Diary of an NQT: In the mode pastoral

Written by: NQT diarist | Published:
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As SecEd's NQT diarist finally says goodbye to the first of his year 11 classes, he is also preparing to write his first set of pastoral tutor group reports

It has happened – finally. I have had my last lesson with the first of my year 11 examination groups.

While at the moment I am glad that I have gained some free time to get on with my list of jobs, I do feel like I am going to miss them.

I think as a teacher you probably will never forget the first GCSE group you teach. It has been really interesting for me reflecting on my year with the groups that are now beginning to leave.

I remember some of the first NQT diary entries for SecEd and my initial concerns that these were some of my trickiest groups – they were very set in their ways from their previous teacher and I found it tough going to begin with.

I remember well that there were clashes with certain students over the changes in routine that I was trying to implement in my first few weeks.

If you had asked me then if I would miss these groups come exam time, of course I would have said no!

But that is what I love about teaching. You can have a group that is set in its ways and over time the students will get used to your teaching style and approaches. They won’t realise it, but you begin to build great student-teacher relationships and they start to enjoy your lessons more as a result of this. Of course, they will never tell you this.

This week there is lots going on in addition to year 11 leaving. I have been asked to get involved with a project aimed at the middle schools in our area and students that will be joining our school next September. I am really excited about this.

It is a chance to get to know some of the Pupil Premium students before they start at our school after the summer. I will get the chance to go to three feeder schools in the area and deliver a project/lesson to these students and start to get to know them and understand their needs.

I am looking forward to the opportunity and feel it will be a great way to reassure those students that are more dubious about moving into a high school. This is also a chance for those students to become confident with my teaching style and the kind of independent learning that is expected in a high school setting.

It is a challenge for me as I need to plan a chemistry session that will ensure that the students understand the level of work but that is also interesting and engaging.

I found last year during my training placements that many year 7 and 8 students had a great enthusiasm for science and I want to make sure that this continues when they are at my school.

This week also sees the return of the dreaded reports. I have two year 9 groups that I have to write summer reports for and then in a few weeks I will be writing reports for my year 9 tutor group.

By now, I am well versed at writing subject-based reports and these take a small amount of time. I am actually more worried about the tutor comments that I will need to write soon. I haven’t written any reports from a pastoral point of view before and therefore I am a little uncertain about the whole process.

I am not sure what it is I need to include and so I am going to query this. Everybody at this school is more than happy to help when I ask questions. I am going to look at some of my mentor’s comments for her tutor group before I attempt my own and come up with some sort of winning formula of what to include before writing them.

Hopefully the comments I get a chance to look at will give me many clues about where I should focus and what I should write about as a tutor in order to best support my tutor group students.

  • SecEd’s NQT diarist this year is a teacher of science from a school in the Midlands.


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