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Confidence crisis or just being realistic about my strengths and weaknesses?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by sedai, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. Hello! I think there are quite a few issues here for you - you liked some of the job but not others, you have had good feedback but have no self-confidence...lots of contradictions! I have been teaching for 9 years now and have never wanted to do anything else (except perhaps at the moment with all the awful Government changes)!
    There are several points to consider:
    1) if you couldn't cope full-time, how would your finances and career progression work? Can you afford to be a part-time teacher, would you want to build on your hours in the future, are you prepared to come in for parents' evenings etc on your days off? Would you feel properly integrated into school life?
    I think part-time work is sometimes harder than full-time - you often have split classes with other teachers and can sometimes mean you take longer to settle in and make friends etc. On the other hand, this may be a happy medium for you to become a teacher in the future.
    2) read through your tutor/mentor/whoever's comments about your teaching. Focus ONLY ON THE POSITIVE COMMENTS. What are your strengths? You wouldn't have passed your PGCE if you weren't - at the very least - competent. This is encouraging!
    3) teaching requires stamina, commitment and energy for the entirety of term-time. If you go into it half-heartedly or with a dread of standing in front of a class, you will eventually break. I've had bad days/weeks/terms where I have known that things are horrible - but my desire to continue teaching and my commitment to the job got me through. If you don't really want to do it, then it won't really work. The kids you teach need a completely dedicated teacher who wants to do their best for them. I'm not suggesting you wouldn't do your best, but any doubts would show - and they would eat you alive! You need confidence in front of a class.
    4) How about tutoring for a job? This requires academic knowledge (clearly one of your strengths), clear explanations, the desire to teach (but not 30 rowdy kids at a time) and patience. Perhaps this would be a better option? Less scary on a one-to-one level, and you could fit it around other things. I did tutoring for a while when I was younger and I LOVED it. The satisfaction of giving one or two students all your attention without having to stop Little Jimmy throwing his books out the window was lovely!
    Don't give up - you enjoyed some aspects of teaching so perhaps you could find an area that you would enjoy still.
    I wish you all the luck in the world!
  2. You've only just passed your PGCE: You can not expect to be 'very good' at it yet!
    Not all schools suit everyone. It sounds like you found that out in your PGCE year.
    Your uni mentors were pleased with you. That's a good sign. You enjoyed the experience overall even though you had a really tough year - another good sign. You finished and passed the PGCE - very encouraging. Not everyone does.
    It's definitely not unusual to feel like you're not very good at teaching at the start. I'm an NQT now and I certainly am not very good at it yet. However, that just shows that you have a genuine desire to do it right which can only be a good thing. Even though I have difficulties and I'm definitely the weak link in my department, I always try to remember not to be too hard on myself: when I've been teaching as long as my colleagues, I really hope I'll be as good as them too because I know how hard I'm working.
    If you find the right school you can get better. Don't give up if it's what you want to do. You might regret not giving it a try. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to be a brilliant teacher straight away - your NQT year is time for improving and honing your skills. Good luck whatever you decide.
  3. cally1980

    cally1980 Established commenter

    The only advice I have is: You don't know until you try! I question myself all the time and I have found that even when I receive good feedback I feel like I am not very good - they say teachers need to be reflective but I think sometimes we are over critical of ourselves. Give it a go, worst case scenario is that you find out for certain that teaching is not for you and bow out without the 'what if's'
  4. Hi everyone thanks for the replies,
    I've been pondering it all for the past few weeks and I'm now about 90% sure I don't want to teach anymore. Wanting to achieve QTS and complete the course motivated me to keep going, and I just kept telling myself 'just get through this then you can decide' etc. But the thought of going back to it all, in a different school, without my fantastic supportive uni mentors and a classteacher to bounce ideas off doesn't make me jump up and down with enthusiasm!
    I'm not a super tough, resilient, always positive, performing artsy energetic type teacher (the only type that seems to be valued the most these days) and I just can't see myself meeting the current expecations of the job without having constant insomnia, anxiety, days off sick with stress etc. I couldn't relate to the super confident 'life's a breeze' types on my course and they are the ones now loving the job, which fuels my belief that I wouldn't since they are pretty much the exact opposite to me lol. Maybe I'm being harsh on myself but now even the thought of the job just makes me feel tired!! If we were in the 1980s, before national curriculum and all the crazy workload and paperwork and demands, I expect I would have enjoyed it and been great at it as I'm very creative and enjoy working with kids and when I went into the profession perhaps I naively thought those were the main things that mattered. I'm looking for work in different areas now where I can hopefully use my skills, but also have some sort of a work-life balance and feel more positive about myself and my abilities. It might mean doing crappy admin again but that will hopefully just be a stepping stone to a job that suits me better.
    Best of luck to everyone still trying - I'm a bit envious you've found your calling but hopefully I'm on my way to finding mine! :)
  5. Also just wanted to add, I know what you mean about the 'how do you know if you don't try it' sentiment, but I think if I did my NQT year now feeling the way I do I would just fail it anyway. Plus every time I interview for a teaching job I feel like a fraud and like I'm just pretending I'm totally comfortable with the job and can't wait to start! Basically pretending to be someone I'm not which feels rubbish, so would feel v guilty if I got a job in the place of some amazing NQT who was born to teach.
    I believe there is no time limit so since I have QTS, I could technically return to teaching in 10 years time if I had a U-turn and decided I did want to do it after all? I'd prefer to 'bank' my QTS for now and only do my NQT year in the future if I'm really committed to giving it all another shot.
  6. I completely know what you mean! I've gone from laid back happy person to shouty and stressed all the time.
  7. Me three!
    There were 2 jobs going at the place I'm at now. I got the permanent job and another girl got a 1 year fixed term job. Now they are completely regretting their decision as the other girl is an amazing SuperTeacher! I guess I sold myself really well on the day but was disappointing in reality. However i doubt many people are completely honest about their weaknesses in interviews
    Good luck finding something Currant Bunn - I may very soon be applying for non-teaching posts for July too...not sure i can face another year in this place!
  8. Hey it's good to know I'm not the only one who felt uncomfortable on those interview days. I hate the silly procedure of looking round the school with other prospective candidates too, ugh, feels so weird and fake. I can imagine a comedy scene of it where the candidates trip eachother up when the Head isn't looking and try to make the others look bad lol.
    I have to say though msloops, that I reckon you're doing much better than you think and you're being far too hard on yourself. I saw one of your other posts and it sounds like you're having to deal with some seriously horrible behaviour so the fact that you're just going in and teaching is brilliant. Now that you're in the job definitely just keep going. I imagine it's a bit like placements in the way that it's knackering and stressful, you just have to keep pushing yourself, making mistakes and then slowly things start to improve and you notice they ARE responding to those behaviour management techniques and all is not lost! (that was how I felt on placement anyway :)
    Also, I'm not the best person to say this but don't worry about that 'super teacher' - for all you know she could be on here every night posting about how she's struggling inside but keeping up a front. And even if she is swanning around saying how amazingly easy it all is and 'not enough of a challenge for her' (LOL) then she's just insensitive. I had a 'super teacher' like that on my resit placement and unbelievably she said to me about herself "I know I'm (rude word) good at this job, and the only thing I'm worried about here is not getting and outstanding grade" when she knew I was resitting! It really annoyed me but then I just though 'stuff her' and focused on myself and she seemed to calm down after that. I know If I were still at school I'd still much prefer to have human teachers like us than arrogant 'check out how amazing I am' types ;)
    I'll let you know how to job hunt goes - it's not exactly rich pickings but for me it feels like the right thing at the moment...

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