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Being a NQT really is an emotional rollercoaster

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by slstrong123, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. slstrong123

    slstrong123 New commenter

    I have just finished my 1st half term as an NQT. I think you have it slighted harder because pupils expect new teachers in September but not so much in November. Be firm and fair and stick with it. I am still having problems with some of my classes, I would be lying if I said otherwise, but it feels likes it's getting slightly easier. I now just seem to have a few hard core problems, but I am beginning to realise that these few individuals are problems in other classrooms too.
    I was warned that pupils try it on with new teachers - they do (I did as a teenager too!). Just stick with it, firm and consistant every time, it does start to get easier as you get to know them.
  2. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    How long is the Paternity leave? Normally paternity leave is only 2 weeks so does that mean you will only be there 2 weeks? If so, do the classes know this as this may explain why they are testing you.
    good sign - and remember this positive moments! It is far too easy to dwell only on the negative and to forget the good things you have done/are establishing
    year 9's are notorious for being the worst year to teach as hormones are kicking in, they know what subjects they want to take/drop etc... plus they are trying it on!!
    You are posting in the NQT forum so I presume you are a NQT?? If so, use this to your full advantage - ask other teachers on the corridor for help, ask them to take x student if x student continues to mis-behave.... teachers are there to support you (or most of them are!) and there is nothing wrong asking for support! I have asked teachers to take students for me and I have been teaching for 12 plus years!
    if you know you can do this, do it!! Show your authority! Call home, write letters home. It does not matter that they have had nothing on their records all year - it's only Nov. afterall - and they are misbehaving for you therefore deserve to be sanctioned! Behaviour management policies including rewards and sanctions are there to support you manage classes - if not, why would they be present in every school??
    You are right - you are in control but you have to take it back! Give them tasks where they have no excuse to talk to one another, bring in seating plans, use your HOD and as an NQT you should have a mentor/training manager - use them too, use other teachers for back up, reward those doing well, sanction those who don't.
    On the bright side, the fact that the kids you kept back seemed genuinely apologetic is usually a good sign that they are actually good kids just testing you!
    Chin up and continue to vent if you wish - that is what these forums are for!
  3. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    Thank you both for your supporting words, it really has made me feel better :)
    I think that I have not wanted to seek other teachers help during lessons as I feel they will look on me poorly. But you are right, as a NQT I am allowed to get help!!
    The teacher has gone on paternity leave until after the May half term and the school are keeping me until the end of the academic year, they have just given me a new contract to this effect and I am going to be doing general cover for the last half term. There is also a teacher from my department who is retiring at the end of the year and they have told me that this is why they are keeping me until the end of the year-because if they are happy with me, they will make me permanent :) I think that is why I am feeling the pressure more.
    I know you are right, I need to implement a seating plan next lesson and actually confiscate phones rather than threaten it. I will also send students to the hod and issue detentions if needed too because I think you are right that they will realise I mean it. Threats mean nothing if they are not followed up.
    I must confess that Year 9 are difficult for me because my PGCE is Social Sciences and my training only involved Year 10 plus and I had no experience of the lower years. I have always found Year 11 and 6th form easy to teach and Year 10 were the challenge for me on my PGCE. My hod has cherry picked her classes (according to the teacher who went on leave) and only teaches the 6th formers which means I teach Year 10-11 Social Sciences and Year 9 PSHE and just 1 hour of Year 13 Sociology a week!!
  4. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    yes, you are!! And even you were not an NQT!!
    but it is still early days.. you have been there since last week.. as an experienced teacher, moving to a new school it takes me at least 4 weeks to feel settled! And they know you are an NQT - they should be supporting you, it is their duty and obligation! Talk to your Training Manager.
    Just recognising this makes you a good teacher!!!! So many just threaten and threaten and threaten and wonder why nothing changes!!
    ah... than you are probably doubly nervous at teaching KS3! You are doing fine because you are reflecting and want to improve and know the strategies you are going to put into place! Give it another 2 - 4 weeks or so and hopefully you will come back and say how much happier you are!
    This maybe true - but even more reason to USE your HOD!! Ask her to be a back up with some of your more disruptive Y9's into her A'level classes...
  5. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    Well it's the end of the week and I am exhausted and my throat hurts. I felt mega stressed today and it is only week 1.
    I had lots of attitude from Year 10 today and did use some of the school sanctions and confiscated mobile phones. This did improve behaviour and mobiles phones were away but there were a few who were quite rude still. I reported to hod and he spoke to them and they seem to have improved since.
    I just don't know how some teachers have that presence and yet no matter what I do, be it shout, send out the room or offer detentions, I just can't seem to have that presence. I am hoping this will come as they get to know me but I feel like it never will.
    I never thought I'd feel this exchausted after just one week, I never did during my PGCE. Even thought about quitting already but realised the earliest I can leave is Easter now anyway!!
  6. TheTinyTeacher

