Diary of an NQT: Back from the school trip

Written by: Diary of an NQT | Published:
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Exhausted and facing a pile of marking to catch up on, our NQT diarist is back from her first ever residential trip – and doesn’t regret taking it on for a moment

My last NQT diary entry detailed my thoughts and feelings ahead of my first residential trip as a teacher.

Well, I am happy to report that the ski trip was a resounding success, despite the extreme exhaustion felt by all staff by the time we arrived home.

Now as I look in retrospect (and having caught up on my sleep), I feel so lucky to have had shared such a brilliant experience, which I am sure will have resulted in lifelong memories being created for our students (I know that I for one will never forget the experience!).

As mentioned, my main apprehensions ahead of the trip to Austria were about maintaining the air of authority outside of the classroom 24/7, and this was definitely a difficult task.

Almost instantly I noticed that when the year 11 students were taken out of their usual environment, many attempted to push or test the boundaries. On these occasions, I had to remind myself of the responsibility I had as a member of staff who was there to essentially maintain a level of order and safety for the students.

My assertiveness became much more intuitive towards the end of the week, which may or may not have been down to having so little sleep during the week and decreasing levels of patience!

I made a conscious effort to watch how the leaders of the trip organised and managed both the staff and students in order to keep a sense of calm amid all the chaos and excitement. This was useful to see in action and will definitely be something to draw upon should I choose to lead trips again in the future.

What stands out for me the most is witnessing the students in a vastly different light. As a teacher who has worked hard throughout my training year and my NQT year to build an impenetrable shield of professionalism and high expectation, it has humanised me somewhat.

It was such a pleasure to see these young people operate in an environment where they could show personal skills, such as helping and supporting each other, and I was able to witness friendship groups widen.

It was also fantastic to see their sense of humour and personalities come through at such a stressful time in the academic year.

This makes me remember exactly why I wanted a career helping young people to grow, not only academically but on a personal level too.

Another highlight was building relationships with other staff members. Not only did I see the students in a different light, but it was brilliant to level with other professionals outside of the school environment. There were lots of laughs, mutual frustration and celebrations shared among the staff members by the end of the week.

It’s sad to say that in a normal week I would never usually spend a significant amount of time chatting with staff in this way due to the hectic schedules of teaching that we all have.

Unfortunately, as expected, my endless pile of marking was waiting for me when I returned back to school. I had such high hopes of getting some work done on the trip. I actually took some along with me.

However, I decided while I was there that I would switch off and enjoy myself as much as possible – a decision I don’t regret for a minute.

I’m glad I embraced the opportunity as much as possible, even though it was quite draining at times. However, it has given me such an invaluable experience that it will be worth a few late evenings in the coming week or so in order to catch up on the marking!

  • Our NQT diarist this year is an English teacher at a comprehensive school in the Midlands.


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