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Dear James, Unsupportive mentor and headteacher.

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by james., Mar 22, 2010.

  1. james.

    james. New commenter

    Dear James


    Having started at a school in January, and began my NQT period, a few issues have arisen and I have a few questions.


    It?s an ok school and most staff are supportive on a day to day basis, but I?m having a few issues with my mentor and the headteacher. This is mainly to do with observations, so my question is: is it possible to be observed by someone from outside of the school?


    When I started the head said that I?ll be mentored by herself and one of the other teachers as neither of them has time to do it full time. Unless I actively push for help on issues I get very little support. I often have to chases things up just to find out what they are as things are never explained when they are given to me. Though the other teacher makes time for informal meetings every few weeks, I don?t feel I receive much support. Is there a minimum amount of time mentors are supposed to give to NQT?s? Or any official guidelines? I?ve emailed the LEA to ask, but as of yet have had no reply.


    During my PGCE my lessons were consistently graded as good or outstanding, but here I don?t seem to be able to get beyond satisfactory. I have agreed with all my observations throughout my training, and some in this school, but for the last two I feel the feedback I have got hasn?t been correct or has been overly negative.


    The last two observations, one by the headteacher, and one by my mentor, were both graded as satisfactory. I have no objection to satisfactoriness, in fact it?s the opposite, I feel that to get a pass I must have done some things well, yet all the feedback I get is negative and phrased as ?you should have done this?? rather than ?work on this area??


    Often it seems like they are picking out very minor things. I got pulled back today for having the learning objective and success criteria displayed during the independent task. (The children should know these and displaying them encourages them not to listen to the input, apparently.) I don?t want to seem like I?m not accepting what they are saying, and don?t want to cause any bad feelings in school, but do I have any grounds to argue these points? I feel like I?m being told what to do rather than being able to discuss my development.


    I used to enjoy observations and getting constructive feedback, but I?m now feeling demoralised by them. Maybe I was just spoilt by having two brilliant mentors for my PGCE.


    Is it possible to get someone from the outside to do an informal, or formal, observation? I?d ask other teachers in school, but would feel bad asking them to give up time and the head would never cover their lessons for them to do so. I?ve asked my TA to do some small observations and look at particular points, but would like a full lesson observed with some constructive feedback.


    Sorry it?s such a long post, I appreciate any time you give to reading this and any feedback you can give me.


    Many thanks,


    James.
     
  2. Hi
    The roles and responsibilities for all involved in induction are outlined in the official NQT guidance here: http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/_doc/12703/080623%20Induction%20Statutory%20Guidance.pdf
    They do seem a little picky from what you write. There should be constructive feedback not - 'do it like this' - perhaps they don't twig that you are not them and will have to develop your own style and teaching approach. Provided it works with children's lkearning then that's fine.
    You should be bale to get the LA person who is in charge of induction to come and observe - without raising suspicion. The LA person normally does do random visits and observations to ensure that induction is being carried out correctly in schools. Rather than e-mail try and get a name and a number and talk to the person explain what you have outlined here and then ask if you could be in their 'random' sample.
    James
     
  3. Hi
    I am currently studying for a masters degree and am focusing on students and NQTs who experience really awful and unsupportive mentors and placement teachers.
    Would you be interested in answering some questions related to your experience? (Rest assured, everything is strictly confidential).
    If you would please could you give me your email and I'll contact you shortly.
    Many thanks!!
    Kat :)
     
  4. I would be happy to help. adrianmichaelbeckett@yahoo.co.uk
     
  5. skellig1182

    skellig1182 New commenter

    I think to often in our PGCEs we are over graded and this is not fair. I have heard mentors/university tutors telling PGCE students their outstanding and I think its wrong. I'm an NQT and to be honest, you should just be managing to get satisfactory if your lucky. Maybe in your second year towards the end you MAY progress to good occassionaly. Teachers should progress through time. If your getting through then thats fine. I wouldnt expect HT and mentors to always be nice. You will find alot of them are very critical. What you need to remember is, you dont need a pat on the back from them, just remember you are doing your best and one day you will be outstanding if you are committed to be.
     
