Are you ready Early Career Teachers for the 3 stages of transition from ECT to QTS?

Placements are over and you clutch the piece of paper that says you are now an ECT ready to embark on your 2-year induction journey. It’s exciting. It’s nerve-wracking. You will have your own class. You will be a teacher.

But your first year in the profession as an ECT (formerly NQT) is a steep learning curve. There will be moments of joy, as well as moments of overwhelm – knowing what lies ahead is a key factor to being able to successfully prepare yourself for the 3 stages of transition.

The 3 stages of transitioning from ECT to QTS

As with all ECTs, the ultimate goal is to achieve Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), which in other words means successfully passing your induction years.

You will go through an emotional, physical, and mental journey through 3 stages – dive, survive, thrive.

Stage 1: Dive

There’s nothing like being thrown in at the deep end. Suddenly you are in a classroom with 30 children and now that you are a “real teacher”, you have the responsibility for planning, teaching and assessing for almost a full week of work, every week. You expected this, so whilst the workload is hard, it is something you were prepared for.

What is often more a surprise is “everything else”. You now need to:

  • Set up and maintain a classroom environment (no classroom fairies here!)
  • Attend meetings
  • Prepare for pupil progress meetings
  • Meet data entry deadlines / data scrutiny
  • Read loads of emails that ask you to do things
  • Potentially lead after school clubs
  • Attend many school events (discos, dressing up “special”days, trips, parents’ evenings, Christmas dinners, charity events… the list goes on!)
  • Deal with parents
  • Prepare for various monitoring events by middle and senior leaders
  • Do playground duties
  • And many other things besides.

The sheer amount of “extra” things that come with the role of a teacher often does come as a shock, especially when you are still grappling with the length of time it takes to plan and resource lessons!

Is it any wonder that this is the stage where you feel the “dive”?

Let me reassure you and look at it another way.

When you first learn to drive a car, you have to consciously think of every single thing. As you try to negotiate a gear change, your steering wobbles. As you try to find your biting-point at the traffic lights, you stall when you check your mirrors. For a long time, every aspect of learning to drive is stressful and complicated because you can only focus on one thing at a time.

You are so busy trying to control what is going on inside the car, everything outside the car is a sudden surprise that you must react to.

You don’t really plan for the lights changing up ahead because you don’t really notice they are there when you are staring at the bit of road directly in front of the car.

Do you remember how difficult everything used to be learning to drive? Welcome to being an ECT.

For more insights and to learn what to expect next, follow the Mapleleaf Vision blog.

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I first worked with Will whilst I was a junior member of a teaching team. I worked closely with him for around three years and he became a true mentor to me. During this time Will helped encourage me to discover my own leadership style and he mapped out what it takes to be successful. I highly recommend Will for life and career coaching.

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