    TheTinyTeacher New commenter

    You don't seem to mention praise.
  7. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    Do you work in secondary TinyTeacher?
    If you do work in the secondary phase then I would be pleased to hear your feedback, but do you think you could give your answer a little more substance?
  8. dt201

    dt201 Occasional commenter

    I think TinyTeacher was just trying to help.
    I'm also a NQT and sometimes it's easy to forget about praise as you're busy issuing sanctions etc. I have an awful yr10 group who fight, ignore me, leave the room, put glue on my seat etc. but some of them are responding well to a praise postcard home and just being priased for the little things they do well.
  9. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    Hi Jennah
    I have discussed issues similar to yours with the HOD and their suggestion to me was to stand in front of the class after you have asked for silence and wait there with folded arms for them to be quiet. If they do not do so then advise them that for every minute you are waiting, this is a minute they will stay behind on their break. My HOD advised me to write these minutes up on the board as they tot up and remain silent standing at the front until you have their attention.
    HOD also advised to move students to other seats or enforce a seating plan to seperate students who have a disruptive influence on one another.
    Then start the lesson at a pace where the students won't get bored and have lots to think about/do but if certain students become disruptive send them out of the room or to the HOD so that you can continue.
    I haven't tried this yet, I was given the advice on Friday and have them tomorrow so will try it then!!
  10. LinW2010

    LinW2010 New commenter

    I found my first year of proper teaching an amazing roller coaster. There are amazing highs and there can be real lows. Just stick in there, and remember the highs. If you have a really bad time, just start looking round the class for the few who are behaving well and trying to work, and spend time with them, encouraging them, rather than focusing on the bad ones. That's what I ended up doing - I teach ICT, and the previous teacher had let them get away with doing very little work, so I was a nasty shock to them!
    A year later there are still those who choose to waste their time, but I'm learning to deal with them and get them sorted, and for the most part things are going much more smoothly.
    There are always classes that are a struggle, but that's them choosing to behave badly. Get other staff on side, get form teachers on side, use the school discipline - and just bear in mind that the kids of today are the human beings of tomorrow ;)
  11. Hey Georgia,

    I'm an NQT working in a school with a few tough classes too and just wanted to offer some support.

    First of all, you are NOT ALONE!! I thought I was a pretty good teacher in PGCE, but now I end most days feeling like I am the worst teacher in the world! I go through all the exact same things that you do (worrying that other people will think I'm weak, thinking about quitting, feeling like I'm just trying new things every day that never work).

    The main thing is don't give up! We're supposed to be the newbies, we're supposed to be improving and learning, and as long as you're identifying your mistakes and trying to sort them out you will get better at it.

    A few tips from things I've found useful. First of all routine is v important for me. I get the kids in and make them copy title/date/LO in silence. No doubt you have your own routine, but I think routine is v important.

    Secondly, when I'm starting to feel like I'm losing control of a class I remind myself that it's never too late to get them back on track. The next time I see them I don't give as many chances. If a kid is talking I tell them to stop. As soon as they do it again I tell them that 'that's twice and if it happens again you're going on detention.' Then as soon as it happen again I just put them straight on detention - none of this 'unless you work well for the rest of the lesson' nonsense.

