By hook or by crook


Things have got busy for our NQT ―┬áreally busy. And she has not been helped by some minor 'disasters' in her form.

Last time I wrote that the first week of term flew past in a whirl. I would like to revise this prior comment and say that, while I may have felt this to be the case at the time, in hindsight the first week was more like a gentle, rippling brook compared to the tsunami that has been this second week; it’s all relative.

I feel like I have been trying to do a million things at once in several different places.

Looking at my timetable I can see where this feeling stems from; where have my gentle “three-free” Tuesdays gone? 

The feeling that I am going to have to plan and mark for all of my classes in a sparse and scattered population of free periods tacked on to the start or end of the odd day is really daunting. 

While I mourn the loss of a less hectic PGCE timetable, I cannot say I was ignorant to the increase in teaching hours that the transition to NQT-dom would bring and, so far, I have been making things happen on time, by hook or by crook, even throwing the odd card sort into my lessons here and there.

On the bright side, my year 7s continue to make me smile.

Alongside the radiance and light that they bring, however, it has become scarily apparent to me this week that around a third of the little lovelies are still in primary school mode, refusing to develop any sense of initiative or semblance of common sense. Several minor “disasters” have so far resulted.

First one of my girls put her whole week’s pocket money onto her school meal account, only to realise about a minute later that she is entitled to free school meals. 

Another pupil claimed to her teacher in the final period of the day that a sum of cash had gone “missing” from her blazer, leading to genuine concern as to the whereabouts of the money – until I was later tracked down and was able to confirm that the pupil had in fact given me the money earlier that day for a trip.

Then there was the irate mother on the phone about the “stolen” PE bag – or should I say the PE bag which, after being left on a chair in the middle of the form room, had miraculously transferred itself to a perfectly conspicuous and quite unsuspicious location on the windowsill, about 1.5 metres away from the chair it had been left on.

I cannot complain, because despite their naïvety to the ways of big school, my year 7s still make me smile.

Even when I am standing sternly giving them my “scary” face to ensure hush before the morning registration, I can assure you I am smiling inside. They are still very cute.

They are at that stage where they are really trying to do well; they produce beautiful and artistic homework, they begin tasks set with energy and enthusiasm, they line up quietly when asked.

This latter is even more of an achievement when considering that morning and afternoon they are faced with the delightful example of the year 9s in the classroom next door, whom just this very week I have heard referred to by an experienced and well-travelled teacher as “the loudest form in the school”.

So at the end of this busy week, what can I say? My year 7s are still lovely; they need to get used to “big school”, but who am I to judge them for that? If anything, this is something we have in common (but there’s no way on earth I am telling them that!).

  • Our NQT diarist this year writes anonymously and is a teacher of maths from a south London secondary school. 


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