What I wish I knew as an NQT/ECT

What I wish I knew with Vicky Kendell

June 29, 2022

Vicky Kendell has done it all in primary education, including being a headteacher. But when she realised that she wasn't loving the job she was doing, she went back to a role that gave her the best of both worlds. She is now an Assistant Headteacher working with the children every day and loving it! Vicky is a person who has the courage of her convictions and she is never afraid to do the right thing, even when it may seem surprising to some people. Her passion for being a teacher comes through loud and clear in this inspiring podcast.

In this episode we discuss ...

  • How getting children excited about their learning can feel daunting when you are an inexperienced teacher and you think you won't be able to get them calm again.
  • Why it is important to bounce questions back to children when they are capable of answering for themselves if they think hard.
  • The importance of developing lessons by following children's interest so the learning is made more meaningful and memorable, but realising this is a difficult skill that comes with experience.
  • The value of weaving when managing behaviour so you match the strategy to the child's needs at any particular time.
  • Why having a network of supportive professionals is so important.
  • How humble it makes you feel when children will do anything to help you and look after you because that's what you do for them.
  • Why laughter is so important in class, especially when the children come from challenging backgrounds. In one class Vicky taught the children refused to leave the classroom at the end of the year, so strong was the bond between her and the children.
  • The importance of verbalising to children that you really care about them. One way you can show this is by sharing a bit of yourself with them to show you empathise with how they are feeling, because you've been where they are now.
  • How singing the Abba song Chiquitita in a guest appearance in a Year 6 musical raised her credibility enormously, even though the boys tried to make her laugh by singing chicken tikka as she performed.
  • Being surprised by a parent reaction to a class assembly when developing words to describe the giant in Jack and the beanstalk.
  • Making a real difference for all the children in her care, especially the SEN children and their families.
  • The importance of asking for help. It is a real strength to seek advice so you can improve your practice; it is never a weakness.
  • The pride you feel when a parent says they want you to lead her child's appeal for more SEN support as she trusts you more than anyone else, including the specialist appeals person.
  • The joy of being told that you have a wonderful reputation with parents and other professionals because of the way you stick up for the rights of the child and make sure they get the very best education possible.
  • Why you must remember to put on your own oxygen mask first! If you collapse through overwork whilst trying to please everyone then you will be no use to anyone. Use the phrase, 'I'm afraid I can't do that right now'.
  • The need to balance the tough moments in teaching (because there are some) with the numerous wonderful moments so you keep in perspective the balance of good and not so good.


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