Teaching is known to be one of the most rewarding jobs around, where no two days are ever the same. But what is it really like being a newly qualified teacher (NQT)?

Sarah, 22, gained a bachelor’s degree in Childhood and Youth Studies, before opting to undertake her PGCE at Anglia Ruskin University. Now a newly-qualified teacher with a Year 2 class of her own, Sarah shares her experiences.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

I had always wanted to work with children, but it wasn’t until a placement in my second year at university that I decided that I wanted to become a teacher.

What did you think of your PGCE course?

I gained a ton of experience in a wide range of settings, which I really enjoyed. I was fully supported by the tutors at my university and overall I found the course to be very well-structured.

Did you have any additional experiences that enhanced your CV?

For four years I worked at a summer activity day camp, where I gained lots of experience in instructing large groups of children on a daily basis. This sits alongside the wide range of school-based experience I gained throughout my time on placements, as well as from my further education.

Where did you find your first teaching post?

It was actually my placement school that offered me a job and it just felt right – it is a big school with lots of different children from many different backgrounds. That’s something that personally appeals to me!

What was the interview process like?

It was hard. Having to teach a 20-minute lesson to a class I’d never met before is difficult, but picking a topic they will relate to helps. I asked their teacher what they had recently been learning, what they most enjoyed and the teaching styles they best engaged with. All of these helped me successfully plan a class I knew the children would like and get involved with.

Had you not been offered the job, where would you have looked for vacancies?

Prior to my job offer I was looking online; at borough websites and at various recruitment agencies. I looked closely at what agencies could offer me because many teachers at my school work with them, and several of my friends got their jobs that way. They always tell me how positive their experiences were.

Have you ever felt that you were being treated differently due to being a young teacher?

No. I feel that I have been treated extremely fairly by all members of staff and parents at the school. Everyone respects that I have solid experience.

How have you found the support as an NQT?

So far the support I have received as an NQT has been fantastic! My mentor and I discussed all of the children that will be in my new class and we have looked over their levels individually. From there, we have made an action plan for the first weeks of September.

Could you describe a typical working day for an NQT?

I arrive at school at around 7:30am. I then prep the classroom for the morning and ensure I have completed all resources and planning. From 8:45am I register my class, teach them Phonics and then English. 10:20am is breaktime; if I’m not on duty in the playground then I’m preparing the classroom for Maths. 10:40am is assembly and then from 10:50am I teach Maths.

11:45am is lunchtime, during which I do some marking and prepare for the afternoon. From 1.10pm two different topics are taught, which vary each day. 2.40pm until 2.50pm is storytime, then getting ready to go home; school finishes at 3.10pm. After school, I finish my marking and planning for the following week.

What do you think are the most enjoyable aspect of working as a teacher?

The most enjoyable part is knowing I’ve made a difference to someone’s life. When a child in my class who has been struggling to understand something for the last two weeks finally gets it, it makes everything worthwhile.

Are you a newly qualified teacher? Has your own experience been different to Sarah’s? We would love to hear your experiences. For information on how we can help you to find the perfect position, as well as a summary of our current vacancies, please get in touch on 01277 245840 or e-mail us at education@athona.com