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Does it get easier?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by mishelli1990, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I am a recently employed NQT at a secondary school in Liverpool. I am already finding this job so overwhelming and pressured after just 4 weeks of my first term. The behaviour in the school is awful, I feel completely out of my depth and there hasn't been a single day so far into the job that I haven't cried, and I never normally cry.

    Is this what my future will be if I continue teaching? Or does it get easier? I feel already that I just want to quit after wanting to do this for my entire adult life. If any one has quit after their NQT year, what career paths have you gone into post teaching?

    Any help or guidance would be great.

    Thanks. :)
  2. patternandsurface

    patternandsurface Occasional commenter

    Have you spoken to your mentor about how you are feeling and how things are going?
    In terms of behaviour management, have you been supported with strategies and advice?

    Its hard to say what your future will be, each schools is different from the next in terms of behaviour, management and student intake. Some schools gets students from affluent areas and so there are few behaviour problems, instead the focus is getting high grades consistently.
    Mind, as an NQT and a new teacher your fair game, so consistency is key, as is your seating plan and following through with the sanctions you've given out. Try to build rapport with students, eg if a troublesome student is on a school team, ask how training is or how a competition went.

    I've been told teaching gets more managable as you get more experiance.
    mishelli1990 likes this.
  3. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Thank you for this. I am hoping that things change, but I do feel like after this year I couldn't continue here. My brain never shuts off and I am constantly on edge all the time.We have 2 members of staff from the faculty off (one of whom is my mentor who is off until at least half term), and we have faculty review this week.

    I hope this does get more manageable otherwise my dream of being a teacher for a career will be over come July!
  4. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Not all schools are the same.

    During the first part of my NQT year I was at a very difficult school, and massively under-supported. The timings of lessons and pace of the day did not help (class started at 8:30, lunch not until 13:15! Then after lunch only 1 period remaining before home time - awful). The workload was immense - planning, marking assessments, expected to mark everything in books every 2 weeks (English teacher). Not to mention the bullying management, things that had happened in the department before I started... toxic. I became ill, like you describe.

    I left (forced, but glad). I completed my NQT year elsewhere, and it could not have been more different! The workload was still massive, but we were trusted more, supported more, and 99% of the people I worked with were genuinely lovely and kind - and that made all the difference. I work abroad now, and am totally left alone to get on with things, which suits me fine after my early experience!

    Before you give up - and I understand why you would want to - consider whether a different school next year might help you.

    Also, you have a right to a mentor, and as the NQT year is set out by the government your school must comply with this requirement. You need regular mentor meetings, one per week, during school time - it needs to be on your timetable.

    Have a look here for details:

    You are crying out for help - you have left multiple messages on here - please go and see your doctor. They will not judge you, they have seen it all before. They can sign you off if necessary, give you medication if required, simply provide advice on wellbeing if you prefer... I really feel for you x
    mishelli1990 likes this.
  5. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I'm so very very sorry to hear of this. It seems an awful thing that a good teacher should feel so fed up with bad behaviour etc and no employee should feel, at the end of the day, that they are overwhelmed and depressed. Do let your head know of this. This bad behaviour needs sorting out. Oh, good luck. I hope that things will get better for you. So sad!
    mishelli1990 likes this.
  6. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Thank you for your reply. Yes it is so frustrating. The school is like a huge babysitting unit where every so often if behaviour isn't too bad, I get to teach a lesson. Which is not what teaching should be or is about. I hope that I make t through my NQT year but I think after July I will definitely be taking a step back from teaching and explore my options going forward.

    Thanks again.
  7. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Thank you so much for this. I hope that I can complete my NQT and get it over and done with, and then I definitely need to explore my options and be extremely selective with schools in future to maintain my sanity if I do continue teaching.

    I am going to hopefully get a doctors appointment ASAP and see what options are there to keep me going because I do want to at least get my NQT year done in case I want to return to the profession
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  8. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    You are SO right. I have never worked anywhere like this and, as a children's poet, I often go into local schools and skype into schools worldwide, and I've never ever seen a school like this. I have friends whose children also go to our local school and the children are doing really well and no trouble in the classrooms. I taught for more than 30 years without seeing anything like this. The school should be coming down heavily on those who are causing trouble in your classroom.
    mishelli1990 and blueskydreaming like this.
  9. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    You have a statutory right to clear and structured support.
    If you ask for help, make detailed notes about it. Do the same for the response.

    If your mentor is away they should be replaced.

    And it does get easier. Easy to say, but it usually does.

    Your attitude to seeing it through is commendable. I reckon you’ll be fine.
    mishelli1990 and Lucy2711 like this.
  10. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Thank you everyone for your replies. I am slowly but surely realising after this year that teaching at the minute definitely isnt for me. The only reason I am sticking it out is so I can pass my NQT year. This is a horrible decision to make but I just feel that the way I am feeling is going to put strain on my life, health and relationships.

    State secondary schools at the minute are like zoos, where it is a case of simply keeping the children in their seats is an achievement. I cannot do this at all because that is not what I got into teaching for. I got into teaching to TEACH, and I feel that unfortunately I am just not able to do that.

    I am going to go to the doctors to get myself through this year, but I already know my mind is made up. I want to maybe come back to teaching at some point but I will be more selective and cautious when taking a job.
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  11. Swarles

    Swarles New commenter

    Some state secondary schools may be like this. Not all are. Teaching may not be for you and I'm sorry you're finding your NQT year so difficult so far, but it does get easier and there are different schools which you may find suit you better. Teaching is hard and often thankless but the reward, when they happen, are amazing.

