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An NQT's desperate cry for help!

Discussion in 'Personal' started by sefletcher92, May 3, 2017.

  1. sefletcher92

    sefletcher92 New commenter

    I started my NQT year in September and of course, as expected I have had all the wobbles necessary for the first year of my stress induced life (or so it seems). However, recently I have found myself thinking "am I in the wrong profession?". When I was training to become a teacher I loved every minute of this busy and stressful life style. Although, it was the hardest year of my life, I actually felt the rewards and formed some amazing bonds with both staff and children, which is something I have struggled with in my NQT year. I completed my PGCE in the Lake District in the North of England and trained in small schools with mixed year classes and the staff turn over was little to none each year. The children were polite and respectful and and wanted to please. I now live in East London and my view of teaching has dropped. I love where I live, I love the children and I love the school, but I can't help but think that I have made the wrong choice. I feel in a rut. I feel stuck and nothing that I am doing is good enough. I feel I rarely get complimented on what I am doing, but they are more than happy to call me out on what I am doing wrong. I have made amazing friends and I wouldn't swap that for the world. I am so lucky with the people I have around me. My class are incredibly sweet and I love teaching them! They respect me but I can't help but shake the feeling that they don't like me. They're not willing to secure that bond with me like the children from my PGCE. Maybe I am viewed different now I am a qualified teacher.

    Is it normal to feel this way? Should I be feeling this overwhelmed and lost in my career in my first year?

    I understand that my training and this year are incomparable because of the differences but I thought I would see the benefits of both. I don't. I want to small northern schools in the heart of London.

    I know this is not really a real conversation or question, but I just wanted to know if any other NQTs feel the same. Have you noticed a significant drop in enjoyment? Are you struggling?

    Appeal to my desperate cry for help and help a teacher out! I'm lost and lonely in the big L town!
  2. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Clearly you don't love it all if you think you've mad a mistake.

    I wonder how much you're viewing the past through rose tinted glasses and if you have considered that you'll probably have different pupils next year and that you won't "bond" with every class and every pupil you ever teach.
    thistledoo, minnie me and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  3. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    You have had a huge change of environment so it is no wonder you feel wobbly. Your mentor should be motivating you so it seems like you are unlucky there. Everyone is so busy they probably are not aware. Keep plodding on and give yourself treats for getting through the day to reward yourself. Good luck!
  4. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    I think your feelings are quite normal in the circumstances.
    Stick out the year, maybe do one more. The move on if you still feel it is not for you. It is a draining job and there are so so many pressures on teachers now.
  5. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    So true - there have been classes where I would have taken them all home with me and was really sad at the end of the year. Other classes I been very happy to say goodbye to with a cheery smile!
    That is all you should expect - respect. You are there to teach - not be their friend.
    I'm not an NQT - in fact the other end of the spectrum as I've retired. :) If you want to share experiences with other NQTs you're more likely to meet them on the New Teachers forum.

    All the best. :)
  6. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    Or go now if you like but, it is worth having that NQT year under your belt because qualified teacher status is useful in other walks of life.
  7. install

    install Star commenter

    Get out of London - try a school in an area that makes you feel more connected. It maybe that you need to look for a school in the Lake District where you did your PGCE - you might even check with any contacts you have there and let them know how much you miss the place...

    Good luck and remember you know what makes you tick and the environment that you feel most happy in. So choose to be happy and around people that you can connect with.
  8. Mr_Ed

    Mr_Ed Established commenter

    I'm sorry, I totally disagree with this. London - as with other areas of the south, has much more money spent on it than places like the Lake District. More importantly, in London, most pupils aren't English & even if born in England their parents were not. Consequently, they are pushed by 'tiger mums' to strive to do their best and in fact, they are making English kids look bad.

    We really should take a leaf out of China's book, when PISA come a calling China send in results from Shanghai, not the whole of China. We should do the same and send in the results for London, not the whole of the UK.

    I bet we would do better!
    emerald52 likes this.
  9. install

    install Star commenter

    Being happy in your job and with your life always comes first - whether that be London or elsewhere.

    Embrace your happy and healthy side - it is not always about money, money, money..
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
  10. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Maybe you loved the PGCE because it was finite? Or because you could share the experience with other trainees? Or the schools were just nicer and friendlier because they were smaller? Or because there are so many possibilities for the future when you're preparing for it, but it ends up being as bit of a letdown?

    Why do you feel as though you're in a rut - because you feel you're not getting anywhere with your class? Or your colleagues? Or you feel like you've gone backwards as a teacher? Where do you think you should be, in terms of your teaching ability?

    Children are a product of their environments. My second PGCE placement school was in a very deprived area, and that was reflected in the students - they didn't trust 'outsiders', and were used to being abandoned by adults (so many parents were in prison, on drugs, etc.). They were very wary of me at first, then after a lot of hard work were ok, then when they knew I was leaving the shut down again. Are your students like this?

    I absolutely hated my NQT year last year - left part way through, finished it this year. Didn't experience any of what you are though, I had other issues.

    I think you just got lucky on your PGCE, and right now maybe you are not in the right school for you. If you move on at some point you may find the right school in London, or you may not. You can but try!
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Lake District to London? Wow. Big leap.

    In a rut? Unusual feeling for NQT year.

    So many conflicting ideas. You love it. You don't love it. You want a small school with a stable been-there-forever staff? But in London? Hmmm.

