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Anyone else hating it?

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by Piscean1, Sep 17, 2017.

  1. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Occasional commenter

    Primary NQT. I hate teaching so far. The planning expectations at my school are ridiculous (detailed written plans for every lesson) and I'm working over 80 hours a week (89 last week) but still not getting everything done. I'm doing more paperwork per lesson than I did as a trainee. I'm exhausted. I don't feel supported. My class are very behind academically and also exhibit the most challenging behaviours in the school. I've got three children who really struggle and am getting a new child on Monday who apparently also struggles to behave. All people keep saying to me is that it will get better. My TA spends more time tidying, organising and generally avoiding her job than actually doing what I've asked of her and supporting learning.

    We're single form so I don't have a year partner. I was told there was plenty of planning from last year to use. There is none that is particularly usable. It's a couple of sentences at best with no resources and a lot of it pitched too high for my class. Every time there's a meeting (all the time!), more boxes get added to planning proformas and more things squeezed onto timetables or a subject leader decides they want a whole different marking policy just for their subject. I've had enough. Nobody has actually sat down and gone through the marking policy as yet.

    I know I just need to make it through the year and then change schools but I cannot keep working like this. All day, every day. I'm the first to arrive, the last to leave then there's more to do when I get home. Weekends are a thing of the past. I have said to my mentor and my head that I am struggling. It has been brushed off with "It gets better." and "You do have to work long hours in teaching."

    Just needed to vent. I've never wanted to do anything but teach. I've spent years as a TA and did not go into this blind but now I don't see myself staying past this year. What other careers are there? If I was to resign in time for Christmas, how do I explain that to other schools if I decide to move elsewhere?
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Hi! Sorry you feel like this.

    You need to take control - write down a list of 'demands', and by that I mean a list of things you need support with (you say you don't feel supported). For starters, having the marking policy explained to you. Support with behaviour. Ideas for making planning easier, such as websites with appropriate resources (sorry I can't recommend as I don't teach primary). Email the list to your mentor and KS leader (or whatever it's called), and bcc yourself on your private email.

    Contact your union for advice. Is there a union rep at school? Keep details of everything.

    Be clear in your instructions with the TA - I want you to sit with this group for 15 minutes and xyz...

    Prioritise your work - planning lessons (as in knowing what you're doing and having the resources, does anyone even read these detailed lesson plans?), marking the key work (English, maths). Do not work past a certain point in the day.

    You cannot go on like this. You are doing harm to your health. Your school must recognise this, otherwise you will end up signed off long term.
  3. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Occasional commenter

    Thank you. The planning has to be on the server for the start of the week and is (apparently) scrutinised by SLT. It also has to be printed off and put in a folder.

    Our Maths lead in particular is very anti-using resources not made specifically for our children.. Which is fine for them as they only teach maths so they have all the time in the world to focus on it but the rest of us mere mortals also have to plan and teach the rest of the curriculum. Lessons for during my PPA and NQT time are taking ages to plan because they have to be absolutely idiot proof. My cover struggles to use a computer and called me back because she couldn't work out how to get onto the next slide the other week.

    There is no union rep in school.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Take blue sky dreaming as wise advice as you cannot continue in the same manner or you will become ill. Do everything she writes.

    You are learning how to manage others as well as yourself. Give clear instructions to your TA. If she goes off task tidying the room, gently direct her back to the task you want done with the children.

    Today as your first priority make up your mind that you will not work another 89 hour week. Go onto the internet and print off one of those timetables people use to plan their week Monday to Sunday with the times on it and fill it in allowing yourself time for breaks and proper sleep. Ensure you get enough sleep and take off one complete day on the weekend. You are feeling overwhelmed because you are exhausted. If you can start working reasonable hours and get support with some of the other things concerning you, you can get through this year. However, you must stop working 89 hours each week as of this moment.

    You are entitled to help. Ask for it. As blueskydreaming said take control. First thing is for you today is to have a decent meal and ensure you go to bed early, so you are rested for tomorrow.
  5. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    You need to ask for help (as already said) and be specific about what that help needs to be.

    Do you have anyone other than a mentor to ask for help / advice

    Don't give up yet ...
    yellowflower, Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  6. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Not all schools are like your current one.

    I had two false starts before I found a school I liked.

