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Failing school is failing me. My dream is over

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by gembod3236, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. gembod3236

    gembod3236 New commenter

    I posted on here a few months back as I'd been unsupported through the first four terms of my employment. Had to extend my induction due to being off sick with my back for 3 months. Therefore by term 5 I should have completed my 3 terms of induction as my sickness overlapped terms 2&3. In term 1 I had 2 meetings with my mentor, one to ask me to print off nqt materials which I put in a file that she kept in her office, the other was to write up mock dates of meetings as an external observer was coming in (had been bought with my nqt money) to observe me and check things we're going well. I was observed and assessed as good and passed that 1st term. On the last day before Christmas hols I was told I would be moving class starting the first day back in January (term 2). I'm in an SLD school and was moving from the secondary department to KS1, the class which was deemed as the behaviour class. I had no preparation time for this shift, didn't know the children and the room was bare and poorly resourced.

    I spent that Christmas in a constant state of panic and tried to work all the way through to get something prepared but had no idea what to expect. My visit to that class on that last day of term had terrified me as children were climbing on furniture, throwing objects around the room and it was total chaos.

    I did not receive a single piece of help in that first half term after Christmas, no mentor meetings, still no training on anything at all either in or out of school. I would get laughed at and mocked by the SLT (my mentor was one) when I asked how to use assessment formats that were different from my first term, paperwork, forms, expectations were all completely different and I had very challenging children who were constantly hurting other children then laughing, loving the chase.
    My resources were dire, when I asked for some I was told to ask other teachers. But it became very obvious very quickly that teachers were reluctant to let go of their resources. I had followed a bought in curriculum similar to the old qca in my other department but here, it was too demanding. So I ended up writing it all from scratch, using the children's p-level data to inform my planning.

    By Feb half term a disc had prolapsed in my back (whilst at school) and I ended up off work until the beginning of June. I knew I'd have to defer two terms and accepted that. During my time off the school were ofsted inspected and received RI.

    In my fourth term I hoped I'd receive support now especially with the new inspection rating. I'd been winging it for the beginning of term 3 and end of term four. Had no observations or feedback on planning that I submitted every week without fail. I didn't always get my nqt time slot or ppa because they didn't have anyone to give me for my nqt time to cover properly..

    My mentor went off sick long term and wasn't replaced with anyone for me. Again I just carried on the way I could. No one seemed to care and I was just left to figure it out. In term 5 I was informed that as my 2 year contract was coming to an end and there was only one post available I needed to complete a Matrix assessment against the standards which a colleague who started at the same time as me, would also need to do. He had been a teacher for 20 years but was renowned for doing nothing. He didn't plan, assess or even have a class. He played piano so went to each class and mostly used an iwb to play songs from YouTube to sing. I knew how hard I worked despite the lack of support.

    I was often left alone with my class because I didn't have staff to change or they were taken to help in other classes.
    Long and short of that is, he got the contract, not me. I was absolutely confused, as were the rest of my colleagues in school. Seems that him playing the piano at events when parents came in was more important than a hugely committed teacher. I was mortified.
    I then began to ask questions about my final term being signed off. We were getting close to Easter and I'd heard nothing. No one gave me any answers until the day it was announced that our head had been suspended. It turned out that the matrix assessment hadn't been passed by the governors at all, they were unaware of the permanent post availability. In fact it was illegal. In this process the head had filed to make me redundant despite my contract ending in the summer anyway.

    It then transpired like a brick to the face, that nothing had been submitted etc for my nqt for the second or third term.
    I had no mentor at all, no evidence of development or support. A woman from the la was brought in to support me who helped me begin to change my classroom into continuous provision. With no outdoor learning area and no resources this was almost impossible. My staff had changed over 8 times since September and she did bring that up with school as there was no consistency at all in my classroom. I was then signed off for term 3 by an external examiner who didn't know the full story, as a 4. I was then given another mentor, again external as she is from another school. She again didn't know the situation and I wasn't getting the chance to discuss it with her. All she saw was an nqt who kep having extensions and presumed it was simply because I was inadequate.

    We now have a new interim head and deputy who started before summer. The head gave out new coordinator roles to teaching staff 3 weeks before the end of the school year, told them to write medium term plans for their newly assigned subjects and have it ready for September. In a blind panic I went to see him in the last week of term asking how I plan over summer for my new class when I don't know what I'm doing in each subject. He said not to worry, we will come together in September, get everyone's planning and take it from there. I felt so disorganised but spent the summer completely changing my classroom layout to create a continuous provision feel.

    Upon my return, we had no planning - all but one teacher it seemed had refused to work over summer. I had nothing but had observations due in week two. They changed my Nqt day which fell on the observation day. I'd asked a week prior via email to reschedule the day but that morning as I was leaving my class, the deputy turned up to observe me. I was completely unprepared as my hlta teaches that morning for me. I got pulled on the resources I'd made as they should have been bought (my own money) and said it seemed ill prepared. I then asked to be observed again when I was prepared and was given a 3. Suddenly my objectives were too broad. This is my third term and they've never been mentioned.

    I was then observed by the external woman again this week who hasn't given me feedback or targets from last term yet. I tried to push them and it failed. I recognised it immediately and retracted recapping and strengthening their prior learning. But the damage was done. I was marked down on how I used resources for communication even though the communication specialist is the one who told me I had to do it that way. Oh and I was marked down for not having the resources she wanted to see last time. I was told they're not that expensive, go buy them.

    I'm now being put on a support plan as the external woman thinks I won't meet the standards. I've worked so hard for this, work every night and every weekend. I'm the only one to submit planning those first couple of weeks and other paperwork but they're now penalising me for not being supported or trained since the minute I got there. My contract ends in February half term. My nqt was extended to Christmas to make up for two terms of no support.
    Is the support plan going to allow them to fail me and get rid of me in December? They're going to leave me with nothing and this is my life. I can't imagine doing anything else. I just don't know what to do. Oh and incidentally. The teacher who got the permanent contract constantly comes to me for advise and even copied my planning!

