’t pile up!