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Failing NQT

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by aysheaslaughter, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. I passed my PGCE in 2010 - had a great training year, loved both of my placement schools and passed with Distinction (after gaining a 1st class degree) in secondary Geography. Jobs were scarce in my first year and I was limited by the distance I could travel as I have a young family. I ended up on supply, which I didn't enjoy much, although it did give me an opportunity to experience different schools, some good, some bad. I secured a temporary position last year at the beginning of July, just when I was beginning to think I would be on supply again in September.
    It seemed like the dream job. The school had moved to a new building 12 months earlier, it is in a nice area and although in terms of distance it is a little further than I would prefer, it was a great opportunity. The post was temporary for a year with the possibility of a permanent position. I was told I would be teaching mainly KS3 Geography, with 1 year 7 History class, and 2 year 7 Learn2Learn classes and 3 periods a week team teaching GCSE Geography with my HOD (who is also HOF). When I arrived in September my timetable was slightly different to the one I had been given in July and instead of 2 year 7 Learn2Learn they had changed it to 1 year 7 L2L and 1 year 7 Personal development (which is divided into Citizenship and PSHE). This meant a little extra planning but I didn't mind as I always try and view everything positively and viewed it as adding to my experience and bonus points on my CV.
    All was going well, apart from an observation I had with one of the assistant heads which he judged to be inadequate in terms of behaviour. I was a bit worried as I get very nervous in observations and I can honestly say that my behaviour management, whilst not perfect, is much better in my day to day teaching, but I kept my head down and have been trying lots of different techniques - some work, some don't, but isn't that what your NQT year is about?
    Then in November the school had to rejig the timetable due to the head of Psychology being signed off with an unknown illness caused by stress (she is still absent now and doesn't look likely to return this year). Because of this I had 2 of GCSE classes taken off me and was given 2 RE classes (1 year 7 and 1 year 8) instead. Again, I didn't complain and have just been getting on with it.
    In addition to this my school has some very strict policies in place and strict rules that staff have to adhere to. Since September I have had 5 official observations, 7 learning walks, 4 planner checks and a faculty review ( which was like an internal ofsted).
    I have had 2 observations this term which have both been inadequate because of behaviour (both with year 8 classes who are causing problems for experienced teachers, not just me, in fact the whole of year 8 are a problem at the moment, so much so that the head of year 8 and the SMT link for year 8 are rolling out guidance for all teachers to be followed in certain year 8 classes - such as no group work, individual work only, lots of worksheets etc). I have had support from an outside consultant who came in and spent the day with me, observing me and guiding me and I found that really useful and have been able to successfully implement a lot of his advice. I read behaviour management books and spend a lot of time reading Tom Bennett's advice here and find that some things have really worked and I can see a real improvement in some areas.
    The feedback I receive is always constructive and there are always lots of good things about my lessons when I am observed. The last observation was with my deputy head and she kept saying ?I know you?re training and still learning etc? but still graded my lesson as inadequate. And yet, my HOD has just completed my end of term report and she has indicated that I am failing. I am at the point now where I am ready to give up. I am working incredibly hard ? most days I don?t leave school until 6pm and I often get up at 5am to work for an hour before I go to school. I cannot possibly put in any more effort and I am beginning to admit defeat. One of the issues I have been pulled up on is my marking ? I am always behind with day to day marking, however, when I have to mark assessments (which is usually about 1 every 4 weeks for each class) I spend a lot of time doing so, making detailed comments on every piece of work, whilst sticking to the school?s strict marking policy (we have to stamp each piece of work with a special stamp which has to be filled in which asks for 3 comments on strengths, one question we have to pose to each pupil and a target.
    If I didn?t have to spend time (probably about 4 hours a week, not including marking) planning RE, History, L2L and PD I would have more time to mark and plan for behavior more effectively in my Geography lessons. There are 3 other NQTs in my school and they all seem to be doing fine, however, all of them teach KS4 and 5 as well as 3, whereas I only teach KS3 so never get the chance to sit down for 20 mins or so in a lesson to do a bit of planning or marking.
    I am really trying hard to keep my head up and improve in all areas, however, I feel that as much as I am failing, the school are failing me too. I am not sure how to proceed or where to go next. Part of me just wants to get on with it and to try and scrape through next term, the other part of me wants to raise the issue with school and possibly the union, even though I think if I do this not much will change.
    Advice please???
  2. FRom what you write the school seem to be putting in placxe everything that they need to; so the question is whether or not the mix of subjects and changes to timetable are ahving a disproportionate effect on your ability to meet the induction standards - they may well be. I would contact your union and seek advice on whether changes can be made to your timetable to return to your specialist subject. You should not be asked to teach outsideyour specialism during induction, though I will stress that it is possible with agreement on both sides- I suspect this was imposed and I think you need to make the school aware that the stress of having to deal with the other subjects is affecting your ability to meet the induction standards and that the fail may werll be appealed due to this. The LA NQT adviser should also be in on the discussions now, but in the first instance get specialist help from your union to see if changes can be made that reduce the stress and leave you to work on the things that are not happening to their satisfaction.
    The Sage

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