    I'm so exhausted, demoralised and scared because there is no way back. I just don't think it's fair at all.

    So sorry for the length. Even if no-one reads it, it's been very therapeutic lol
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    1. Go to see your doctor on Monday morning. You may need some medical assistance or advice, as you say you're exhausted, and no doubt stressed.

    2. After you see your doctor you need to phone your union and inform them of everything. Tell them it's urgent, that it's in relation to failing the NQT year. Phone head office, not regional.

    3. You need to talk to the named person at the LA - they appear to have been as disorganised and unsupportive as your school, judging by the above. If you were not being supported by the school, and someone from the LA visited and was made aware of it, they should have kept a check on the situation and ensured that the school improved your support. It doesn't sound like this happened. Especially as the school went into RI - they should have ensured you were supported.

    It's not too late. I think you really need to resign to save yourself. If you resign before the final NQT report is submitted (which should be December, as you say above) this means the final term still remains. Get the support of your union. Get the support of the LA - they can extend again. Get your union to help negotiate an early release (and an agreed reference) from this incompetent and toxic school. After that I suggest you take a couple of weeks to try and forget the place ever existed, then when ready do some supply work to build your confidence and find a decent school.
    sabrinakat, pepper5 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  3. gembod3236

    gembod3236 New commenter

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and reply. I apologise so much for not replying sooner. I am now off work because I'm having repeated panic attacks. Since this post I've been set up to fail multiple times. I got told to observe a teacher at a specific time on a specific day and when I got to their class, found that they were on ppa. When I asked SLT about it they laughed and then said it was my responsibility to speak to that teacher before hand to organise it. Maybe I should out of courtesy, spoken to them about me observing them but they had been out on a course for all but one day leading up to the arranged date and with Teaching, alternate lunch duty and after school meetings/training, I'd not had the chance. I was mocked for wanting to be spoon fed and spoken to like a five year old for not planning my observation better. I wasthen sent into the classroom to observe how the classroom ran without the Teacher or cover for her. Essentially all I observed was children using the eyfs as a playroom. No observations took place, no guided or focus work or adult focus teaching occurred either. I was there from 9am-11. The support staff apologised but said they had been left without cover all week and so didn't have adult focus sessions in her absence. All in all it was a waste of time for me. Because if I went back and replicated that environment and form of teaching I'd be failed on the spot.

    Later that same day as I discussed classroom layout and how I'd modify mine after my visit that morning, the SLT informed me that I was to be observed by a lady from the LA. I'd had it mentioned in brief that previous week that she was visiting the school and would want to see my files, assessment data and classroom but no mention of observation and it would be the last week in November. Now she was informing me it would be in 2 days, I was to be observed during the children's snack time and there wasn't a focus. When I mentioned that the time was not a directed lesson time, I was told to change my timetable so that it was a lesson time! To me that's absolutely absurd and disruptive to my children's routine.

    I just can't cope anymore, every time I think I'm there I get thrown a curve ball. I'm getting ridiculous requests, demands and half baked initiatives that don't even relate to the children in my class but when I ask for clarification, get knocked down with the spoon feeding comment.

    I cant see how I can go back there,just the idea makes me panicky, hot and upset. I can't focus and I'm just not sleeping. But I'm worried as my nqt was extended by two months already because the school failed to support me. They're still not supporting me but if I don't get granted early release and an extension to my nqt for another term elsewhere, all my hard work, commitment and years of study are going to be for nothing. I've wanted to teach since I was 4. If I can't do this, I don't know what I'll be left with. Ive got a degree in primary education and a pgce in 3-7. If I'm failed, what do I do? What career options are available without a significant pay reduction. I'm so scared. I'm a mother with responsibilities and bills. I don't want them to see me as a failure and I can't afford to drop my wage significantly. It's all such a mess.
  4. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Now that you're signed off you need to try to rest and not think about school. I'm sure things will all work out with the NQT induction, but right now focus on your health.

    You've been treated so badly.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. thatmaninthehat

    thatmaninthehat Occasional commenter

    I'm so sorry to hear your story.It is so depressing to read so many stories like this on here that sometimes I just don't know if I can say anything positive.I was in a similar position last year and I'm sorry to say the experience has damaged my confidence to such a degree that I cannot ever see myself teaching full-time again.I did involve the Union but they were of no help whatsoever.Ive enjoyed doing some day to day supply but I must warn you that work is scarce.I've now taken a much lower paid job to pay the bills and I'm finally beginning to feel happy again.Is there any way you can cut back your spending and live on less?Sorry if this sounds very negative but I'm trying to be realistic.I think if you posted this in Workplace dilemmas more people might see it and have other ideas to help you.
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. gembod3236

    gembod3236 New commenter

    Oh I'm sorry to hear you've had it so tough. So glad it seems to be turning around for you.
    Thanks for the advice, I will always welcome honesty over reassuring words that hold no substance. I am holding onto the possibility that I can get early release and finish my not in a better school. One which has a curriculum, assessment and marking policy and consistent expectations would be a great start. I'll give workplace dilemmas a try too. Thank you
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    A ' dream ' which turned into a nightmare ? - it happens
  8. tomfikky

    tomfikky New commenter

    I can totally relate to what you are going through. I left my first school at the end of term 2 because they expected kids with behaviour problem (also on report) to perfectly behave in my lessons. Fortunately, for me, I got rescued by my training institution and the Ofsted report they got after I left clearly vindicated me...the school was struggling not me.

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