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NQTs' first term unveils miscellany of mischief

By the end of the first term, most new teachers expect to have acquired a register, a collection of whiteboard markers and a slightly frayed temper - but for some NQTs the job has offered the chance to start a more idiosyncratic collection.

Newcomers on the TES online staffroom forum have been comparing notes on the unexpected items they have confiscated during their first term.

One writer said: "Taken off a Year 8 girl today: a 'surpriser' - it's a small, battery-operated device which, when switched on, emits laughter. The rest of my department thought it was hilarious."

For a struggling NQT desperate to make ends meet, such collections offer an obvious entrepreneurial opportunity. The same writer asks whether he would be entitled to keep and sell the item if the pupil didn't claim it back.

Others found that teacher-training did not prepare them for the proclivities of 13-year-olds. Another writer on the forum lists among her contraband some cigars confiscated from Year 8 pupils who were celebrating a sports-day win. Another now owns a pair of genuine police handcuffs, previously the property a Year 9 pupil.

That pupil was, at least, on the right side of the law, but other NQTs report having to seize flick-knives and six-inch nails. And more unconventional weaponry has been found.

"I took a jar of cinnamon off a Year 10 boy," said one writer. "He was throwing it all over the place."

But teenagers are not the only ones drawn to novelty and gadgetry. One new teacher gloated over the latest item in her collection. "I've got a fab pen. You fold a few bits of plastic out here and there - and hey presto, you have a basketball net and balls."

But without the pupil's help, its full range of functions remains a mystery.

"I've yet to work it all out," she said.

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