My first formal observation as an NQT

NQT observation jitters? You are not alone. Read on to learn how Mr Levick channeled calm during his first NQT observation, in this NQT diary entry.

Observation nerves

The day had finally come and the nerves were beginning to kick in. Even though I’d spent every week of my PGCE year getting observed, this seemed different. This seemed, strangely, like more pressure. My mentor had been into my class previously for informal observations and had given me pointers on how to improve. Now, I had to prove I’d taken this feedback on board and factor it into my practice.

The build-up

As is the case with most school days, the normal routine had to be changed. We had a Judo workshop that morning, and so by the time my observation came around the children were bouncing. Luckily for me, this is when I love to teach them. I settled them down ready for a lesson on the Ancient Greek alphabet – a lesson they had specifically requested after using some of the letters in a pottery design. My class love to learn, and I always want to use their interests to drive my lessons.

The observation

My mentor arrived just as I began my input. After a comment that I was ‘too energetic’, I managed to employ a calmer style whilst still being me.

Balancing out feedback with maintaining your own identity as a teacher is something I hold very important.

Overall, the lesson went well. The content was interesting, the children were on task and I even managed to give out some extra challenges for the quick finishers. It was strange, because I don’t really remember the lesson. It was like an out of body experience, where autopilot kicked in. Yet, I felt positive.

Feeding Back

After the lesson, I thanked my mentor (and my class), and arranged a meeting for after school to receive my feedback. I was a little apprehensive, as I’m sure we all are. Obviously I want to learn and improve, and I’m grateful for any feedback, but there’s always the worry you’re going to hear something catastrophically bad. I was so thankful the feedback was positive, with very specific targets of how to improve. It was actually a really lovely and rewarding experience, and one I could use directly in my teaching practice.

Moving Forward

After all the nerves, it felt so great to be told I was doing a good job. I was making good progress, and had the next steps I could take to continue to improve.  I have also asked my mentor to come in twice next half term for informal observations – to see how I am implementing feedback and provide me with further advice before my next formal observation. It’s a process I would definitely recommend, and has really helped me to improve my practice.

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About the author

Mr LevickMr Levick is a Year 5 teacher, working in the primary school he himself attended. After studying for both a BA and an MA in English Literature, it was a work placement with a literary charity that gave him a glimpse into the world of education. Now he’s looking to dismantle patriarchy, decolonise the curriculum and destroy heteronormativity in the classroom. He does all of this in bold trousers and funky socks, aiming to be one of the #TrendyTeachers.

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