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Dear James, advice on amount of work issue

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by rusmus, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. rusmus

    rusmus New commenter

    Dear James
    I have an issue with the amount of work I am doing - I want to check whether I am doing too much or whether what I am doing is normal.
    I teach MFL in a secondary school. The SoW is a list of topics with no resources attached, I have to plan and produce everything. There is no opportunity to share lessons, in fact I have been told by my mentor (HoD) that I will not learn anything by using anyone else's lessons so she will not give me access to anything from her or anyone in the dept.
    I get to school at 7 and leave at 5 to collect my daughter from nursery. I eat and play with her, put her to bed and then at 7pm I start work again. I work until 10 or 11 at night depending on the amount of marking I have.
    I also work from 10am - 4pm on Saturdays and generally do 10-2 on Sunday (if I have a routine timetable, I find I get more done and waste less time, hence the timings).
    I am at breaking point. I find my sleep is now erratic, I am bad tempered and getting very fed up of school - and yes, I know there are 4 weeks to half term!! I have tried to talk to my mentor about this but she has simply said that this is what the first 3 years of teaching is like and I will get used to it. I have said that I am struggling to come up with lessons as I sometimes cannot understand the SoW and she has said that we will have a short meeting every week to discuss this with the other members of the dept. This was in NOvember and it still has not happened.
    I have tried to make her understand that I am not trying to get out of working but that I am extremely tired and would like to see more of my daughter and husband. I have been told that I can't have special treatment because I have a child. This isn't what I was asking for.
    I have spoken to my SMT mentor who has said that I need to have another explicit conversation with her before he will do anything about it - I can understand his point but really don't see what this will achieve.
    So my point is (sorry...) that I need to know what else I could say to my mentor to get her to give me some support - perhaps a more detailed SoW, perhaps access to some lessons?
    Would you (or anyone else) have any advice? I am so tired, I nearly drove into another car ont he way home tonight.
  2. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    Are there any resources online you can use, on TES or on other websites? I'm primary so not sure but I wouldn't write my own worksheets etc, I would look online first. There may be example lessons etc.
    I have no idea why your mentor won't let you share resources with other members of staff, this is good practice - why would s/he want you to be teaching completely different things to other teachers?? ALso, she she should be arranging for you to observe other teachers to improve your own teaching.
    Is there someone more senior you can go to? Either the head, or if the head is your mentor, your LA NQT advisor. They may be able to help.
  3. rusmus

    rusmus New commenter

    I have been to see one of the ASTs who is my link SMT mentor. He listened and asked me to speak to the INduction mentor. The induction mentor has told me to speak to my mentor before coming back to him so he can plan a strategy for me.
    I use the TES as much as I can but the issue I have is that the SoW is not 'traditional' so while I can get some resources off the internet, there are large gaps where this is nothing that I can use so I have to create my own. For example I taught Y8 the use of the comparative and the superlative through the medium of the solar system and had to source images of planets, write and record my own listening materials, create a speaking activity and produce a worksheet and independent writing activity.
    Her view is that she has spent weeks of her time over the years producing outstanding lessons and will not share them because why should someone else benefit from her hard work?
    I would argue that it's the children who benefit from every member of staff teaching interesting and outstanding lessons. Anyway. I am going to go in tomorrow and have my chat with her and then start applying for new jobs. Thanks for reading, I do appreciate it.
  4. rusmus

    rusmus New commenter

    I forgot to add that I have done some observations in the department but I honestly don't want to sacrifice what little planning time I have in school. I know that is not a great attitude but I am just about keeping my head above water at the moment.
  5. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I don't know whether it's 'normal' or not, but I am a primary NQT and am working the same, if not more, than you. I too feel it is ridiculous and that I don't have any kind of life outside school.
  6. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    Wow, what a fantastic attitude for a mentor to have! Or, for that matter, a teacher. Surely the whole point of teaching is sharing knowledge?! I would definitely, definitely try to see if you can get a new mentor or get someone to put some pressure on her to share resources. Why on earth would she not want the kids in her department to learn the best they can?
    Sounds like a very strange scheme of work....as a teenager I think that would have really annoyed me. When I go on holiday do I want to be able to talk about the planets? No, I want to be able to order food and drink in a restaurant and book a hotel!! And chat to people. Not talk about the solar system........
    Anyway, perhaps that's just me being a dinosaur.......
  7. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    I don't know what advice to give. I was in the same boat in my secondary NQT (everything for my subject from scratch). There are some HoD's who just don't deserve the role and make appalling mentors. I just battled through much to the distress of my family.
    Have you called the Teacher Support Line? They rarely give much advice but when your up at stupid o'clock in the early hours still working its nice to have someone to call.
    You need to get a diary logged asap, you don't want the lack of support to jepordise your NQT as well as your life. Make notes on how you act on feedback and when you seek support amongst other key things. You can keep it short ie
    29 Feb 2012
    • Asked HoD about SoW for post Easter
    • Completed Hippo resource as requested by HoD on 26 Feb 2012
    it will take some time but it could be your saviour.
    Also have you seen 'The Lazy Teachers Handbook'? Its not actually for lazy teachers but gives ides of some lessons that will take the load off (so I'm told).
    Big hug, feel free to PM me if you need to rant x
  8. rusmus

    rusmus New commenter

    Thanks so much for the support and advice.
    I've had a bit of a breakthrough. I went to see her before school this am as I really struggled to get up and get motivated, more so tan usual.
    I was very factual, and not all emotional . I laid out the facts as I did in my OP. And she listened. And AGREED!!!
    She is going to have a look to see if she has any old resources she can give me to reuse or tweak and is asking the others in the dept to help. She has told me to go out and buy some language textbooks that I think might be good and we can use those. She has asked me to reduce the number of "good" lessons I am trying to produce - as in, do 1 good lesson for Y7 and give them a lesson from a website or a textbook once a week, as it won't kill them.
    She said that I should not be trying to achieve outstanding this year.
    I feel so relieved and think that if this works, teaching might not be so bad after all. I will give it until half term to see how I get on.

    Thanks for your advice everyone, will keep you posted
  9. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    Was so pleased to see your post - note this in your diary though (just in case) and I hope it really is the start of a happier time for you x

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