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Burnt-out NQT needs outsider's perspective.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ginblossom, May 21, 2016.

  1. ginblossom

    ginblossom New commenter


    I am currently undertaking induction. Although feeling burnt-out, my mentor insists the school is supportive. I'd really appreciate an outsider's perspective! Is it the school or teaching in general?

    In September, I struggled with the volume of marking and asked for support which never came. I was also concerned about having no point of reference for what the presentation of the books should look like in this year group and showed them to members of the SLT. They said the books were fine. A few months down the line, I was called for a meeting following a book scrutiny. The marking in 15 books (out of 120) was not up to date. The presentation was "unsatisfactory". I was grilled. They were "disappointed." I clearly did not have a "passion for teaching." They said I was not meeting the Standards and threatened to fail me. I was offered support which never transpired. For the next two months, I was largely ignored and excluded from decisions about pupils in my class.

    I also struggled with the class, known to be the most challenging in the entire school. In it are children who are routinely violent towards children and adults, in addition to several statemented pupils who need constant one-to-one support. I was spat at on Day 1 and blamed for this because I "lack presence".

    I have tried my best, despite difficult circumstances, but have recently received another roasting because a parent thinks the homework set is too hard. I can prove differentiation, and believe the work presents an appropriate level of challenge, but this has lead to another book scrutiny, more suspicion and the accusation that I am lying. I have an interview coming up. The school threatened to give a bad reference because of this parent. During that meeting I broke down and cried. The pressure is incredible. Despite going to great lengths to support this pupil, including giving up breaks to provide one-to-one tuition, it is not enough.

    Finally, no real provision has been made for NQT time or meetings with my mentor and this is apparently my fault.

    These are the main bug bears but there are many more. Will it get better? Should I attend the interview for the new school? I have totally run out of steam but have received some glowing observations so am sitting on the fence about quitting entirely.

    TLDR: The past six months have felt like The Hunger Games. I would like to know if this is the norm, if I'm being over-sensitive and if it gets better.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Go somewhere else - seriously.
    sabrinakat and pepper5 like this.
  3. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    Leave forthwith. Sounds like a poisonous place to work. Not all schools are like that so don't throw in the towel
  4. dominant_tonic

    dominant_tonic Established commenter

    Run for the hills. The three things that stood out for me:
    1) giving a notorious class to nqt. Seriously? Welcome to the intercession.

    2) the support you asked for that never came smacks of being set up to fail

    3) you have an interview for a new school? Prep like mad and keep everything crossed.

    Ridiculous. Keep in mind it is easier to find a job while your are employed, but start looking.

    Send an email to powers that be asking then for an nqt meeting add you have only had a hours so far and your understanding was you were entitled to so many hours. Await the response then contact your nqt person I the lea, and ask for advice...get it All in black and white. Did you start in September? Are your standards progressing normally? Three next thing will be threatening to fail induction...that's why you need everything in black and white and your lea support. Copy emails to your union just for their info.

    My school is fantastic...not rubbing it in, but saying they do exist. I have been in rubbish schools, horrible schools where just going in feels like an enormous task, but good schools do exist. Hang on in, and start applying.
    SportyK, petenewton and pepper5 like this.
  5. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Contact the council, who oversee induction for your school. I have had an awful NQT year, still ongoing, even though I resigned before Easter. I am feeling particularly low this weekend :-(
  6. ginblossom

    ginblossom New commenter

    Thank you peakster, TheGentleman and dominant_tonic, your thoughts are really appreciated. When you experience something day-in, day-out it becomes normalised which is why I was so desperate for another point of view! Thought I was going bananas.

    blueskydreaming, I'm sorry to hear that :( not too long to go now before we can wave goodbye.
  7. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    The moral of this story, Ladies & Gentlemen, is to confirm all feedback by cced email.

    @ginblossom, I am very sorry for the distress you're feeling right now - it can be wearing when other people don't live up to your expectations of professionalism. You must do what you feel is best but when you have time be certain to outline a Plan B to teaching that you can refine as time goes by.
    hhhh likes this.
  8. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Have you begun your ITT yet?
  9. ginblossom

    ginblossom New commenter

    This is sound advice, thanks Vince.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi ginblossom

    It is not you - definitely not you. Don't quit now. Take all the advice about contacting the local LEA advisor for NQTs and your union. Go over to the job seekers' forum or whatever they call it, and read all the notes and advice from Theogriff and prepare well; definitely go to the interview. If you don't get that post, keep applying. There are some wonderful places to work, but you have to keep looking.

