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How do you deal with stress and the Dip?

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Sometimes, I get lovely emails from teachers. They might be complimenting our Anseo blog or asking a question. I received one the other day from a teacher who had been teaching for a few years but now was starting in a mainstream class and was feeling under pressure. Already, in July. This made me feel sad. Two months before this teacher was starting, he/she was feeling stressed and filled with lack of belief in his/her abilities.

I wrote back with this email. What do you think? Am I right in saying that the Dip is a stress-ball of nonsense that does not really help the NQT? Or, do you think it is an absolute and teaches so much?

Dear stressed-out NQT,

Thank you for your email.

I wrote that article many years back when I was teaching in a disadvantaged school.

I am sorry to hear you are finding the thought of the new school year stressful. I can only speak from my experience. I did not find it stressful. I think it is about the mindset that you make for yourself that will influence your stress levels.
I found the dip year unstressful. The way I looked at it I was a qualified teacher but had plenty to learn! The inspector is there it guide you. It is not a case of any teacher aiming for 100% and certainly I did not feel as if anyone was judging me.
I worked hard for the year, for sure but I work hard every year as I am sure you do.
I am not sure what the requirements are for doing your dip now as I am sure they have changed. I think that a teacher should do the planning and work that they will normally do as a normal teacher and not put on a show. What I did was my long and short term panning, assessment folders, displays etc. This is what I would normally do.
The biggest and best thing any new teacher going into a class can do is spend a huge amount of time on the rules, boundaries, set-up of the classroom. I recommend you look at Jenny Mosely’s book on Circle Time, this is a model for how to set up rules and what the students will expect if they break or keep them. They must be consistent and positive reinforcement for behaviour and learning.
Make sure your class is easy for the children to learn, for example have the books/copies/markers/pencils etc left in an area that the children can get to. Explain how the organisation of the Art lessons for example will work. Spend the first few weeks setting up how the classroom will work and I can assure you it will pay off as the children will know what to expect.
You go to the curriculum first to make your plans, check out the school policy on curriculum subjects. Also, register with the centre that looks after dip teachers, is this the education centre or somewhere else? Think it is the Education Centre. They will run courses that will explain how the year will work and what you will have to do and your inspector will meet you to explain.
Please, don’t be stressed over the dip! The inspector should be viewed as a critical friend. Don’t be a pushover but be open to advice and take it on board.
Think about how you will switch off when the day and plans are done? Exercise or another hobby?

Remember, it is only one year in the rest of your teaching career. you are not expected to be perfect. This is the start of your initiation into the challenging but rewarding world of teaching!

Best of luck


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