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Lynn Wylie gets through her first parents' evening

I was nervous at our Year 11 parents' evening. there I was, a fresh-faced NQT looking like a 21-year-old, never having spoken to a parent on my own before. Colleagues had given me lots of advice, including how to get rid of the parents when things started to get too sticky.

The first arrived and I shuffled through my notes of coursework grades, mock exam grades, targets. After what felt like an hour, the parent left and I seemed to be making the right noises as he shook my hand. I wiped my brow and smiled invitingly at the next.

"You look very young to be a teacher. Are you fully qualified to teach my child?" she started. My smile faltered.

"And have you been in a school before, or is this your first experience in a school setting?" You mean aside from my 11 years' compulsory education and my two block practices on my PGCE?

Again, I answered yes, this time a little less politely. I was starting to worry - the child's mother was clearly getting into full swingand had settled herself comfortably with a list of questions. I managed to direct the focus away from me and on to her child, but she deftly brought it back to me again. It was then that I remembered the good advice I had been given.

I waited for her to take a breath, stuck my hand out and said: "very nice to meet you, thanks for coming." There was a look of bemusement on her face. I held on to the cold, metal legs of my chair, bracing myself for the inevitable torrent. It didn't happen. Contritely, she held out her hand, shook mine, thanked me and left.

It took me a while to recover from being so brazen, but the moral is: listen to the good advice you receive, it may just save your life.

Lynn Wylie is an NQT at Bruntcliffe high school in Leedsl Are you a PGCE or BEd student, NQT or new classroom assistant? Want to earn pound;100? Write, no more than 450 words, to Jill Craven, Friday magazine, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BXEmail: jill.craven@tes.co.uk

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