The End of the NQT Year

Thomas and Robin are joined by Patrick Kaplo and NQT, Imogen House to talk about our first years in teaching, which leads to a wide ranging chat about highs and lows, being liked vs respected and teaching pedagogy.


  • Introductions @ 00:23
  • NQT Mistakes @ 01:32
  • NQT Best Bits @ 12:28
  • Respect vs Being Liked @ 15:12
  • Pedagogy in teacher training @ 19:09
  • Survey Feedback @ 23:48


What’s the collective noun for a group of physics teachers? Answers on a postcard please (or on Twitter, @physicstp).

Episode 31 finds Thomas, Patrick and Robin re-joined by Imogen who was a guest of an early podcast as a physics NQT. Imogen is now through her NQT year and joined us for an ‘all-request’ episode 31. We were contacted by @thePhysicsNQT on Twitter who asked us to explore some of the things that went wrong when we were early-career teachers.

Thomas recalls inviting bedlam by promising real-world relevance in one of his early lessons, thus inviting constant questions such as “what’s the relevance of xxx”; “How is this relevant to the world?” etc.

The gang got to reminiscing and unsurprisingly pupil behaviour became a theme, but Patrick did point to his years of experience giving him increased confidence in his practice, so that he is now much more ready to acknowledge and address mistakes. It’s an important point: professional insecurity doesn’t encourage reflection. It’s confidence in your practice that makes you better equipped to take feedback.

More positively, relationships were celebrated as a way to build positive environments based on mutual respect. All the teachers agreed that it is easy to confuse a positive mutually respectful relationship with ‘being liked’, particularly at the start of the year. Respect first and ‘liking’ second was the maxim with Imogen reflecting that she is likely to be stricter up front in future.

Moving back to physics, Robin postulated that subject-specific training knocks spots off ‘generic pedagogy’ with Patrick observing that physics has definite and unique demands that need specific training.

Congratulations and thanks to Helen Le-Mar: the winner of a T Shirt for completing our survey. The crew finished by looking at the results of the survey and looked forward to the variety that we are planning based on the results. Thanks to everyone who’s supported the podcast by volunteering, promoting, participating and suggesting. Keep spreading the word and letting us know what you want to hear!

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The music is used under the Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License