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Feeling sorry for myself.......turned out really, really long!

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by mari_asai, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. I qualified as a Primary School Teacher last year (July 2009) and
    was one of the lucky people who secured a permanent position for the
    following September. I knew that the job situation was pretty dire
    where I'm from and was quite happy to move so I applied both at home
    and in London where I was offered a post. Unfortunately the school
    where I was working had lots of problems; OFSTED imminent, worried
    about the possibility of closure due to consistently poor results, all
    of the planning had been wiped from the system by the previous teacher
    who had left on competency procedures, my year group partner was an
    OSTT who tried to palm off all of the planning on to me (possibly, I
    think, because she resented the fact that I was being paid more than
    her with more non-contact and job security and also because she had her
    own issues with the school and had never taught a class in the UK
    before so didn't know about the renewed framework etc. which the school
    used), the behaviour of my class was awful, I appreciated that there
    would be challenging behaviour in a deprived inner-city area but not to
    the extent there was; chair throwing, fighting including drawing blood
    and refusing to stop and telling staff to f*** off - from a Year 2
    class. There were virtually no resources, the IWB didn't work and the
    classroom had been stripped of almost everything in it before I
    arrived. I was also living in Key-worker accommodation with someone
    who I subsequently found out was smoking/ inhaling heroin in our flat
    which was in an area which was fine during the day but which I found
    very intimidating at night. I looked in to renting privately but
    obviously Inner-London is very expensive unless you are willing to do a
    long commute and I was working all the hours I could to plan and
    resource my lessons and I just couldn't cope with the stress of having
    to look for a place to live on top. I was losing weight, not sleeping
    properly and kept bursting in to tears so I asked to be released from
    my contract last October (having worked there for only six weeks) and
    moved home to live with my parents and decide what to do next. I'm
    very lucky that my parents were willing and able to have me back at
    home to live and hoped that it would be a temporary measure until I was
    able to find a job.
    I looked for work unsuccessfully until the
    Christmas holidays applying for jobs all over the local area (about a
    50mile radius), and after Christmas applied to supply agencies and for
    LEA supply. I found a supply agency and spent only about six weeks on
    day-to-day supply before the agency found me an inductable one term
    maternity cover for the summer term in what was described as a small
    but challenging class (I had no NQT time, observations, targets etc.
    but the school signed my paperwork for a term's induction) I know this
    wasn't a good set-up as I was unable to get any help and support to
    improve as an NQT normally would but I decided that at least it was
    long term work and would help me move towards being fully qualified and
    that given how hard it is to find a job in the area I live in at least
    a current reference and slightly less time left to do for induction
    would be a good thing.
    I successfully completed my term and
    applied (both through the pools and direct to schools) for many jobs
    but was only offered one interview (which I did not get), however the
    supply agency offered me another placement in the same LA. The heads
    of the two schools knew each other so I was actually told by my then
    boss that the other school had been passed my details before the agency
    let me know. I would not have applied for a job at the school due to
    my experiences in the school in London (similarly deprived area, OFSTED
    report, local reputation) but was in a difficult position as the head
    had already spoken to my boss about me and I still needed to get my
    induction papers signed, I also didn't want to upset the agency who
    were my only source of work.
    I took the job at the new school
    (maternity leave cover until October half-term, but possibility they
    might extend it with NQT time and mentor). I started in September and
    two days in I knew I had made a massive mistake. The whole school had
    problems with behaviour, they had a Learning Mentor on call to try and
    remove the disruptive children if things got really bad and the advice
    was just to sit it out and things would get better as the children
    realised you were here for the long term. In the two weeks I was there
    two staff sustained bruises from being hit by children (it was KS2) one
    deliberate and one accidentally when she was restraining a fighting
    child. The class size had increased by 50% since July due to internal
    restructuring which also created more problems due to extra personality
    clashes amongst the children. I stayed for two weeks but decided that
    if I stayed much longer I was going to make myself ill again, I knew
    that I was not the person to turn the class around, in my defence
    neither the behaviour for the PPA cover teacher was even worse than for
    me and some of the children would frequently refuse to obey the head.
    I am once again unemployed and not sure what to do now; the TES reports
    that over 50% of NQTs are unemployed and I'd be willing to bet that the
    percentage of unemployed Primary NQTs in my area is significantly
    higher. I have had a couple of days supply since I quit the other week
    and I'm aware that it should pick up as the term progresses. I've been
    thinking about my options and have arrived at the following:
    Register with more supply agencies in my area - be prepared to do the
    early morning call outs until they get to know me and are willing to
    offer me any longer term posts they might get. Obviously this is complicated by the fact that I need an inductable
    post which I imagine a lot of schools looking for someone on supply are
    not able/ willing to provide. My sixteen months will run out at the
    beginning of June.
    I get to stay in my home area, this wasn't important to me but since my
    experience living in London I realised how lucky I am to have
    supportive family and friends and how much I would rely on this if
    things were stressful again, as any NQT post would probably be. I can
    still apply for jobs direct to schools and be flexible and able to move
    if offered a post. I will not get further in to debt as my parents are
    very kindly letting me stay with them indefinitely for free.
    CONS: I
    spend every day I don't work sitting at my computer applying for jobs,
    phoning and visiting schools, I know from past experience that this
    becomes soul-destroyingly dull and depressing very quickly and you need
    to (at least appear to) be positive and enthusiastic when visiting and
    applying to stand any chance of getting a job! I could also well find
    myself in exactly the same position come June except that my employment
    references, experience and training will be even more out of date.
    This current academic year would be my third cycle of applications to
    the pools (I have only ever been accepted once).
    b) Look for a
    temporary inductable job in areas like London and the South East - I've
    been thinking that maybe I could find a two term maternity cover in an
    area where there is less competition and teachers are more scarce, if
    these even exist now? If anyone could offer an opinionon if this is
    even remotely possible I would be very grateful.
    PROS: This
    would at least allow me to complete my induction so I could do supply
    teaching to earn a living if necessary and might lead on to a more
    permanent job. Also I would then have more flexibility to do
    non-inductable supply which might lead on to a job in my home area in
    the future.
    CONS: After my last experience moving to an area
    where I know nobody and trying to build a new circle of friends and
    social life while also taking on a new job I know how hard it can be,
    I'm also not feeling as emotionally robust and positive as I used to
    given my experiences over the last year or so. I'm not even sure there
    are any areas like I've described as surely other NQTs will have
    relocated to fill the gaps?
    c) Go abroad and teach- I have
    TEFL experience with primary age children as well as the teaching I've
    done in the UK and could fund a CELTA course which might help me to
    find a job in TEFL/ TESOL. I could apply for jobs in schools abroad
    which teach in English/ teach the National Curriculum but I don't speak
    any other languages.
    PROS: I still get to teach which I love, I am able to travel and see the world whilst I am (fairly) young and have no ties.