    Start looking - what you have now is unsustainable
  7. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Occasional commenter

    Thank you for all your replies. I have stopped working tonight and am just about to do some reading in the bath. I think I just cannot see the wood for the trees at the moment. Peakster, how did you explain leaving at interviews? I've seen a job in a three form entry which interests me but I don't know how to justify applying for a job just weeks after starting this one.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    Your school is not like all schools. The planning requirements sound absurd. See how you feel by October and if it's still unsustainable then you can hand in your notice at October half term to leave at Christmas. Plenty of people change schools mid year for various reasons, so I can't see anyone raising an eyebrow. In your case I think you'd be perfectly justified in saying that you want to move to a larger school where you can have year partners and more opportunity to learn from colleagues rather than teaching in isolation.

    In the meantime, you have to do what you need to do to survive. You need at least one day off a week and you need to be getting proper sleep at night. You have to force yourself to switch off at a certain time in the evening, and whatever doesn't get done, doesn't get done. Make a list of 'must get done' and 'would like to get done' every morning and as long as you get the 'musts' done, the 'would likes' can wait. Avoid creating faffy resources that involve loads of laminating and cutting and general fiddling around - keep lessons simple and resources easy and quick to make. We all want to do amazing things in our classrooms every day but sometimes the effort just isn't worth the bother so be realistic about what you REALLY need to teach the lesson and forget the optional extras. This should save you quite a bit of time.

    Forget what other people say about not using plans not made for your kids - as you say, that's all very well for those without a class, or with years of experience and a bank of plans and resources built up over time. There is nothing wrong with using online resources - we all do it. Get yourself a login for ****** if you haven't got one already - I don't use it as I'm secondary, but I work in an all-through school and I know my primary colleagues swear by it. The lesson plans, powerpoints and resources are fabulous and you'll just have to do a few tweaks to make them ready for the needs of your particular students. These ****** lessons can be especially useful for cover to use as they really are idiot proof.

    Planning-wise, do the bare minimum. Top line learning objective and brief couple of sentence summary of lesson activities. Everything else can probably be copied and pasted from other plans. Copy and paste as much as you can - info about seating, SEN etc is what I mean here.

    Be more assertive with your TA. Give her a list every morning of what she needs to do during the day and politely redirect her if she tries to go off-plan. She needs to be supporting you and the children, not faffing around with pen pots.

    Also, speak to your mentor ASAP and flag that you're not coping. Explain what you need help with. As other commenters have said, put this in writing so you have a paper trail that proves you've asked for support should you need it further down the line.

    Good luck, and please don't give up!
  9. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    Just noticed I'm clearly not allowed to give the name of the website I recommended - I didn't know that! Basically it's what a star does in the sky and begins with 't'!
    alanwhyte and pepper5 like this.
  10. Chicken_madras

    Chicken_madras Occasional commenter

    Is there anyone you get on with you could confide in and ask how they manage?
    pepper5 likes this.
  11. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I left part way through my NQT year. I managed to get a new job, doing a maternity cover. I simply stated on my application that I was looking for somewhere I would be supported through the remainder of my NQT year.

    You could state that you are looking for a three form entry school, for example, in order to benefit from collaborative planning, or in order to have more opportunities to learn from good practice within your year group.

    It's not uncommmon to leave during the NQT year.

    Now go to bed!
    annarg and pepper5 like this.
  12. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    You need to remind your school of the Workload Guidance which emphasises collaborative planning and not having to have a lesson plan for every lesson. Talk this through with your mentor- as an NQT you should be getting support and guidance from the SMT to help you through your induction although from what you are saying it does not look like a very sustainable situation.
    You should discuss your concerns with the Appropriate Body who have the main QA responsibility for induction before considering your options.
    sabrinakat and pepper5 like this.
  13. tigi

    tigi Occasional commenter

    It does get better but there are plenty of schools that'll bleed you dry! I would personally try to push back with management, seek support and get through the year. If you can't improve the school you are in, try again. If you really feel that you could love teaching in the right circumstances, it's worth trying.
  14. GovernorD

    GovernorD New commenter

    I'm hating my job too, hate and can't do the behaviour policy and never have enough time to finish my workload. Loved first week, but am now exhausted, really don't like my class and when I get home am finding my own daughter to be very irritating too. I feel awful about it as it's taken 4 yrs to get here with lots of sacrifices and support from my family and friends, but I want to leave now and not go back. School is friendly but I just feel like I'm in a constant flap and don't know what the hell I'm doing. I left my PGCE as an outstanding student, but feel like an utter ******* now. UGH.
    I loved my placement schools but find this a real challenge.
    pepper5 and (deleted member) like this.
  15. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi GovernorD

    Reduce your work load - don't fanny about with making resources when you can go on web sites like this one to either download free ones or for a small amount of money buy ones. There are other marvellous web sites brimming with free things to use. What other part of the job apart from planning eats into your time? Marking? Find quicker ways to mark. Treat finding ways of saving time an art form.

