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Dear Sage: NQT mess

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by lost_NQT, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. I completed an enjoyable and successful PGCE in 2010, but my experience since then has been very negative and I am looking for some advice on how I should proceed. I think I have made some bad decisions previously and do not want to mess up my career completely.
    My first post was in a brand new Academy where on the whole I had a good teaching timetable and found the job demanding but again an enjoyable challenge. The problems here were with my mentors. I will not write too much about the exact problems but I felt from the start that I was not being treated fairly, and was disheartened by the fact that I did click with them like did during ITT . I did not have a structured mentor meeting in the first half term at all, and no specific targets were set for me throughout the whole term even though I felt I was constantly critisised informally.
    I spoke to the headteacher in the first half term and noted that I was not happy and was considering handing in my notice mainly due to a difficult relationship with one of my mentors, however he assured me that there would be no such problems during the next half term and I decided to stay. Things did marginally improve in the second half but there were still many problems dealing with the mentor mentioned above.
    I had another mentor who, while was not really offering any structured support was slighlty more approachable and reasonable. This mentor signed off my end of term assessment with some fairly critical comments but as making satisfatcory progress. I still wasn't 100% happy but decided that as it was a brand new school things would settle ddown in the second term. However on the last day of the first half term i was asked to see the head teacher, in the meeting was the 2 mentors and my head of department, I was then told that by the head teacher that he did not have enough evidence to allow him to sign that I was making satisfactory progress. The reason given was that there was not enough evidence in my folder. I had been asked to hand this in (after receiving the signed copy from the mentor saying evrything was ok). I had asked the mentor who signed the assessment several times was i going to fail afer all the negativity, but was assure don't worry if there was a serious problem we would have let you know. I was devasted.
    I had already been suffereing a great deal of stress up until this point, and pretty much told them all in that meeting that I would not come back. To be fair my head of dep, and the one mentor acknoweldged that things had been done badly but after a very unhappy christmas I confirmed I would be not going back. It is worth mentioning that all my official obs went well, and was observed by the headteacher.
    I then did supply up until the first half term where I loved every second of it before I got another contract until next sep.
    I actually applied to this post as a cover superviser but they ended up taking me on as a teacher. What I wasn't told was that I was taking over from a failed teacher and every single class I had was very challenging in terms of behaviour. I had no help whatsoever no one else in the department wanted to know, but was told by the head teacher that I should not be having any problems. The school had just come out of special measures and the department i was in was a complete mess. There is too much to write about my experience at this School so I wont even start, but I do know that several staff have gone into this department and walked out as I eventually did.
    I chased the school until decemeber to get the assessemnt paper work and eventually recieved in some ways more complimentory assessment from the last, but again showing that I was not making satisfactory progress. I honestly think an experienced teacher would have struggled in this situation, and was quite annoyed it was not made clear that I was taking over from another teacher who was letting all their classes do whatever they pleased.
    I then did supply till the end of the year.
    The whole of last year I worked as a TA in a special school and had a brilliant time and gained some fantastic experiecne, I now have a job as cover superviser in a mainstream school starting sep.
    Last year I did not apply for any further teaching positions as I was still a little shocked by the events of the previous year.
    If this year goes well I will be looking to get back into teaching. Do you have any help or advice for me? Are there any changes to the induction process? I don't think anyone could mess up induction more than I have, but still want to carry on. I feel with my past record I will be only be able to get a job in the type of schools i have previously been a teacher at. I now have permanent contract as a cover super viser, should I just wait at this school until a teaching job comes up, so I won't get caught out again? Do I just not have what it takes?
  2. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    First of all, you know better than anyone whether you have what it takes. No matter what your previous mentors felt, you have moved on since then. It does sound as if you have struggled with some things and it may be that some is down to you, or it may be that you have been unfortunate and would have been fine in other schools. You will obviously be careful not to put yourself in a similar situation again, BUT, don't wait too long before getting back into teaching, if that is what you want to do. The longer you leave it, the more your applications will look like cover supervisor/TA than teacher, and you'll be at a disadvantage against other applicants, Hope it works out for you.
  3. You certainly have had a difficult time, from what you write. In essence you have completed some of your induction period. There is no pass or fail term by term it is, as you note progress term by term until term theree. Only then is a pass/fail decision made. So you seem to have completed two terms leaving just one term to complete to pass induction. There are new induction guidelines coming in this September, broadly similar to the previous one, but with some differences. For example an academy does not have to offer induction and whether you complete or not, they can employ you as a teacher and there is no need for any further induction. That said, it is much easier if you have it sewn up and completed. Happiness in your post counts for a lot and if you are happy and managing and there is no pressure to move/take a post (e.g. financial) then it may be an idea to sit where you are happy and see if a post comes up. If you do need to move, then remember that at interview it is ytour chance to interview the school - ask about their induction arrangements, ask if it is possible to speak to someone who has gone through induction in that school to see how they perform as a supportive school. I believe in gut instinct and if you are at a school thatb 'feels' right then it may well be a good school for you.
    You completed PGCE (that's tough fgoing) and you have survived in difficult situations and in schools that deal with difficult children - do you have what it takes... well, what do you think!
    The Sage
  4. Thanks for your replys, some points to think about and I guess things will just work out with time. I am confident I can deliver lessons to a high standard and I have consistent observations to back this up throughout ITT and my 2 terms of induction, but I am very worried about landing myself in another impossible situation and having to deal with unreasonable colleagues again.
    If there are any NQTs or student teachers reading this who want some advice I would be happy to offer some help. You can certainly gain some insight from others mistakes, and I truly feel i have seen everything in the short time I have been teachin. ]
    Good luck NQTs

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