Diary of an NQT: Next year’s timetables

Written by: NQT diarist | Published:
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Discussions about next year’s timetables have begun, with our biologist specialist NQT diarist happy to continue teaching chemistry at A level

Before I started this summer term, I thought that it would feel as long as the autumn term did, especially considering that the first half-term is the same number of weeks as when I started in September.

However, this time around it feels like we keep ticking things off as we speed along and that the time just keeps ticking by faster and faster.

It feels like yesterday when I first started teaching some of my year 11 groups and now there are just over two weeks left with them. That equates to just two lessons with one of my groups!

Counting down the lessons really made me think the other day. Some of my groups in year 11 are very challenging. As I have mentioned before, I teach a foundation group of boys who all like to have a laugh and who all seemingly have a real disliking of chemistry.

But, in a strange way, I will miss the year 11 groups, these included, when they are gone. I know it is a cliché to think that I will always remember them, but I do think I will always remember this year. My first year as a “real” teacher.

This evening there was another parents’ consultation for students in years 9 and 11. This was a strange evening with some very different conversations.

With the year 11 students the conversations consisted of how they can now work to ensure they achieve their target grade in their examinations and what they need to do to make sure they tackle any problem areas during revision.

It was kind of a summary session with a few pointers to ensure that everyone is on the right track. After all, come two weeks’ time these students are off on their own to revise (unless they drop in for the revision sessions, of course – we’ll see!).

The conversations with the parents of students in year 9 were very different. The attention in school is soon going to be concentrated on them. They are, in reality, only a few weeks away from been classed as year 10 in the school and they will have to be role-models for the new intake come September.

My NQT mentor and I had a chat this week about timetabling for next year. Scary stuff! I quite like my reduced timetable this year. We spoke about who will be teaching what next year within chemistry. She also asked me about teaching year 13.

I am not a chemistry specialist. In fact, my degree is in biology and I have worked my way through the new chemistry A level content this year. However, I now feel confident in teaching the first part of the course to A level students, so we have agreed that next year instead of following my current year 12 group into year 13, I am going to go back and pick up another year 12 group and really make sure I know the content when it comes to teaching A level.

I am thrilled about this. I will be the first to admit that there have been points during this year when trying to keep on top of everything threatened to be overwhelming. Marking exam papers, controlled assessment, meetings and the general marking of books has all been going on while I have been “relearning” and accustoming myself with A level chemistry.

I am glad that next year I will have some previous knowledge of the course and can really make sure that my lessons include great content that can easily be understood by students who are just starting their A level courses. I feel like I am going to be a much more confident teacher next year with the experiences I have had so far this year.

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


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