Diary of an NQT: My first parents’ evening

Written by: Diary of an NQT | Published:
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With mock exam results published, our NQT diarist is bracing himself for some focused and perhaps difficult conversations during his first parents’ evening…

I recently attended my first parents’ evening as a qualified teacher. During my ITT year, I had shadowed my host teachers at a couple of parents’ evenings to observe good practice, but this was the first time that I had met my students’ parents on my own.

The parents’ evening was for year 11 students and came a few weeks after they had received their mock exam results. Some of my students had done very well in their exam, but others were disappointed with their outcomes.

I decided to discuss the exam results individually with each student in the lesson prior to parents’ evening. During an assessment feedback session, I asked the class to rewrite the exam questions that they had struggled with. While they did this, I spent a few minutes alone with each student discussing what they needed to do to progress further and improve their grade.

This preparatory dialogue with my students was invaluable. It meant that I was able to give personalised feedback to their parents regarding their performance in the exam, while also allowing the students to ask questions and raise any concerns that they had. In addition, I asked each student whether they had revised hard enough for the exam, and several admitted that they hadn’t.

I have taught my year 11 students since June, taking over from their previous teacher at the end of year 10. This means that I did not teach them the content that the mock covered, although I have worked closely with them on revision and exam techniques.

The mock exam process has been very useful for me, as it has highlighted the curriculum content and skills that I will need to consolidate during the next few months.

The parents’ evening was a long, tiring but very enjoyable experience. It was lovely to meet the parents after teaching their children for a term, and I was heartened to discover how uniformly supportive they were of both their children and the school. Several parents commented that their children were enjoying my lessons, which was nice to hear.

In some cases, the feedback on a student’s behaviour and progress was entirely positive (one mother burst into tears due to the nice things I said about her son!), but in other cases I anticipated that the conversation would be quite difficult. However, even if a student had underperformed in the exam, I found their parents to be very supportive and keen to work with me. What I found most interesting is that the parents knew exactly what I was going to say. For instance, if their child had admitted to not working hard enough when revising, the parents would already know that this was the case.

When discussing how my students can improve their grades, I highlighted our department’s intervention plans in the coming months. This will include providing students with free revision guides as well as running regular after-school sessions focusing specifically on improving their exam technique. We will also have another assessment in early February which will give us a clearer picture of how the students are progressing and whether the interventions are working.

My first experience of parents’ evening was entirely positive. I am lucky to work at a school where the majority of parents are supportive of their children and open to collaborating with teachers.

Open communication between teachers and parents is vital in order to provide necessary support for pupils, and I am very much looking forward to meeting the parents of my students in other year groups as the year progresses.

  • Our NQT diarist this year is a teacher of history at a comprehensive school in the North of England.


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