  6. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    I disagree skellig. Surely its like we teach pupils? A year 7 could produce an 'outstanding' piece of homework that would only be a poor attempt when they get to year 10 etc.
    Its should be graded by current progress at that time in a career.
     
  7. skellig1182

    skellig1182 New commenter

    my point is this... People shoulnt expect to get good or outstanding in their first year. Also, I'm not sure what you mean about year 7/10 and homework. Oftsted have one criteria. They dont see you making a poor attempt downline if the quality is the same.
     
  8. skellig1182

    skellig1182 New commenter

    I suppose my view is that its not an easy job and if people think they should master it straight away, then what does it say about the teaching profession you know? It's abit like being a master chef, it takes practice to get it consistantly right;)
     
  9. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    I agree. But someone I still think someone can be and outstanding NQT etc. What I meant by Y7/10 is for example if a 4 year old could read shakespeare it would be pretty 'outstanding' however if they didn't improve by the time they were 10 then they would not longer be thought of as 'outstanding'.
    Just because we should be improving all the time doesn't mean that someone couldn't be classed as good or outstanding for that point in their career.
     
  10. Sillow

    Sillow Senior commenter

    I'm an NQT. I got Outstanding from Ofsted this year. However, that doesn't mean that I don't think I should still aim to improve! I was probably just having a good day. Or the inspector was. [​IMG]
     
  11. Dear James
    I am currently doing PGCE and I have some issues with my personal tutor at university. During my first placement I passed my first observation with my school mentor. I then had a second observation with my personal tutor( university tutor) which I failed. A misconception arose during my lesson where I was doing a survey with a group of children and I had accidently added six tallys when there were only five children, I added a extra tally because one child had voted twice during the session I told the child that he should'nt have voted twice however I did not repeat the survey. She said that my resources werent good enough because I had used work sheets for the high attainers , the class teacher had asked me to use worksheets with this group because they had to practice answering exam questions and they had exams the following week. I did show my resources to the school mentor and have written evidence that the school mentor had seen my resources and lesson plan prior to the session and she did not tell me that there was a problem. I can see that I made mistakes and I understand why I failed my observation however when I tried to explain to her thethe tutor that class teacher had observed me during my lessons and she had a high opinion,she told me she was'nt interested (the class teacher was ill when the university tutor had come to the school and therfore could not give her opinion on how I work on a day to day basis). The tutor asked that I was observed again by the school and she had a meeting with the school mentor. After this meeting I approached the mentor and asked her what would happen and she said she planned on failing me because she did not want to contradict the tutor. Prior to my next observation lesson I showed the school mentor my lesson plan and resources and we discussed how I should differentiate. I met the university tutor before the lesson as she had approached me while I was photocopying and she asked me if I was nervous and I hesitated she then said 'You should be'. During the lesson with the school mentor I failed the observation, the mentor said my resources were'nt good enough and that I differentiated via outcome. She had seen my lesson plan and resources and told me how to differntiate and I do have wriiten evidence that she had seen me prior to the lesson. I had diffrentiated my learning objectives and success criteria for the high and low attainers. I know that I should have alerted the university about how my mentor had seen my resources prior to the lesson however at this point it was evident that the univeristy tutor was not going to support me for I was verry upset when the tutor approached me and told me that I should be nervous. The university tutor was now aware that I had failed my placement and she had the opportunity to come back to the school to observe me again howvever she refused saying that she did'nt want to put me underpressure. I was then told by the university that if I failed my second placement I would be asked to leave the course however I passed my second placement and the school mentor at my second placement said 'that either you have dramatically improved or your observations at your previous placement were unjust' (I had a different university tutor for my second placement). I had passed my second placement despite the fact that my sister had died in January. I have now been told by the university that even though I have passed my second placement I have to have an early review because I am repeating the placement I failed earlier on in the year. I feel as if my personal tutor was not very supportiveand she could have prevented me from failing my first placement and as a result I have been put 'underpressure' for the remainder of the year. I spoke to the NUT and they said that her behaviour towards me is questionable and that this tutor should not observe me again and I should ask the university for another personal tutor. I have been told that she might be my tutor for my final placement and if this is the case how can I approach the university about my concerns without being victimised by them?
     

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