A week in the life of an NQT

29th July 2005 at 01:00
Monday. Pupils talking over register. Minor rebuke, dealt with using humour. Steven uses bad language loudly and clearly. Tell him: "Next time you'll write it down and I'll post it to your dad."

Break.Very bad language during football game.

Sean constantly tipping back on chair despite rebukes. Told he will stand for the rest of the lesson.

Lunch. Two pupils squaring up to each other. Firm and loud shout gains their attention. They are told to go separate ways.

A pupil sent out of a lesson for bad behaviour. Teacher asks me to watch her for a moment.


English class too noisy, some pupils off-task. Pupils told every sound they make will take a minute off breaktime.

Pupils have made three sounds. They are told they can work off those three minutes by giving two more minutes' silence for each minute lost. Pupils give six minutes' silence, no need for detention.

Overhear noisy class, with cover teacher not in control. I step in. Tell class their behaviour is unacceptable.

Daryl says: "This lesson is a waste of time." I say: "Possibly for you - but then your attendance is so appalling most lessons are a waste of time for you." Daryl grunts.

Pupil comes to me to demand that I "sort out Matt", a persistent problem pupil. He's told to go back to his lesson and take the issue up with the class teacher. "Oh, and don't tell me what to do."


Pupils begin lesson very disruptively, unable to focus. Class reminded how much they are underachieving because of poor attitude.

Break. Pupil shouts down corridor, swearing loudly. Made to sit through my next lesson writing a short essay on "How and why are we judged by the way we speak?"

Pupils running around drama studio at start of lesson. Sent to head of department for major rebuke.

Pupil talking over another pupil. Pupil asked to stand, listen to what his classmate says and then repeat and explain it in detail.


Pupils late for tutor period. Given break and lunch detention for persistent lateness.

Break. Pupils talk about starting a fight on the playground. Firm shout gains their attention. They are told to separate and given an immediate detention.

Few pupils present. Others very late. All pupils told to sit in silence for 10 minutes and explain in writing why they were late.

Pupil objects to a task and refuses to do it. Sent to senior management with a note.

Bad language used far too freely in lesson. Pupils told to start speaking with a wider vocabulary.

Incident at lunch between two Year 7 pupils. They have been throwing water around and could easily have damaged examination artwork. Pupils taken to art department to see the head of art and the pupil whose work is undamaged but could have been. Pupils made to tidy and clean art area. Letter sent home to parents, pupils suspended for one day.

Pupil very late for lesson. Usual "last teacher made me late" excuse.

Letter sent home as this is a persistent problem and I have already spoken to the other teacher.


Pupil chases another around the studio when class is working. Both pupils lose breaktime and made to read the health and safety policy.

Pupil makes inappropriate joke about paedophiles. Pupil given heavy rebuke and told why this is not a subject for humour. Class discussion about the issue to re-inforce its seriousness.

Pupils mess around while waiting in line to leave lesson. Told to stand in silence or they will not be allowed to leave. Dismissed one at a time.

Pupils in lesson making a lot of noise as I am talking to a pupil outside.

Simply standing in the door and watching them quietens and refocuses them on the task.

Minor giggling during pupils' work. Pupils asked to stand outside the room and in the corner of the room for rest of lesson. Pupils held at end of day and warned a note is going to their tutor who will decide if a head's detention is needed.

Colin Ward teaches drama at Barr's Hill school, Coventry. Pupils' names have been changed.

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