Diary of an NQT: One down, five to go


With the half-term almost over, an NQT conference gives our NQT diarist time to reflect on the half-term just gone and inspiration for the five still to come.

So, as I write, we are rapidly approaching the end of half-term number one! Time is absolutely whizzing by. 

I have found this half-term galloping ahead and in an attempt to keep up with the pace I have endeavoured to keep the Hampshire NQT paperwork regularly updated.

My mentor and I have completed my first observation. It went well, but of course there is always room for improvement. I think due to the recent experiences of my training year having such frequent “guests” in the classroom feels somewhat normal.

We both completed our reflections independently and then shared – this process was useful and it is great to have the “fly on the wall” to advocate what does go well and how to build on that for the future. It can be easy to be disheartened on these occasions, as there is always an “even better if...”, but the common goal is to make me a better teacher so for that it can only be useful.

I am recording our weekly meetings to track discussion, points of clarification and personal progress, while also trying to get my head around all the other electronic forms that will need to be submitted over the coming months and sticking to the deadlines.

I attended the Hampshire County Council NQT Conference last week. I had a really useful day, packed with valuable information and presentations, plus a well-planned exhibition to really get the cogs working and ideas spinning.

It was very timely as I think now the initial new year enthusiasm is dwindling into a longer term strength and stamina to teach. The conference has given me a boost – a boost to think that I have started pretty well on my teaching journey, but I need to keep it up, be creative, make it active, and make learning fun for me and the pupils.

At the conference, the deputy director of children’s services shared their excitement and vision for the future of Hampshire education – a very empowering speech focusing on the role we will play in the local educational provision for our young people, and in an effort to enrich and enhance their experiences as they become global citizens. There were also recommendations on keeping ourselves fit and able to sustain the stamina mentioned above.

The conference also included subject-specific seminars and it was great to meet people in the “same boat” and exchange ideas (and email addresses), as well as have the steer and guidance from the subject lead. We also discussed child psychology, using Dreikurs’ model – I love this aspect of teaching and find behaviour a real source of interest. I now have many ideas to put into practice.

Other sessions included “Being a great tutor” – highlighting the importance of the pastoral care we need to provide. I was lucky during my training year to take a secondment in a year office, providing care across a cohort of 350. This gave me exposure to the needs that some of our children may have and how we should not treat our pupils in isolation for the hour a week we see them, but appreciate the day/week/year they are having in their context. 

Elsewhere, we discussed outdoor learning opportunities – an amazing session. Now I want to take my pupils rock-climbing every week! However, encouraging them get outside the four walls of the classroom is a great start. The school hall, tennis courts, school field are superb learning environments if used effectively. 

I know by half-term I will be ready to kick off my heels and hang up my lanyard, but that I will feel a great sense of achievement – appreciating the progress and challenges I have had so far and how to develop my own techniques and reflections into resilience for my pupils’ future. One down, five to go!

  • SecEd’s NQT diarist this year is a teacher of sociology and philosophy from a school in the South of England.



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