    Stay positive. Keep in touch on here for support. Call the Teacher Support Network. There will be people to help.

    Speak to your union on Monday. Half term holidays are soon here in five days which will give you time to reboot. Hang in there.
  11. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    Your school sound as if they want an automaton, not a person who is still gaining experience and needs support to develop. They are not being supportive at all.

    Speak to your Union asap, and to the person responsible for NQTS at your LEA, if such a person still exists.
  12. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Sounds more like the school wanting throw-away cannon fodder. You need to get the support of your union, local office if yours is one of many primaries without a union rep.
    Good luck with the interview.
    hhhh likes this.
  13. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    'TLDR: The past six months have felt like The Hunger Games. I would like to know if this is the norm, if I'm being over-sensitive and if it gets better.'

    And SLT are the Capitol............

    In your NQT year you deserve (and are entitled to) support. It sounds like the school you are at now do not give it.

    A good school should support you over homework. A parent thinks it is too hard? Tough bloody **** I say. Obviously, if you are giving year 1 advanced calculus as their Maths homework then there might be a problem but it really should NOT be SLT + odd complainy parent + kids vs you. Likewise the spitting. To blame this on your 'lack of presence' was hardly welcoming you into the school! It sounds like you have had a baptism of fire in this school. But it is not a place you want to be slow roasted to death for your entire career. There ARE supportive schools out there, they may just take some finding. My advice - TES Jobs!
    phlogiston and dominant_tonic like this.
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Interview for a new school? Yes, go.

    Your mentor? Hardly an impartial source.

    A parental complaint? Unless it's safeguarding my number one rule is this: support your staff in front of kids and parents. You may need to question them in private but back them up in public.

    My response to a parent? "I am sorry but I have every faith in my teachers regarding homework. They know your child far better than I do. Children do sometimes get frustrated but we ask a lot of them and life can't always be easy. Miss Oojamaflip will doubtless go through it with him/her. Please don't be concerned. Now bog off. Thank you."
    dljames2013 and -myrtille- like this.
  15. fishtoe

    fishtoe New commenter

    Good luck with the interview.

    Beware about references though - heads have been know to have private phone calls!
    Also beware as NQTs can be failed and kept on for another year on an unqualified rate. Totally demoralising I know. But as other posters have already said there are still better schools out there.

    Fingers crossed for you!
  16. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Have you visited the school at which you have an interview? If so, did you feel that it would be a supportive place to work?

    If so, then go for it. If you're not sure and don't want to stay where you are, are you sure about teaching? Why not go for the interview- after all, you're getting a sense of them as much as they are getting a sense of you.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  17. leftieM

    leftieM New commenter

    Don't surrender. Try a different school. If you have an inherent drive to keep going with teaching then don't let one negative experience wreck it for you. Some people are just not good at supporting new teachers and make it about you when it is also about their failings, and it can be a culture within a department or even a school. I had two experiences that were very difficult during my training and early career but I then went to a wonderful school and three months subbing there changed everything for me. I haven't looked back.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  18. dearlouise

    dearlouise New commenter

    Sounds like the school to me.

    Make sure any feedback is in writing. They might not be as harsh if they're putting it in writing!!! Then I'd be logging everything. Include the LA in everything.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  19. gal_70

    gal_70 New commenter

    Go for the interview. You can usually get a feeling about the school during the day. If you feel that it would be a positive move, then put every effort into getting the job. It you dont feel that they can provide the support you need, thank them for the interview opportunity and walk away, then think of the day as interview practise for the perfect job. Good luck :)
    hhhh likes this.
  20. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    You definitely shouldn't have been given the worst class in the school, that's poor management indeed.

    For future reference, always ask for feedback and commitments of support in writing that way you can go back to the school with 'on .... date ...... support was offered, how can I go about taking that up?'

    Get out now, not all schools are like this. There is no shame in moving onto a school that is right for you.

    Best of luck!

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