    The best advice I can possibly give you is to read as much of Tom Bennett's stuff on this website as possible. He has really made me realise the importance of the 'no nonsense' approach.

    Having said all of this, I still have lessons like this afternoon where they just WOULD NOT be quiet no matter what I tried (even the nice kids) and I was closing my door and praying SLT were a long way away! But tomorrow it'll be back to no nonsense with that class ;) it's never too late to get them back!
  12. One more thing... try never to show you're annoyance. I've really started to notice recently how hilarious they find it when I get annoyed, and how much more effective it is when I really, really try hard to be super calm and speak slowly when telling people off (even though I'm exploding with rage inside!)
  13. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    I'd say I definitely have that presence now (7 years of teaching) but I don't think I got it until my second or third year, and it takes me about1-2 months to establish it if I move schools so don't panic, give yourself the time. The most useful thing that I did to get to that stage I think was to watch how other teachers told off their classes (or mine when needed) and mimick their way of expressing themselves. I also agree about the praise - try to ring home or write a positive postcard or give out stickers at least once a week (I usually do them Friday after school so I end the week on a high). You've got a tough time coming in November, as the honeymoon period is over and kids are tired from the change of clocks and the long term. Good luck!
  14. I'm also an NQT and started last week and I feel your pain! New teacher baiting seems to be a popular sport and some pupils excel at this. I have two difficult KS4 classes, they are low ability and really hate having a new teacher as they don't like change. I am covering maternity leave and they love their normal teacher, I have been told that they spent all of last week moaning about me and they 'hate' me! I know it's not personal and I will win them round eventually, stick to your guns and you will succeed. It's tough being an NQT,(understatement of the century), fuller timetable, responsibility for classes, data managment, the list is endless. Also being new means you have to get used to the way the school does things. Your pupils are testing your mettle, they knew how far to push their old teacher and how much they could get away with and they are finding out about you just as you are getting to know them. Last week I sent 6 boys out, no pupil's had been sent out of lessons from those classes all term, I had to show I meant what I said. Keep going, firm and consistent! Good luck.
  15. Agreed. Just almost whisper for them to leave the room. If they refuse, your school should have a blunt refusal process you can go through.
    I have quite a good school but even in my first half term as an NQT I had a lot of refusal. I just said quietly I would like you to leave the room, if you don't your life will become a lot harder very quickly.
    Show that you are fun and can praise but have a FINAL point at which there is no going back and you are ready to exact a quiet but unyielding discipline.
  16. My husband is an NQT and it has been horrendous. Most of the low ability disruptive classesthat nobody wanted, no NQT programme since September (no.......... I am not joking) A DH who is also the PT, who has never even asked if everything is OK! It was in my opinion the second hardest year I had as a teacher but it does get easier once students begin to know and accept you. Coming in midway through a year is always difficult yet alone if you are an NQT. Students do and will try it on with NQT's verbally as well as being wilful. You must just carry on, lay down boundaries and carry out any threats.....that is so important because eventually they will realise that you mean what you say. So becareful what you thtreaten them with, make sure you havethe backing of your HofD and line manager and keep going.
  17. You have my sympathy. Being an NQT is hell. Speaking from over 20 years of teaching in all sectors my suggestion is: make a plan and stick to it. Once the students realise when you say something you mean it they will start responding. When I was a trainee teacher I was told "if you tell a child you will hold them out of the window upside down by their ankles out of the window if they continue to misbehave, you then have to hold them upside down by their ankles out of the window if they do continue to misbehave". I have always remembered this and never threaten what I cannot follow through with. A notebook also helps; if you tell them off write down their name and the punishment promised - then you will remember to follow through. You should give them a warning first though - which also goes down in the book, so you don't forget.

    It does get easier, but it takes months not days or weeks. They are testing your limits. You have to decide what your limits are and stick to them.

    Ignore the comments re 'the teacher who is temping for Mr Crone' - so what. You are a real teacher, but you have to put out the persona of a real teacher or students and staff won't think you are. Most of teaching is projecting confidence you don't feel.

    It does get easier!!!

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