1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Dear James: Failing Your NQT Year / First Term

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by TH137, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. I'm in exactly the same boat. I just have the feeling that they don't want to wait for me to develop as they could just replace me with someone who can do a better job at the end of the year. And to an extent I don't blame them..
  2. Hi Rabbit
    First off, please try not to panic. Having said that, this isn't easy and I certainly panicked to begin with! I know that the only term which really counts is your last one so regroup, move forward and aim for that. It sounds like you're a very food teacher but you need to believe in yourself and ask for help if you need it. This is a new, shorter term so prepare well in advance. Look at the standards and pick out some to really concentrate on. Make an action plan so you can see yourself progress in the first few weeks to boost your confidence.

    I hope you get the support you need and we're all here for you! It's a very up and down year.

  3. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    You cannot be perfect every lesson, even seasoned teachers have bad days/weeks.
    Hopefully you've had a nice relax over Christmas and are refreshed for the new term. I found this one the hardest term and would suggest if you can afford it to take a break at Feb Half term.
    The only think you can do it take criticisms on board and use them to your advantage, what in your opinion made that second lesson better? Use your strengths for a while to build up your confidence before trying new things that may or may not work. The most important thing is that your school is supportive, something which sadly a lot to not seem to be. If they are use everything at your disposal, you're 1/3 of the way there. One term DOWN (not passed or failed but COMPLETED - you only pass/fail the third term) look as this as a positive an make sure you just read the positives as opposed to just the negatives (we all do it) on the days when your feeling low xx
  4. I know exactly how you feel. I have been graded as inadequate in more than one observation, in different categories. Some of the categories I was graded inadequate in in one observation, I have been graded as good/outstanding in in other observations. I am now "possibly not going to meet the standards". I can't help feeling that a bit of consistency might help.
    How low are you feeling? Do you need medical help? You can talk to the union sponsored teacher advice lines - they can be very helpful.
  5. It's not a case of failing the first term. As LMR says, take the action plan and support that the school have put in place and learn from it. Some of the other NQTs have been in a position where they have been advised to leave after a poor lesson, which is shocking practice from the school. At least your school are putting something in place to support. This is not the end of the world. We had an NQT on a support programme a few years ago and it worked brilliantly - the NQT is now a very strong member of staff and good practitioner.
    Stay positive (I know words are easy!) and take the action plan on board.
    Good luck.
  6. Since writing this, I've searched this forum a bit and found similar stories from other NQTs, but have also realised how much worse my situation could be! Just this one highly negative observation, and the fact that its effects were not explained to me, have had an enormous and disproportionate effect on my confidence and self esteem, but apart from that the school have been supportive. My immediate colleagues are absolutely brilliant and give me loads of support and encouragement. Also I have been offered support from the school as a whole, and I think they will try and get me through this.
    Still I don't yet feel very confident about my "action plan". In fact I'm not really sure what it consists of. I have three targets that I must meet this term. They are supposed to be measurable, but "measurable" seems a very vague concept. My three targets relate to very broad areas such as "behaviour management" and apparently will be measured via observations and discussions in meetings. All of this seems ever-so vague. For instance, can the same thing happen as last term? ie everything seems to be going well but then at the end of term I have one negative observation and it all falls apart?
    And of course the thing bothering me at the moment is that I am of course trying to be prepared for the new term, but I am overwhelmed by everything that could mean. Should I try and introduce new routines? Which ones? Whould I try and get pupils engaged in agreeing classroomrules? How? Should I prioritise marking books? Should I use the time to make my very first lesson plans especially good? And of course, despite the fact that I am on holiday, time is something I don't have a lot of. I have a family, so holidays are generally taken up with them. And of course I really ought to be chilling out and resting as much as I can. I still haven't planned my first lessons, and when I tryI just get myself in a big lather over how I'm doing it wrong and I don't know which areas of weakness I should be focusing on.
    I was advised last term - and I'm sure this is true - that I should treat the new year as a new start, almost as though I was meeting my classes for the first time. Which therefore means those first lessons on the first day back really really matter. But I haven't a clue how to go about this, and I don't have confidence in my ability to act the part of a firm confident teacher who believes her class will behave well.
