From NQT to QT, and fun all the way

I last posted on the leadership of NQTs’ professional development here ‘Training NQTs the Woodhouse way…not’.

The particular cohort of NQTs I had in mind then are now making their final approaches to the landing strip titled… well, what do we call teachers who are no longer newly qualified? Are they QTs?

Their final task, after all their mini action enquiries, their blogging and their coaching was to produce a ‘CPD Review’. Reluctant as I was to predetermine what they would in the end produce, I set out the merest success criteria: it should describe their learning journey, it should be prepared and presented collaboratively, it should be substantial and it should be fun. I created an audience for them too: their mentors, ASTs, members of SLT, the professional tutor who had seen many of them through their PGCE year and – perhaps most significantly – the succeeding generation of NQTs whose first day at school this would be. Not trusting my own catering acumen, I got the school chef to lay on some fruit and cold drinks. I hope I managed to create something of an occasion for them. Perhaps I should have videoed it – but then again, one of the new NQTs seemed to have his cameraphone out, so I reckon most of it was captured for their grandchildren anyway.

What did their Review consist of? They produced a booklet containing snapshots of post-its their students had written about them: ‘Some up my lessons in one word’, ‘What’s my catchphrase?’, ‘Which was my most memorable lesson?’ They talked about the blogging they had been engaged in all year, how several were reluctant at first but had then been thrilled as their posts got shared with other teachers in the school and even further afield via twitter. They spoke of their Appreciative Enquiries, where they had focused on an area of strength rather than a weakness, and investigated how they could get more out of it. They reflected on their other enquiries, how they had observed colleagues for literacy, AfL and independent learning strategies, and applied these to their own practice. And, hilariously, they reenacted what not to do on your first parents’ evening. (N.B. It’s always a good idea to use that squirty hygienic lotion for your hands, but not such a good idea to display it prominently on the table in front of you!)

Ultimately it is not possible to summarise all you have learned in one evening, but undoubtedly they did convey the effort they had put into their year’s development and, resoundingly, the tremendous fun they had along the way.