Ignore this man!


Just one week in and our NQT diarist has already been "cliqued off" and given a range of advice, including a crucial warning from her headteacher – ignore this man!

So, my first step onto the career ladder for the new academic term began with a teacher training day. In fact, it began with two.

A nice welcome into the school as myself, as opposed to “miss” or “ma’am”, where I was able to meet my future colleagues and briefly be taught the ropes – everything from the headteacher’s office location to where “we” sit in the newly developed staffroom.

I have been “cliqued off” already within my department for coffee time – I am yet to decide whether this is a positive or negative development!

When visualising my first day, I maybe saw it slightly differently to how it seemed to pan out. Birds weren’t singing (although the sun was shining!) and the school seemed strangely desolate without the students.

My first shock? My desk!

I am sure most teachers dream of a light airy classroom with a big desk for their computer and stationery, close to the whiteboard and away from the door.

The only issue is in practical subjects where we have to fight for every inch of floor space, this isn’t the case – being split between both dance and drama studios on my timetable meant my chances of the dream desk were eliminated before arrival.

Instead, I was led to an oversized cupboard filled with walls of “important documents” and video tapes (remember them?!) and a distinct lack of natural light where my table (not desk) stood alongside another belonging to the technician. 

Determined not to be defeated and work in what seemed to be Harry Potter’s bedroom at the Dursley’s, I made the best I could of the table and unpacked my things in preparation for the year ahead, laughing with my new office partner as I did so.

It was as though my table reflected the place of the arts within the curriculum – lonely and in need of some attention.

After a day of meetings, my to-do list became an A4 sheet of paper and I met so many people that their faces and names began to blur into a vague but welcoming figure of letters and hair in my mind.

There’s only so long you can get away with calling other staff members “sir” and “miss”, especially when the students aren’t even in school, so I need to make a conscious effort to learn names. I begin to wonder whether anyone at school ever truly knows everyone else’s full name.

A busy and overwhelming day to look back on and yet, among all of the chaos, excitement and bewilderment that my first day threw my way, my favourite moment by far was when our exceptionally inspirational headteacher featured a large picture of Michael Gove within her “welcome back” PowerPoint to all staff.

“For those of you just joining our family,” she explained, “I have one piece of advice for you...”

She pressed the clicker as she echoed the large letters that dwarfed the screen.


From there on, I knew I would fit in with my new family just fine.

  • Our NQT diarist this year is a teacher of drama and dance at a school in Essex.



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