Teaching experiences of a NQT in London

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(Just keep smiling! This picture pretty much sums up my first year teaching in London)

Morgan Browne recently graduated from Cardiff University in 2013 and carried out his PGCE in Christ Church Canterbury. In September 2014 Morgan found his first role teaching English in Hayes, London and has been kind enough to share his experiences with eteach as a NQT.

‘An exercise in masochism’. This is how a colleague of mine described being an English teacher in London during my first week teaching in Hayes, West London. Standing in the staffroom in my far-too-formal suit and tie I was torn between the urge to take out my phone to check what masochism means, ‘one who enjoys pain’ for anyone unsure, and the urge to run back to safe and sunny Richmond before anyone had time to see through my ‘mockney’ accent.

8 months on and this urge still pops up from time to time (the second urge I mean, I know all too well what masochism means by now). The marking takes forever, the data and other admin takes even longer and the children oscillate between funny-anecdote mental and kill-you-in-your-sleep-whilst-reciting-Sonnet-130 mental. But as the days and months have gone by and my formal suit has become increasingly decrepit the urge to run comes less and less frequently.

West London offers an exciting, unique opportunity for trainee and NQT teachers. The turn-over rate in teachers is so high that you don’t stay as ‘the new guy’ for very long after only two terms I am already starting to feel like part of the furniture. The kids have quickly realized that I’m in it for the long haul and the testing of nerve and character has all but died down. Their behaviour, though still mad at times, stems from over-enthusiasm and excitement rather than outright rebellion.

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You don’t have to be mad to work here…

We are an all-inclusive school situated very near to Heathrow airport and as such our student intake must be among the most diverse and multi-cultural in the world. This is epitomized by our head of Drama’s abandoned attempt to stage the musical ‘Hairspray’ on the basis that ‘we don’t have enough of any one colour to create the necessary groups’. There are 47 different languages regularly spoken around the school, making my role as an English teacher interesting to say the least. My lessons can vary from discussing the implications of Steinbeck’s works on the American judicial system to teaching a group of year 9s how to properly use a full stop.

The result of this is one of the most unique and challenging learning experiences in the world. For me, this was highlighted in a year 10s discussion of slang last week where they independently started to trace the roots of the words they said to their own Caribbean /Irish /Polish/ English /Somali/Nigerian backgrounds. I could not have planned that lesson far less delivered it but these wonderful, infuriating children took the subject and turned it into something unpredictable and exciting.

So yes, the work is long and the kids are loud but despite all the carnage I can honestly say I don’t believe there is a better place to cut your teeth as a teacher in the world than West London. An exercise in masochism? Yes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you are interested in taking the same step as Morgan, and think you have what it takes to mould the future generations into the next world leaders, why not head over to eteach.com to find your perfect role in education? We’re the chosen provider for over 6,000 schools and post more jobs on our site than anyone else in the market.

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