Better to hit the ground running

Ready, steady, go ... the new TES column for primary teachers

I've just started my teaching career in a way that will not only make most NQTs financially sick as a parrot, but more importantly eases the stress of first-day nerves and will allow me to do a much better job with the children of my first class.

The usual drill after qualifying through a PGCE or BEd is to spend an impoverished summer worrying about what your new school will really be like. But my primary school in London employed me for the last two weeks of the summer term, and paid me over the holidays.

Being saddled with the debt of a student loan, that was very nice. But what I'm really pleased about is that it has allowed me to spend time with the children who will be my class in September. I've also got to know my fellow teachers and the rest of the staff at the school.

Also, I can boast that I know the location of the paper cupboard and what time morning break is, and I won't be surprised next time the headteacher walks into my classroom unannounced as part of his excellent strategy of "managing by wandering about".

There can be few careers where you go through such an intensive training course, during which you also have to prepare for interviews, only to be told once you get the job that you're not expected to turn up for another few months.

Starting work in July is a strategy that would benefit not only NQTs. Schools, and children, would have new teachers able to hit the ground running on the first day of term. During those final couple of weeks, the NQT could also act as a floating supply teacher - as I did. Now all I have to do is prove that I was worth it!

David Ogle is an NQT at Pooles Park primary school in Islington.

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