When we are successful at interview we have the initial feelings of joy, excitement and anticipation. We applied for a new job for a reason; be it travel, opportunity or unhappiness at our last place of work
I thought I would do a quick blog reflecting on my move to a new school and providing advice from my own experience that might have been useful for me before I started.
- You will probably feel overwhelmed.
Even though the first feelings are often excitement before we start, anxiety and imposter syndrome can begin to quickly creep in. You have to get used to new systems, new people and a completely new school. My emotions were very turbulent in the first couple of months as I tried to navigate a new school without the ‘I’m an NQT’ badge of honour. I felt as tired as I did as an NQT after the first few weeks and actually felt like I was taking steps back rather than forward: this is normal. We can put pressure on ourselves to be brilliant from the word go, and maybe some can, but it usually takes time. Be kind to yourself as you adapt to this huge life change.
2. You will need to build new relationships
I left my last school and definitely felt ‘in with the bricks’. I was proud of myself for the relationships I had established with pupils and colleagues. After being there for three years I had also earned a reputation and had very few behaviour issues. Pupils new what they were getting with me, due to word of mouth and a positive, purposeful environment came very quickly without really having to worry too much (especially in the last two years). However, what I should have reminded myself of, was the effort and work I had to put in first before I felt established. I had to remind myself of my NQT year and finding some pupils/classes challenging. I had to remind myself of the conversations I had and strategies I learned in order to better my relationships. This will be the same for you when you start somewhere new. You might find it really easy to adapt your surroundings, but it took me a while. Take the time to revisit those strategies that worked before and reflect every day on the positives you have achieved.
3. Change is tough – be kind to yourself
My last point is please be kind to yourself. I was really hard on myself at first. I had been appointed based on a very good interview and observation. I felt like everyone had high expectations, but nothing was higher than the expectations I put on myself. This is especially true when you start at a new school when you already have experience. I felt like everything should just come automatically, but I did find it challenging to navigate the new corridors, get used to the new systems and learn who I had to contact for whatever I needed. I did build relationships quickly with most of my classes, but, even now, there are classes I need to think strategically about while also making sure the lessons are positive and purposeful.
My main points of advice are:
- Take note of at least three positives from each day
- Take a walk around the school and speak to people outside of your department
- Don’t be ashamed to revisit strategies that worked before
- Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling
- Be kind to yourself and remember adapting to change takes time.
I’m now really enjoying my new school and I’m getting involved in the wider school and I know that I thrive off challenges. However, don’t feel like you need to do loads of extra work from day one (even if you enjoy it) give yourself time to settle in and get to know the pupils and staff. On reflection this was a great move for me and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future holds.