    People have advised me several times that if you ACT confident and capable, then the pupils will believe it, and eventually it will come true. But it seems to me that acting takes a high level of confidence itself, so you can't act confident unless you already are confident!
    Re medical matters, I don't know. I have been on the brink of a severe anxiety attack several times, and have suffered from low-level anxiety and depression. But I know from experience that if you dwell on such things you can make them worse, and I am already being monitored for having 7 days off sick last term. Also I am worried that if I try and take time off sick for stress, I will make myself appear feeble and unsuited for the job, and people will be even more likely to view me negatively and not think that I should pass.The judgements made are all so subjective, and this is such a crucial year.
  7. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I know it can be a very anxious time, but do remember that you have
    not failed yet, only been judged as not yet meeting the standards.
    gather from your posts that the school have put into place an action
    plan, which is good. Make sure you get as much help as possible to meet
    the targets set; observe other teachers, try different behaviour
    management techniques (for at least a couple of weeks to give them a
    chance to work), concentrate on changing one thing at a time.
    struggled with my behaviour management during my PGCE, so much so I
    nearly failed my final placement, and found in my NQT year I had one of
    the most difficult classes in school. Not what I wanted to hear! But I
    stuck to my chosen strategy, made sure children understodd the
    sanctions, followed through with them etc. and managed to get through
    and feel much more confident with myself. Start the first day back with a
    review of behaviour rules, sanctions and rewards and do your best to
    remain fair and consistent. Treat this week as a time when you will be much more strict than you have previously been and show them what happens if they don't do as they are told.
    With regards to following
    observations, those coming to see you need to set out what it is they
    will be looking for in that lesson, so you can focus on demonstrating
    and showing progress in that area. So when an observation lesson is
    booked, ask what it is they will be focussing on. This will help, as
    it's nigh on impossible to think about doing everything perfectly during
    everyday lessons, never mind during an obs!
    I can recommend a book on behaviour management by Bill Rogers (he's done a few) that might give some tips. I got one cheap from AbeBooks. Also, I stick to a cardinal rule of never talking while the children are - I stand, fold my arms and look bored until they shush each other - and if they're still not quiet remind them gently that they can do the lesson now or in their lunch break.
    Are you having to produce a lesson plan for every single lesson? If so, there's not much you can do, but if not, use your weekly plans and keep them with you during the lesson, take time to refer to them and annotate them afterwards with things that worked well/didn't work.
    Marking can be tricky, as it can build up very easily. Remember that not all Literacy marking has to be done in depth. Look at the LO and choose 2 or 3 things that the children should have shown you. Mark according to this and don't worry about other errors, such as spellings/punctuation/tense, if they're not what you're focussing on.
    In Numeracy I ask my class to put what I call a "P/T box" in their books - under the P (for Pupil) they put a tick if they think they achieved the LO, a question mark if they want more work on it and a cross if they think they need adult help the following day. They then put them into three piles at the end of the lesson. If I don't have much time to mark that evening, I at least make sure I skim through each book and see whether or not I agree to the tick, question mark or cross. Then, under the T (for Teacher) I put my own cross, question mark or tick as to whether or not I think they understand. All the books are put into the 3 piles according to what I've put on them, so I know the children I need to work with the following day have a cross and the others can do independent work, those with a tick doing som extension work suited to their ability.
    Sorry, this is quite long, but I really feel for you. I know how bad it can be when you struggle with behaviour management, as that so often underpins the rest of the lesson. If you want to discuss anything else, do pm me. I'm only in my second year so remember what it's all like a an NQT!
    Oh, and if there's anything you disagree with on your end-of-period assessment report (one for each term), or feel the school haven't given you enough support, then make it clear. Don't sign anything saying you agree or the LA will think everything's fine. I really wish last year I'd made it clear I was struggling because I'd been given such a difficult class. Fortunately, though, I got through it, but that's not to say the school were right to do that to me!
    Good luck. Let me know how you get on.
  8. To original poster - I can completely relate to your post as am in the same boat having been told I'm not meeting the standards at end of first term. Out of interest what year group are you in? I'm Year 1.
    To posters who have offered support and stories. Thank you and good luck with the new term.
  9. Hello,

    I am in a similar situation to you - at the end of last term I was judged as "may not meet the standards".