    Find a school that suits who you are as a teacher and more importantly that supports you.
    simonCOAL and mishelli1990 like this.
  12. SilverMayFall

    SilverMayFall New commenter

    I am in my second year at a school where the behaviour is challenging.

    Last year I felt the same.

    The pupils know me more this year and their behaviour has improved hugely.

    Stick to your guns, in terms of implementing your behaviour strategies, in your own classroom.

    There's no substitute for giving it time to create a positive relationship with your pupils.
    simonCOAL and mishelli1990 like this.
  13. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Thank you for this, I just don’t think I could do another year after this one. Some pupils are great but I have completely lost my passion for teaching in just 4 weeks.

    I feel like I need a job where there is less pressure and I can come home and shut off from it. Where with teaching I just can’t. It is always on my mind. I never thought I’d say this but I miss just a normal job where I can finish and leave work in work.

    I think I am a good teacher but I just don’t think I can cope with what comes with it. Which makes leaving after this year an even harder decision.
  14. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    I completely agree, I just feel I can’t cope with the pressure and stress that comes with teaching. 4 weeks in and I have already had countless sleepless nights, crying episodes and meltdowns (not in front of the pupils of course).

    I think my passion for teaching has been broken in these last 4 weeks and I need a job where I still work with teaching or education, but where I can leave work at work. I sit at home and all I think about is work and I just can’t continue that. I think to teach you need to give 100% and after completing my NQT I know I won’t have the drive to do that and I would be letting the pupils down. I hope this changes but at the minute I feel after this year I can’t continue in the profession.

    Thank you for your reply.
  15. rjkenney2087

    rjkenney2087 New commenter

    You’ve described exactly how I feel. I think I was naive to think it was going to be easy. The problem I have is the feeling that all the other teachers have got it under control and I haven’t. I observed my worst class with another teacher and they were angelic, they said “We’re scared of him”. I’m not ‘scary’ (smaller than most students older than year 10 and I look young for my age) so I have to build relationships to gain respect, and it takes time I guess. I keep comparing myself to teachers who have 10+ years of experience and I shouldn’t. I know exactly how you feel about not being able to switch off, it’s turning me into a horrible person at home too - my poor fiancé!

    What subject are you teaching?
    mishelli1990 likes this.
  16. hsssmith2

    hsssmith2 New commenter

    Gosh I'm in an inner city Liverpool state school but thankfully I'm an NQT on supply so I can walk out at any time but sounds exactly the same as the school I'm in. It is like a zoo too and the kids are not scared of any consequences/punishment . I also had a similar experience on my 2nd placement in a similar school which put me off applying for NQT roles, so I am doing supply instead on advice of teacher friends.

    Now I'm covering someone who's been signed off sick (I can see why). I'm I am SO SO glad I didn't jump into a role after my experiences. I am doing this to see what schools I like or don't like before I take any perm teaching job but at the moment this is putting me off teaching too.

    You're not alone! I am feeling exactly the same. Do not be scared of seeking doctors advice/getting signed off or resigning before the end of the year for a new post or supply xx
    mishelli1990 likes this.
  17. Aperture94

    Aperture94 New commenter

    I’ve been there, I promise it’ll get better if you make some changes!

    I completed my NQT year in a school in London, I moved from the North for the job as it sounded like a fantastic opportunity. However, I cried everyday and felt anxious 24/7. It was awful. The school tried to support me but the school already had a such a high turn over of students, they had a lot on their plate.

    Fast forward to March, I handed in my notice. I realised that feeling this way wasn’t normal and wasn’t fair on my fiancé. From then on, I started to find some peace, to the point that when I left in July, with no school to go to, I felt sad saying goodbye to the kids I had taught.

    In terms of behaviour, make sure you are strict. It’s easier said than done as I was all over the place when I first started and they knew they could walk all over me. Seating plans, call on SLT if needed and detentions were the three things that changed behaviour in my classroom. By the end of the year it wasn’t perfect, but it was a whole mile better than when I first started! Make sure you’re consistent and try not to let it get to you when they do misbehave. Remember you are a fantastic teacher, you passed your PGCE! It’s their behaviour that is the issue.

    If all else fails, start looking elsewhere. I left the South without a job to go to, but I found an amazing job over the summer where I am so happy. I’ve never once cried and anxiety/depression is a thing of the past (except mild anxiety, like have I left the door open and worrying all day haha)

    I hope this helps, if you need a pep talk then feel free to send me a direct message. A kind TES member did this to me when I was going through a rough time and it helped me so much.
    mishelli1990 likes this.
  18. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Thank you so much for your reply. Your experience in London doing your NQT sounds so similar to me at the minute.

    If you don't mind me asking, have you stayed in teaching, or changed careers? I am sure I will take you up on the offer of sending a direct message, as I am already feeling the Sunday dread, so I would love to know how you coped.

    Thanks again for your reply. :)
  19. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    I really wish I would have done supply over a full year as an NQT. It is extremely tough and has put me off teaching in such a short space of time.

    I feel so awful because it is in no way the staff in my department as they are extremely supportive, it is solely down to the attitude and behaviour of the students. It is just a constant battle, and one I am not willing to fight after this year is up.

    Thank you so much for your reply, it is so reassuring to know its not just myself who is struggling and becoming disillusioned with teaching so early on.
  20. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Thank you for your reply, I didn't expect it to be easy, but I never imagined how tough it was going to be. :(

    I compare myself to other teachers too which is so easily done, but I see that they have just become 'used to' the demands and difficulties of teaching, rather than doing anything different to me. I just don't think I want to have this as my normality and until the system changes I don't think I will return to teaching after my NQT for a long time.

    I am teaching Secondary History (mainly) but I also teach Geography (which I hate, no offence intended to geographers) and RE.

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