Diary of an NQT: A chaotic final week…

Written by: Diary of an NQT | Published:
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The end of term break came at a good time for our NQT diarist, although the final week of spring term saw a spike in workload…

The last week before spring bank was a particularly intense period at work. I decided that all of my key stage 3 classes would sit their end of year assessments before the holiday so that I would have ample time to get them marked, returned and recorded before the closing of the assessment window.

The deadline is not until a week after the holidays, but as my classes were all ready for their assessments it made sense to get them out of the way so that we can press forward after the break.

As I teach several set 4 and 5 key stage 3 classes, I have to do a lot of additional planning to ensure that my students are given the access arrangements they are entitled to. A week prior to the first assessment, I liaised with the school’s SENCO, informing her of the additional support that my students required.

As the year 11s are in the middle of their GCSEs, it is difficult to ensure that key stage 3 students receive the appropriate support, as the older students take priority.

However, our SENCO worked diligently to ensure that all of my students received appropriate support, for which I am very thankful.

My year 11 students will sit their first GCSE history paper on the first day back after the holidays. With this in mind, our department organised a two-hour revision session on the Friday before we broke up, which I was asked to deliver.

This added to an already intense week, but I was pleased with how the session went and I hope that the students who attended will have benefited from it.

To add to the chaos, I had to visit hospital on the Tuesday to have minor surgery on my jaw. Although I was able to return to work the next day, I spent the rest of the week with an inflated left cheek, which looked ridiculous.

Fortunately, my students showed concern, although I did get told that I looked like a hamster saving food for the winter by one particularly erudite year 9 lad!

On the Thursday, I hosted a meeting after school for the parents of students going on the trip that I am organising to Krakow and Auschwitz. We will depart in early July and everything is now in place for the trip to go ahead.

The aim of parents’ evening was to introduce myself and go through the itinerary for the trip, which looks fantastic. The meeting went smoothly and the parents seemed satisfied that the trip would be a memorable experience for their children.

In addition to this, I have been given a new role in school, which I will write about in more detail in a future diary entry. This took me out of school on Wednesday, meaning that I had to set cover work for my classes that day.

At the start of the week, I looked at my packed diary and, for the first time this year, wondered if I had taken too much on. What is worse, is that I even toyed with cancelling my hospital appointment. Luckily, I very quickly realised that this would have been foolish. My health and wellbeing is important and must take equal priority.

Instead, so help me get through, I drew up a very clear plan of everything that needed to be done and then slowly ticked off my list over the course of the week.

The key was to prioritise everything that was urgent and to worry less about those tasks that could wait – chipping away at the smaller jobs whenever I had a free minute.

By the end of the week, I left school with seven sets of key stage 3 assessments in my bag, exhausted but relieved that everything had gone according to plan.

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


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