    Firstly, you say you're worried that you may have a negative observation late in the term. According to what I've read on here, one inadequate observation should not be the be all and end all: it is about your progress towards the standards overall not about how you perform in front of an observer. One negative observation doesn't have to mean you fail. (On the flip side however a satisfactory observation doesn't necessarily mean you pass - I had 4 formal observations all at satisfactory with only one category ever graded at a 4 and still apparently I 'may not pass' the year.) At what point in the term were you made aware that they had concerns about your progress?

    I am treating the new year as a fresh start. I am going to go over the rules again with my students and be really strict on giving out detentions, making sure they're unpleasant and following htem up if they don't show up, and use a behaviour contract with my worst class.

    As for your targets - they sound quite similar to mine - two of mine are very vague such as "she will work with her head of faculty to develop strategies for behaviour management", and "she will continue to develop her teaching strategies". How on earth am I meant to know when I have passed that? So, I have emailed my mentor and induction coordinator, explaining that I need clear targets with success criteria so I know how my success is being measured and will know when I have met them. Maybe it'd help you to do so too - get it sorted now so you know exactly what you're working towards.

    My mentor is nice and supportive, but she hadn't mentored before and didn'tr eally know what she was supposed to do. I reckon even if you have a supportive mentor it's best to check whether they are giving you all the support you are entitled to. Last term my mentor had no idea of what the standards were or whether I was passing them, I didn't nkow until the end of term whether I was passing or failing and I don't want that to happen again! So I've said this term I need mentor meetings where we set and review targets, so I can bring evidence to each meeting of what I've done to meet the targets from the last meeting, and I will then make her tell me each time whether or not I am making enough progress to meet the standards. That way I'll know straight away whether I'm diong the right things, or if she needs more evidence, or if they have concerns. I'm trying to make sure that I make her go on the record, every week or couple of weeks, telling me whether or not I am doing enough to make progress, so they can't just surprise me with a failed assessment at the end.

    I think with confidence, it does always help to pretend! Last year, I didn't qutie pass my first PGCE placement. I went to my second placement, told everyone I was feeling loads more confdient and much better abotu everything, and even though nothing much had really changed, my mentor had loads more confidence in me and passed me. I think it works with the kids too, body language and tone of voice are really important - if I stand still, look them in the eyes, and speak to them in a firm voice, telling them to do things rather than asking, they behave better too. Sometimes though I catch myself sounding really wound up and stressed - not good!

    Me too sometimes - this is why I'm going to make sure they give me clearer targets then focus on those - it sounds like you, too, need to discuss your targets with them at the start of term to make sure they're clear and you know what to do. You can't work on everything at once and I reckon some things will fall into place naturally as your cnofidence grows.

    Good luck! Hopefully we will both have a much more successful 2011! It sounds like you will be a fantastic teacher when you get your confidence back.
  10. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Senior commenter

    I always say that your only as good as the school your in. I completed my NQT year in the most awful school. They never had a good word to say about me. I left there believing I wasn't a very good teacher. I got the shock of my life when it turned out (in my new school) that i am actually a very good teacher. I have had such wonderful comments from ALL staff and its boosted my confidence which has made me even better.
    The only way to get through in a school like yours is to try and work on any points they give you. Never take what they say to heart. Most of it should just be binned or put in a box and given back to them because they are probably just unhappy with their own teaching and projecting this onto the one person they can.
    Maybe ask if someone from the LEA could come and observe you? Make sure you note and keep a record of everything.

  11. Thankyou Eva, I realise that now. But of course there is still a special status conferred upon NQTs who have not met the standards in a particular term. Whether or not the technical term is "failure", it very much feels like failure.
    Thankyou everyone else, too, for all the support and encouragement. I'm so stressed out about tomorrow that I'm struggling to plan anything effective, but I'm actually glad that I'll finally be back there again soon, as I think the anticipation is the worst thing at the moment. I'd rather be doing it than dreading doing it. If that makes any sense.
  12. PS I'm a secondary school teacher, so not attached to any particular year.
  13. Exactly! That's why I keep telling people I have failed it even though I know technically the term is I "may not pass" or whatever...
  14. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Senior commenter

