Don't do what I did

3rd July 2009 at 01:00
They were happy to spend all their time in the company of me and my sweets

It was October, so very near the beginning of my graduate teacher programme training year, and I had a lot to learn.

This was my first school trip and I made my first mistake as soon as I took my seat - at the very front behind the driver. Myself and another student settled ourselves in and happily chatted, munched our sweets and ignored everybody else all the way there.

Then I found myself the co-conspirator with two Year 6 girls in the secret stash of Haribos. My pockets were the biggest, so the obvious conclusion was that they should come with me, as it was the best hiding place. No wonder the other teachers were curious as to why these girls took such a shine to me. This was the first time we had met, but they were happy to spend all their time in the company of me and my sweets.

The next day I went to talk to the head about the trip. I expounded the virtues of children being allowed to "play" and chill out, and told her how I thought they should have a bit of free time on school trips.

A few years later, my perception has changed. I now realise that the boss sits at the front on school trips and I should have taken the opportunity to mingle with the students I had not met before. I have also learnt from experience that Haribos make children hyperactive.

Lastly, I now know that children do not go on trips to chill out, play or have free time. All the learning objectives take priority so they can fill the rest of the week talking and writing about what they have learnt in order to make beautiful displays and squeeze every drop from the expensive trip.

The writer is a secondary teacher in Birmingham. Email your NQT experiences to If we publish your story, you will receive Pounds 50 in Mamp;S vouchers.

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