    Which bits are you finding it difficult with the behaviour policy? Write down the bits you are finding challenging and go over to the Behaviour Forum where there is a TES behaviour peer ( can't think of the exact title), who has recently asked what behaviour concerns are people facing for this new year. Write to her and ask her. What do you have to lose?

    You are exhausted because you are trying to hard and therefore the exhaustion is leading to you thinking negatively which then affects your feelings which then affects your actions. That is why you are irritated with your daughter.

    Of course you are a flap and you don't know what you are doing. You have a big responsibility and you are just starting out - you are taking baby steps in teaching but soon you will be running but you have to give it time and take control.

    Prioritise your work. Make a list and label it A, B, C. A at things that must get done. B are things that need to be done but they can wait. C are things nice to do, but if you don't do them no one is going to be affected or you won't get into trouble for not doing them. Write your list each night before you go to bed for the next day and at the end of that day, cross off and add things and revise the list for the next day etc.

    Buy the Lazy Teachers Handbook if you haven't heard of it already. it contains tips for how to organise your time without cutting the quality of your work.

    This has been said before many times, but you must ensure you take ONE whole day off to rest your mind and be with your family. Go to bed at reasonable time and eat proper meals. If you don't you will roll down the road to burnout and ruin your health.

    You don't like your class? Make up your mind to like them as they are not the finished article yet. Take their little faults and accept them as who they are. Are they displaying bad manners or irritating habits? Teach them good manners by smiling and all the usual courtesy. Teach them the routines you want them to use. Sometimes we make assumptions about what our classes know and don't know.

    When they come into the class, greet them like you are pleased to see them. They are children and they need you. They need you to teach them subject matter but also how to behave in the world. You will find, perhaps that you will learn much more than they will.

    If you are in primary is there any one part of the day where you can relax with your class ( no, not drinking cokes and watching X Factor). Where you can do something that doesn't put so much pressure on them but they like? Perhaps read them a story or let them write in a journal and draw a picture to go with it.

    I am sure you will get there and trust you have a sparkling day today.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  16. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Senior commenter

    I'm stuck on this one... what a star does in the sky... beginning with t... thermonuclear reaction?! Doesn't sound like a website to me!
  17. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    It is the name of a well known nursery song....think of....like a diamond in the sky...
    annarg likes this.
  18. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Occasional commenter

    Just returning to update: Head basically told me it was my fault I'm struggling but that they will 'put things in place to support me' in the short term.

    The attitude over it was awful to be honest. It felt very much like a telling off. The situation is unsustainable and it is clearly not the right school for me. I felt suicidal the other day. I am making myself ill. I've emailed my union and I've made a doctor's appointment for today.

    Depending on what my union say, my current intention is to hand in my resignation this week and spend a couple of terms on supply to regain some confidence and see if I even actually still want to teach. Hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel.
    alanwhyte and pepper5 like this.
  19. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    You have done the right thing by contacting your doctor and emailing your union. It is an awful response from the school. but it does not surprise me.

    You won't get so much money on supply, but it will be a way for you to gain some more experience without the pressure and also to have a good look around different schools to see which one you might like to try again. All schools are not like the one you are at and it is not unusual for NQTs to have to move schools. If you decide to leave teaching, then supply is flexible so you would have time to have a look around for other jobs that might suit you. Don't worry about that now as that is too far into the future.

    When you get back on your feet, go over to the Supply Forum and see what threads might be of use to you. There are several very experienced primary supply teachers who post on there with many years of experience.

    There is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Don't forget the Samaritans and the Education Support Partnership are there to help as well - 24/7.

    blueskydreaming likes this.
  20. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Sorry to hear this. I also had a horrible time when I started my NQT year (hence leaving and finding a new school!)

    Don't be surprised if you do not hear from your union for ages - they are so busy with so many problems being experienced by so many teachers. Some of the unions have a helpline you can call if you need to talk to someone, just for support (look on the back of your membership card).

    You might also want to contact the named person at the LA, who is in charge of NQT induction. They will be interested to hear what is happening in your school. They are neutral; they are meant to ensure the school is fulfilling its statutory requirements. Especially useful for them to know you appear to have been threatened with a support plan for struggling with an inhumane workload.

    If you resign now (even if you don't leave until xmas) your NQT year will halt, and you will still have 3 terms remaining, which is beneficial.

    You are making the right decision.
    pepper5 likes this.

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