Ready Early Career Teachers for the 2nd stage of transition from ECT to QTS?

Now are a real teacher but as you are discovering, your first year in the profession as an ECT is a steep learning curve. There will be moments of joy and overwhelm – knowing what lies ahead is a key factor to being able to successfully prepare yourself for the 3 stages of transition.

Stage 1: Dive

At this stage it is like learning to drive. Every element of teaching is something you have to really focus on doing. Planning a lesson is like a gear change – full of individual components which you must tackle in isolation.

You can’t see beyond your own classroom to plan for anything else that might happen beyond it in the wider school, therefore like a “sudden” red light, the request for data from a subject leader comes out the blue and throws your routine into a stalled car mode. It is hard to drive like that; it’s even harder to teach like that.

But just as you learnt to predict the road ahead as a learner driver, so you will you learn that each term has a rough pattern to it that you will be able to predict in the future. When you can start to do this, you hit the next stage of your journey.

Stage 2: Survive

This stage often starts to happen after Christmas, following a period of ultimate dive and overwhelm because the festive period in school is utterly crazy.

You will start to notice that the Spring term follows a similar blueprint to the previous term and as you have already experienced parents’ evenings, playground duties, events, data drops, etc, you have more of an idea what to expect this time round.

You have also planned, taught and assessed a full term and your classroom and class feel like your own. You start to feel like a “real teacher” and although still a tough role, you are starting to survive on your own two feet out there. It is accompanied by a sense of satisfaction and “I’m really doing it” feeling. The imposter syndrome is less and you might even feel like you can get your head above water now that you are not on a dive.

Back to the learning to drive analogy, you can now start to read the road ahead so that you are not simply reacting to everything but predicting the road ahead. Your focus is still very much around your own journey in your car (rather than what everyone else is doing) but you can get from A to B most of the time without too many clipped curbs or stalling at lights.

Back in school, your focus is still on what you are doing within your classroom and only concern yourself with wider school agendas in as far as they impact you. In other words, you will not be thinking twice about a governors’ meeting because it doesn’t involve you; but you will be aware that you will be required to submit your class data – even though you won’t know or care what the governors do with it.

You are surviving as a new teacher.

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