Diary of an NQT: My first parents’ evening

Written by: Diary of an NQT | Published:
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Our NQT diarist’s first parents’ evening is looming and she is hoping for some positive – yet constructive – conversations about her year 10 students

This week I will experience my first parents’ evening as an NQT. I will be meeting with parents of my year 10 students.

They are a lovely group. So far they have worked extremely hard under the pressure of their GCSEs. They have told me that they can sense the change in pace since year 9, but most have gone above and beyond to throw themselves into the GCSE course, and have taken the whole rhetoric of GCSE in their stride.

I am extremely lucky to have such a positive cohort for my first “official” GCSE group, so I am actually looking forward to passing on such praise to their parents. I’m embracing this as much as possible, as I don’t think that other parents’ evenings will always be quite as positive!

I am hoping the parents’ evening will help to build my confidence with face-to-face interaction as well.

I have had some contact with parents via email/phone, but I think parents’ evening is a good opportunity to build a genuine rapport. It can often be difficult to convey any sense of personality over an email, so I look forward to being able to showcase my enthusiasm in person.

In the meantime, I’m considering how to prepare effectively. We have such limited time slots and I know some parents will want a thorough run-through of their child’s progress so far. This is going to be tricky when we have five-minute appointments per student! Although it is tempting to chat away, my mentor has said that it is really important to keep to time so the evening as a whole can be kept to time.

The worst-case scenario is that parents still have questions to ask or want to discuss something in-depth, which will then take me over the allotted time. If this happens, my mentor has suggested that it’s worth reminding parents that I am available via email or phone for a more detailed chat at a later date, if necessary. In a bid to stick to time, rather than take an obscene amount of paperwork and wasting time navigating through exercise books, I have “itemised” certain elements onto a word document: general progress, general attitude, areas of praise, and areas of concern.

Elsewhere, I am also making a conscious effort to reassure parents that I know their child well, so I’m aiming to “lead” most of the discussion. Of course, it’s important to leave time for any questions, so I’ll follow up this chat with any parent queries.

Because it is year 10, I’m pre-empting quite a few queries regarding GCSE targets and tasks. I’m trying not to bombard parents with too much information – I’m sticking to the basics and, if necessary, giving small hints and tips at what my students can do to maintain standards.

For the enthusiasts, I do have useful resources to hand containing some extra reading, but other than that, I’m trying to make the discussion fairly focused on the here and now.

I do have concerns that there may be some parents who are less receptive than others, but I’m trying to stay positive and plan to deliver any criticisms and concerns in a constructive manner. Hopefully, parents will understand that the bottom line is that I want their child to do well in the subject.

Luckily, should any of the meetings steer in a slightly untoward direction, I will have another member of the department sitting right next to me as all teachers sit in the hall at individual desks! I am sure I won’t need this back-up, but it’s nice to know it’s there!

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


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