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Advice for trainee math teacher regarding secondary or middle school

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by madroswellfan, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. Hey all,
    I'm a trainee math teacher, half way through a SCITT at a secondary school.
    However, Ive been told I'm much better at Year 7 and 8 and not so at 9-11. I love teaching 7s & 8s as I feel that above this the students become rather cocky and I'm not good at controlling their behavior. I can deal with year 8's and all is going well there, but I've been told by my base school to 'think seriously if this trainee course is for you'
    Should I be sticking out the year when my base school is trying to convince me to leave? (Though I change schools in febuary until easter)
    Should I be looking at stopping my course now and then next year doing a middle school trainee program?
    If I completed my secondary SCITT would I be able to teach at a middle school?
    Would appreciate any advice given (since no one has really given me actual advice - it feels like I'm being pushed to do what others tell me!)
    Many Thanks!

  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Only you can decide what is best for you, but it is not unusual for new or trainee teachers to feel out of their depth with older children. Essentially they are picking up on your nervousness and feeding off it. They know you feel ill at ease and they try and get away with things.
    The good news is that - if you are willing to work at it - these things disappear. The bad news is that there are going to be times when you feel nothing is working and that it is all hell and that you are useless. That also is normal and you just have to grit your teeth and get through it.
    I would suggest that you talk to your mentor at the school and at your trainee establishment and set up a program of things that you should be doing with regular observations. Try them out at the school you are at and learn from the mistakes that you make. Continue with the program in your new school - bearing in mind that they do not know your past record - so that you are starting with a clean slate and already a few steps ahead of the game.
    Grit your teeth and get on with it. If you listen to advice and learn from your mistakes you will definitely succeed.
  3. The first thing I will ask is how old are you? I've seen lots of young trainees finding years 9-11 difficult, it is difficult when they seem so near in age to you and they're cocky and full of hormones (I'm very glad I was 26 when I starter teaching!). I would say stick with it, ask for support with your behaviour management issues and see how you go in your next placement. I can honestly say it does get easier!
  4. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    To answer one of your questions as a secondary qualified person you can teach in a middle school. Middle schools rock! However there are fewer and fewer around to try and get jobs in!
  5. Thank you so much for your replies, I wasn't sure anyone would let alone get so nice, friendly responses :)
    I was really upset yesterday since my school basically said to 'think about your future and if this is right for you', so seeing these messages has really helped to make me feel a bit better.
    The head of the maths trainees at my provider does know I'm struggling, but like responses here has told me to stick it out. I'm 23, so yes it would make sense that the older students see me as being too close to their own age, particularly as I do look younger than my age according to most people.
    Thank you again for all your wonderful replies, and I will certainly post again now i know how wonderful everyone on this site is!

  6. paulie86

    paulie86 New commenter

    Middle schools do in deed rock! Don't think of them as always the easy option though. I work in one in a fairly rough catchment area. The behaviour can be very challenging.(althoigh I still love working there.) NQT year could be tougher, most subject specialists have to teach at least one additional subject and have a form group. (My peers who went secondary did neither of these two things in secondary.
    I would always say go for the middle school job, I am biased though! Just don't go into one expecting them to be around forever. Mine is closing into 2 years time and I am gutted!
  7. Hello there,
    Yes, I'd echo what the others have said. Most trainees and NQTs find year 7 & 8 easier - in fact so do most experienced teachers! I find year 7s are significantly easier to 'behaviour-manage' than year 11, even down to basics such as them tending to have far neater uniform and their tendency to get homework in on time.
    I wouldn't swap courses part way. Finish it, and then look for jobs in middle schools. I am secondary trained but got a middle school job teaching years 5-8. Since middle schools often cover a bit of KS3, they tend to like secondary teachers. Or, you can apply only for schools without sixth forms and teach yrs 7-11, bearing in mind that schools often give NQTs lower age ranges, and the bulk of exam classes are likely to be given to more experienced teachers.
    Also consider that the kids WILL play up as you are not their permanent teacher. It is loads better when you ahve your own class for a year and get to know them.
    Good luck and don't worry!

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