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Appreciative of her lot

"I'm a female teacher at an all-boys school so I had a few concerns about how I'd manage before the year started. Certainly, my friends found the prospect hilarious. But once the year got into full swing, I was too busy to worry much about it.

"And now? Well, corners of displays are coming down, I'm relying far too heavily on a video of Much Ado About Nothing, and waves of tiredness hit me like a Year 7 at full pelt - they don't look where they're going, these boys. But all in all, so far it's been pretty good.

"Mind you, that's with a very energetic and helpful department behind me. A supportive atmosphere seems to be as important to doing well this year as the standard of your work, so I'm doubly appreciative of my lot, and relieved that I got my first job in this school.

"The second assessment stage of my NQT year isn't far away, so I've been reviewing my targets. I still don't feel comfortable being observed while I'm teaching, but I think I mind it a lot less this year. It may be that I'm growing in confidence, but I think it's because I can see more of a point to being observed now.

"With the PGCE observations, a lot of my targets, like tone of voice, were things that only come with a little practice. This year, my targets seem a lot more focused and specific to my teaching, such as making my lesson objectives more punchy and succinct.

"I think that in the course of trying to improve my teaching and meet the expectations of pupils and colleagues, targets that are appropriate, like those that my mentor and I set together, will be met quite naturally."

Katie Brophy is an English NQT at Watford boys school, Hertfordshire

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