    I just feel there's more going on here than job-dissatisfaction. A lot more.
  12. Calpurnia99

    Calpurnia99 Star commenter

    JUSTASIF the comments of someone who did her Probationary Year in 1979 bears any relevance beyond how damned itchy those horsehair crinoline petticoats are - but:
    the first year is in some ways the best (loadsasupport and time off) and the worst (the rest of your nowlife doing planning etc which I can tell you now has a shelf life shorter than lettuce).
    Have a sit down with yrslf and ask what do I want (maybe just stick to job to avoid over-complcation).
    Work-life balance is not all that to anyone who hasn't got much on the life side anyway. Could you be a person who accpets this and bungs it all in work?
    Cos unless you have something else, you're resenting work time because there isn't much you like about social time, or maybe vice versa.
    Maybe try and improve first the quantity of social time (YES YOU CAN) and then refine it to a couple of qualty occasions you value the company of.
    Sorry sounds preachy but i found myself in London n 1979 and had to DO something. And then had tom DO IT AGAIN when stranded 200 miles away with a baby two years later.
    I know you have to earn a living but there are Other Hours.
  13. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    You were bound to build up stronger relationships with the staff and children in a small, rural school with small classes, where you were not teaching a full timetable.
    If you were working in a similar environment again, you'd notice the difference with extra planning, teaching and assessment responsibilities.

    You remember the compliments that you got when training because you were being observed more and the observer's job was to give you feedback and support. As an NQT you are mainly working on your own and it's the mentor's job to flag up your weaknesses so that you can come good by the end of the Induction period.

    As you like your life in London perhaps you should be looking to teach in a smaller school, possibly in the private sector, after your NQT year. Or how about commuting out of London to a village school?
    emerald52 and thistledoo like this.
  14. vannie

    vannie Star commenter

    Maybe we should stop sending children from rural communities to school at all. Seems to work in China. I mean, look at the PISA scores. Data doesn't lie.
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  15. vannie

    vannie Star commenter

    NQT Year was a bit of a dark night of the soul for me. I did quite well on my PGCE. So well, in fact, that actually having to do the job day in, day out, came as a total shock. I could do all the elements, just not necessarily at the same time. I sucked. As a trainee, don't forget, you are benefitting from being in a class where the groundwork has been done for you. Somebody else has laid the foundations, trained the children and established the rules. It's a bit different when you have to start from scratch. And completely exhausting. I remember crying in my stationery cupboard more than once. It passes. It gets better. You get better at the massive juggling act. You start to see what the priorities are. Assuming you started in September you are nearly done. Lots of NQTs don't get as far as this. So well done. Cut yourself some slack. You've done your best, the children will move on. If you stay at your current school next year they'll probably be throwing their arms around you and saying you were their best teacher ever.
    emerald52 and thistledoo like this.
  16. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    There is a reason many if not most ads for the better jobs in teaching demand at least two year's experience.
    That is because we were ALL rubbish in that time, sometimes brilliant.....but finding our teaching personality through trial and error, sweat and too much irrelevant nonsense.

    It does take those years to work a lot of it out, the kids, the methods and knowing which paperwork to bin. (About 90%)

    So you are probably just going through a downward wave which is perfectly normal. Soon the wave will go up again and then your job is to balance the waves.

    Not easy and we all still can sink from time to time.

    Indeed, unless you can accept this (high waves, low waves) then you will never survive in the profession.
    emerald52 and thistledoo like this.
  17. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I still enjoy the teaching process but I try and keep part of my life separate from it.

    If you can't do that then you will be very unhappy,
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  18. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Well I think you were being very naïve if you thought the transition from Lakes to London would not bring its own challenges in addition to life as an NQT rather than a trainee ! Perhaps stop thinking of everything in terms of 'amazing ' and ' bonding ' and the need to be ' valued ' . You say you love the school / children / your location - how lucky are you ? !
  19. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Two things.

    1. I trained in Cumbria and then moved to the East of England. The shock of it, going from an area of such beauty to ... well an area of not much beauty... yeah took me a long time to adjust. And I still have to go the Lakes twice/thrice a year to reclaim a little chunk of my soul. East London? Yurgh!

    2. They respect you but you worry they don't like you?

    Is that really important? They respect you... well done job done, excellent. Like you? Really?

    Maybe it's the choice of language but that just seems odd to me.
  20. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    That reads as a heartfelt plea @sefletcher92 but I'm asking myself - what did you expect exactly?
    Does this mean you are not experiencing the same 'bonds' with staff and children as when you were training?

    This next statement is a key one:
    I am a 'dinosaur' and so far away from an NQT year as you can get as I have retired but these two statements flag up what is different - there are now other considerations as you are no longer training. You are now a permanent member of staff, your mentor should be guiding you towards what the school wants and expects... during training you are allowed more flexibility... bringing ideas and people praise you more. As an NQT in a different school, their expectations will be different and everyone is busy. It is unfortunate that as a way of life people forget to praise and yes, often only 'flag up' what could be done better.
    You are also new, enthusiastic and want to do well, again, unfortunately because of this some staff look past all the brilliant things you are doing and look at what you aren't doing or could be doing... because you are otherwise doing okay!

    Talk to your mentor. Finish your NQT year and perhaps one more and if you still feel the same and remember- if nothing is said about what you do - it's okay!
    emerald52 likes this.

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