Surviving your musical NQT year
When Helen Tierney asked me to speak at Middlesex University, she specifically asked me to give a few ‘survival tips’ for NQTs. It should sound strange to represent the first year of teaching as a journey into a dangerous wilderness but those of us who have been there know that the first year in the classroom can seem like you need to be a genetic hybrid of Andy McNab and Steve Irwin. To that end, here’s a few of the tips that I gave yesterday.
Don’t beat yourself up
If you get one thing right, make it feedback
Read everything you can
Be sceptical of the ‘O’ word
- “Ofsted says that…” translation “I want you to…”
- “Ofsted wants to see…” translation “I want to see…”
- “If we’re going to be Outstanding…” translation “I want to see…”
- “Outstanding teaching is…” translation “I want to see…”
Focus on music
If the work isn’t musical, then it belongs in someone else’s lesson.
That’s the best mantra I can give any new music teacher – make is musical.