NQT applying to work at GJA
When I was applying for jobs as a PGCert student, it was really important for me that the School was able to support an NQT. GJA attracted me because in addition to in-house training they offered NQT courses at Cranford Park Academy. Also, they had a wealth of experienced teachers from who I am continuously learning from. Furthermore, I have one-to-one meetings with my mentor where I am able to discuss my targets and planning.
Challenge is what I thrive on, and at GJA I am faced with challenges every day! Working in an school like GJA has offered me the opportunity to work in a team to plan ahead. However, as we all know things can change at the last minute! I have to be able to adapt myself in any situation and learn how to be flexible all the time.
GJA staff and pupils are all very supportive and willing to help any time. Despite my journey being fairly rocky to start with, I can confidently say that as an NQT working at GJA it has enabled me to grow and develop into a successful class teacher.
My Journey at GJA
During my PGCert at Brunel University I applied to various teaching agencies with the hopes of getting a class teacher job for September. Whilst on my final teaching placement I received a call detailing a year 4 NQT post to start in June of that year. I eagerly went along to the interview and was lucky enough to be given the job. As my PGCert was due to finish at the end of May, being able to start work straight away in June was a blessing.
From my first visit to the school I was welcomed by friendly staff and pupils. I felt (and still do feel) very much a part of the GJA family. Despite being a new member of staff joining the team for the final term of the academic year, I was welcomed and supported by each and every person I met.
Before my proposed start date I was eager to get to know the staff and school systems, in preparation for classroom teaching. Therefore, I requested to be present at the INSET day during May half-term. This was a massive aid to me in that I was able to experience an INSET day, I met with my team members and I was introduced to the curriculum topics for the first part of the Summer Term. I was also given some time on that day to organise my classroom environment and read background information on my pupils.
During my first two weeks I was mentored by an experienced member of staff; a year 5 class teacher. This was an immense opportunity for me to be able to team teach with such an esteemed teacher, so that I could learn how to pitch and deliver lessons with an incredibly high standard. I was extremely fortunate to be given this term to settle into the role as class teacher and become familiar with the school systems. At the end of the Summer Term we had a transition day, where we were introduced to our new class and were able to spend the day with them getting to know them! I was also introduced to my new mentor who, despite being a new member of the GJA staff, is an extremely experienced teacher with a background in management.
I used part of the summer holidays to set up my new classroom environment and organise systems to be put in place. For example the four B’s (brain, book, buddy, boss), which is a system that I was introduced to on my last PGCert placement and it teaches children how to be independent learners.
The NQT programme at GJA follows the London Borough of Hillingdon with the Park Federation. This privileged me, and two other NQTs at GJA, to go to a series of NQT CPD training courses at Cranford Park Academy. These ran from Autumn to Spring Term, and I found them exceptionally informative and useful. We were introduced to other NQTs at another school in different year groups, and were thus able to discuss experiences and share resources/ideas. Most of the sessions were team based, where we worked in groups to complete various activities and trial different techniques for teaching and learning.
In doing so we were equipped with the knowledge of innovative approaches, and were given the confidence to try them in our own classrooms.
During the Autumn term I struggled with being a class teacher, however I gradually improved by heeding everyone’s advice and asking for help. With each half-term holiday that has passed I have been dedicated to coming into school to work extra hours, ensuring that I keep on top of my to-do-list and general classroom teacher responsibilities. As time has gone on, I have learnt how to ‘work smart’ in that I can finish the majority of my work during the week, taking time out for myself at weekends.
Now we have almost reached the end of the Spring Term, I feel confident that I have improved in my practice. The only way is up!
My time at GJA
I arrived with a Cheese and Onion Quiche – I had come to look around the school and my telephone enquiry had led to an invitation to a shared lunch Staff were having on an INSET day. A warm inclusive welcome and food – two of the strongly held principles of the school that I became so familiar with.
I worked at Godolphin Junior Academy for 15 years and I hope that sharing some experiences will interest others in looking at all the school has to offer. My first appointment was as a Year Four team leader and full time class teacher. Godolphin has always had a very pro-active approach to recognising other work experience and although I had been teaching for just 2 years, my experience before teaching was taken into account and I was given the additional responsibility and career progression I had been searching for.
I realised that the benefits of teaching in a larger school with a wide range of experienced staff led to an excellent level of support in terms of personal development as a Teacher and in practical hands-on support in the Classroom. Godolphin Junior School has a hardworking team of TAs who provide invaluable hands-on support in lessons and beyond. The school also has a Leadership Team with passion and vision. They have successfully mentored and supported staff through work roles and the additional challenges that life can throw at you.
I found the Pupils delightful. Family is central to their lives and their Teacher is a highly respected and valued part of that. Many children come from large families and teaching so many siblings over the years was very heart-warming and satisfying. It made me feel that my initial aims of teaching, in order to directly have a positive influence in a community, was being met.
After taking maternity leave I returned three days a week and worked in a wide range of areas from PPA cover to Team Teaching and into the English as an additional language Team. Despite being part time I was still valued as an experienced member of staff who was consulted by the Leadership team regularly and given a wide range of roles to take on from P.R. to S.M.S.C.
Combining teaching and parenting young children is a challenge. At Godolphin Junior School I was able to have the flexibility to work part-time but also receive career development opportunities and to still have an area of subject specialism that I could develop. I also received a fantastic program of INSET that included Nationally recognised Educational experts such as Mike Fleetham and Steve Bowkett. Godolphin Junior School has always been ahead of the educational trends and subsequently has a very well developed PE program of at least 2 hours of PE and games per week, long before it became the advice of the Government. The school has also developed programmes of Mindfulness and had a school Counsellor for over 10 years. This pro-active and forward looking approach has led to an amazing number of opportunities for Pupils and Staff from Royal visits, to school radio and a wide range of competitive sport from dragon boating to basketball.
Godolphin Junior School has so much to offer Teachers in the current sometimes challenging workplace. It has a strong, inspiring and experience Leadership
team and a group of hard working, knowledgeable Class Room teachers. The Pupils want to learn and are proud of their school and Teachers. They are well behaved (most of the time!) and know there is a very strong framework around them. As a class teacher you will always be robustly supported by the Behaviour Management team and find Parents are very supportive too.
The community around Godolphin Junior School is positive, caring, friendly and values the school and all its’ staff enormously. The school serves a multi-cultural community who value the staff’s hard work. I believe the School to be a beacon in demonstrating a successful multi-cultural British community and I am extremely proud to have been a part of it.