    I think it is just much easier to say 'fail' rather than the mouthful on the NQT report. It does feel like 'failed to meet the standards this term'. If it's not that then did we meet them? No... people get so angry on here when people use the term 'fail'. We know what we are talking about when we use it, it's just easier and does actually make a lot of sense.
  15. Not wishing to patronise but you wouldn't say to a kid who hadn't quite grasped calculus in the first three lessons "you are failing", would you? It's shorthand alright but it's not especially helpful shorthand!
    I admire the OP for taking it on the chin, not allocating blame to anyone else and trying to sort it out, learn from it and move forward. I wish you every success.
  16. I haven't much to add except that thinking of this as 'failing' is not helpful at all. Others are right, as teachers we would not say that the children keep failing so why should we do the same for NQTs?
    The action plan should have targets and then it should provide success criteria - that is, how you (and your mentor) know when you have met the target. Again it's like working with pupils setting them targets and not explaning how they reach them and how they will know when they have met them is not on.
    If I were you I would start toi keep a small portfolio of evidence that you are meeting the standards. This is similar to but not as comprehensive or extensive as the one you compiled for QTS - the induction standards are very similar to the QTS standards. That way it's not just one off obnservations that determine if you are or are not meeting the standatrds at the end of the year.
  17. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Yes. Further to James' advice, keep a little note in your diary of things such as meetings attended and what they covered; phone calls made to parents and what was discussed (this meets a standard); discussions/informal chats had with colleagues about planning, marking, etc (goes to collaborative working)...in short, just note everything down. Get into the habit of doing it at the end of each day. Then, once a month or so, look back through your notebook/diary and next to each note put down what standard you were meeting. Nothing laborious, just good practice and also covers you in case your mentors turn out to be ineffective and useless.
  18. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    I've just been having a random bimble and I started poking through my hotlist and I found a thread I started towards the end of jan in 2008.


    Since then I did manage to complete my induction through supply, although the last few weeks of that was 'interesting', I did supply for about 4 terms in total. I then got my second perm post, and I'll not go into that as I seemed to have as much success at that as I did in my first induction school!! Well worse actually since I had to have time off for stress. I'm now back on supply working a long term contract and things arn't going too badly atm. My last job still has a lot to answer for as i've got some lingering skin issues around my eyes when i didn't have bad skin there before, the joys of stress. I must admit that my last job is also the reason why I'm now looking at finding other work long term but I'm content enough to teach whilst I work on a subject masters.

    The main reason why I'm posting, and I'll own up to not having read this thread in full, is to try and re-assure those struggling that things can work out. You might have to change schools like I did but if thats what it takes thats what it takes. From my second post I really did come to the conclusion that no job is worth the hassle, :I was still pulling in the long hours trying to work my socks off so that I could do well etc but the odds were stacked against me. I know on induction you've got to work in the evenings and stuff don't let it dominate you completely. When I was finishing my induction I was also learning sugn language, It was one evening a week and that was the thing that I always made sure I did.

    If lots of people are telling you your lessons arn't up to spec then tell them that you want them to show you a lesson that is up to spec and you want them to take you through the planning they'ed do to puyt a good lesson together. Also remember if it's a member of SLT or a long established teacher telling you this if they were paratrooped into another random school then the kids would run riot with them When i was doing supply i heard a story of a former assistant/deputy head that thought he'd have an utter doddle on supply because he used to be able to walk into a classroom and the kids would go quiet. From what i understand he was completely haggard after break and only two lessons, i can't remember if he managed to finish the rest of the day. I know it's really hard but my day to day supply taught me to not let the behaviour get to you, although last year it was. This year it's kinda somehwere in the middle but I'll see how it goes.

    I've stuck this thread in my hotlist but please remember you all made it through training and you can all make it through induction. If anyone wants to message me please feel free and I'll try and have a read of this thread in full later. In the mean time it's break and I really need to get to the loo!!
  19. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Even those who didn't 'fail' an Induction term have not necessarily met the standards either!
    The verdict is actually about whether they consider that you are on target to meet all the standards by the end of the Induction period. Some people make what is regarded as satisfactory progress in terms 1 and/or 2 and still fail the final Induction term.
    The decision made might well be different if the NQT were in a different school, based on the same performance. One school might 'pass' the NQT based on having met some standards or being close to meeting a range of standards, whilst others might deem that a 'fail' or, using the appropriate terminology ' not making sufficient progress ....'.
  20. Maybe - just maybe -and I don't mean to be harsh - teaching is not for you.

    Just my tuppence worth

Share This Page