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Advice wanted regarding NQT post

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by SanelyHelix, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. SanelyHelix

    SanelyHelix New commenter

    Hi all.

    I'm currently doing a PGCE in Primary Education (5-11) via the SD (unsalaried) route.

    First of all, I have to say that I am doing "well", inasmuch as all of my observed lessons have at least been graded as "good", as have all four of my APs (assessment points, which are filled in after each teaching phase by our mentors). I'm also doing okay with the academic side, having pleasantly surprised myself by getting a distinction in the first Level 7 assignment.

    At the minute, we are teaching around 50% of the time. This is when I'm happiest; being in the class with the children. It is very fulfilling and quite enjoyable, most of the time! I appreciate the teaching percentage will continue to increase, but I'm just about coping with that. Planning takes forever, but that is something that will get easier with time and experience.

    However, there are some negatives. I recently went for an interview at my main placement school - I suppose I should take it as a compliment that I got an interview, as there were over 20 applicants, and only four of us interviewed. However, after giving it my absolute everything, I was turned down. I'm not currently at my main placement, but I have to go back in a couple of weeks. It'll be a little bit awkward, but hey, life gives you lemons sometimes.

    I have to admit that the experience - not just the interview, but the PGCE year in general - has seriously demotivated me. I need you to understand that I'm not someone who came into teaching as a second-choice career option. I've wanted to teach since I was 7 or 8 years old. But having been exposed to (just some of) the pressures of the job, which will only become greater, I'm seriously reconsidering whether I want to do this as a career.

    I'm going to complete my PGCE - at the end of the day, it's a great qualification to have, and it's "there" should I ever want to pursue a teaching career later in life. But right now, my gut instinct is telling me to look elsewhere come the summer.

    Basically, what I need from you guys is a look into your experiences as an NQT. Does it get better? I imagine having your own classroom, and not always feeling like a third wheel, would make it more bearable. Plus, I know I won't be being observed to within an inch of my life every time I teach - meaning I can cut back on trying to deliver a "wow" lesson and just focus on doing the necessaries. So, what are your experiences of your NQT year? Any advice welcomed!
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Firstly, did you get feedback from your placement school on why they didn't offer you the role? It could have been that the other candidate blew their socks off with their lesson and interview, or it could be that they thought the other person was a better fit with the department - either way, it just means it wasn't the right time and place for you, that is all, so don't read too much into it.

    Secondly, your NQT experience will totally depend on the school you end up in, the people you work with, and your NQT mentor - no pressure or anything! Choose carefully - try to speak to people who have worked/done placements in the schools you apply to, pay attention to your surroundings and the children's behaviour during the interview tour/lesson, check out the atmosphere in the staff room, the lesson times (if the school finishes about 2:50pm it's because of poor behaviour; if the lunch break is split it's because of poor behaviour), is your potential HOD in their mid-twenties with limited life, teaching and leadership experience? (if so, just say no!), most of all, trust your gut.

    Your first year will be exhausting and emotional. The term up to Christmas is so long - it gets dark and cold, you get more and more tired, as do the kids, but you still have to go on... You'll have a massively increased timetable, plus meetings and parents' evenings. You won't have anyone in the classroom watching you like a hawk, but that also means you're on your own with tricky students. Make sure you're in a supportive school, with colleagues who like to collaborate.

    Don't make any decisions now about jobs and the NQT year right now. Wait until you feel ready. I didn't get my NQT job until the June - right at the end of the PGCE - because I felt so pressured by the enormity of the decision. (I made the wrong decision, incidentally, and endured a horrendous NQT year, but am now in a lovely school).
    thatmaninthehat likes this.
  3. SanelyHelix

    SanelyHelix New commenter

    Thanks for your reply, blueskydreaming.

    The headteacher said that, on the day, it was such a close-run thing, and that it was settled by the fact the other candidate had written a better application. She said my taught lesson was great and my face-to-face interview was really strong. I certainly felt I did my best and it appears she thought so, too - I just guess the other person did even better than I did! I can accept that, and they've offered to help me write further applications for positions elsewhere as they do genuinely want me to get a job in education! I was just saddened not to get a role I wanted in a school I enjoy working at.

    As I say, I am going to complete the course. That gives me plenty of time to think! I'm not one of those people who thinks I HAVE to have a teaching job sorted by a certain time, as I realise I can do supply next year for a short time, or even look for a full-time role for Christmas, etc.

    Thanks for your advice!
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  4. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    You need to take a wider perspective on the whole job application process. Few people land their first interview and there are positive advantages to getting a wider experience of schools anyway.
    You are correct in being clear about what you are looking for in a school. Induction is demanding and you need to be sure about the training and support you will receive during the year.
    Good luck
  5. NicoleK

    NicoleK New commenter

    Firstly- I am in wonder at a primary school getting 20 applications for a job! We got 3 for the first one we advertised and none for the second one.

    In our area, students are the ones in powerful positions. Schools are falling over each other to get students on a contract for September as fast as possible before someone else snaps them up, because the shortage is so bad. They are even employing people when they don't have a vacancy because the fear of not being fully staffed for Sept is that bad. Essentially, if someone hands in their notice in May, we will never get anyone to replace them. This shortage has lead to schools making very sure they keep staff happy by supporting them in the right way. Someone leaving is everyone's worst nightmare!

    They gave you great feedback, just keep looking. The right school is around the corner.
  6. kennykoalabear

    kennykoalabear New commenter

    Please let me know which area you are in, all the jobs I have applied to so far have had around 100 applications according to the schools!
  7. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    In most of London and the South East there is a shortfall of candidates hence only a few applicants per post. As you go further North and West there tends to be more competition particularly in areas with large numbers of ITT providers such as the North West
  8. gwest91

    gwest91 New commenter

    If you think teaching is something you may want to do in the future I'd advise you to get your NQT year done. You have 5 years to complete it. It is often difficult and a lot of people do struggle but it will mean you can always go back to it and you may find that you're in a great school and you do want to continue. Be very choosy about the school you work in though as an NQT year in a school where they're not willing to give you the support required can make for a very unpleasant year and may force you out of teaching completely when all you needed was to find a school that was a better fit for you. Once you have completed your NQT year you can also work as a supply teacher which might be better suited to you. Look into your options carefully and although it might be awkward you may want to discuss your options with your mentor. Have a look on here for advice on going into supply and alternative careers to see if anything stands out to you https://teachinggems.wordpress.com/
  9. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    The 5 year limit for completing the NQT year no longer exists. You cannot do supply after 5 years if you have not completed your NQT year.
  10. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    To clarify the 5 year rule applies to day to day supply and any post of a term or longer whether via supply agencies or direct can count towards induction. The regulations only apply to the maintained sector. Academies and independents can choose not to do induction.

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