    CONS: If the future was of no concern to me this is what I
    would do. However whilst I have enjoyed periods of travelling (e.g.
    the 5 months when I did my TEFL) I would always want to come home. It
    worries me that whilst I might be able to teach abroad in the short
    term if it does not help me to get my NQT year out of the way so I
    would still need to do my two terms whenever I came home, which might
    be even more difficult having been out of the English system for a
    while and competing with even more people who would qualify in the
    d) Give up on teaching and try something else - I
    really enjoy teaching even the trickier classes and I have spent the
    last four years working in education, I really don't see myself working
    in an office but I'm not sure what else I could do; outside of
    education I have a degree in humanities and experience of working in
    retail management (also a small amount of admin). I have considered
    applying for the Postgraduate conversion course to do Speech Therapy as
    it would still involve working with children but it would mean
    relocating and spending another few years out of work and taking on
    more loans. I could also go back to being a TA which is what I did
    before I trained as a teacher; Most TA jobs are on temp contract though
    and while I'm not naive enough to expect to earn mega-bucks what I
    earned when I was a TA was not enough to support myself if I wanted to
    live anywhere other than back home with my parents.
    Anyway this
    has turned out to be much, much longer than I expected so thank you for
    reading if you got this far! I've been feeling really down about the whole thing which I know isn't good when I'm so much more fortunate than so many people but I would appreciate any advice about the
    possibillity of finding an inductable job in the South East, the
    practicalities of teaching abroad or if you think I would be better off
    looking for an alternative career. I'd also be happy to hear about
    anyone else's similar (or not so similar) experiences!
    Thank you
    Mari xx

  2. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    As you've already kicked off your supply limit then I would try that first in your happy home location. If a postgrad course for speech therapy does come up the chances are it will start in September? Then both these bases are covered.
    You sound like you've really hated London so for the sake of your sanity I'd strike that off the list.
    Personally I'd also avoid going abroad as you may struggle when you return especially as you won't be able to do supply if you're away past June.
    Sitting at home is depressing (I'm also doing it) is there nothing you can do as a sideline to keep you sane? You could look at evening work if you need some income coming in but it may not pay well, on the pluses it will leave days free to supply. Debs and M&S are looking for temporary Christmas evening staff at the moment...? Sure there will be others too. x
  3. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I suggest persevering in your area to get Induction completed. If you haven't managed it by next June, you can apply to your LA for a supply extension, which could allow you take non-induction supply 9if that's all there is available) for up to another 12 months.
    You should also approach your LA and ask to be put in touch with the advisor for your Key Stage. they will know about more up-coming maternity leaves etc.
    You should also try to secure work direct with schools or via the LA supply register, if there is one. That will allow you to be paid properly and even to progress up the payscale.
    Be aware that returning to teach in the UK after a period abroad can be problematic. You can't just walk into supply work, for instance, or even a contract post. First of all, your supply limit + extension may have expired. Also, it takes longer to get CRB vetting done when they have to have apaper trail rom overseas too. It can take ages for overseas police departments and employers to fill in necessary paperwork, not to mention translation issues.
  4. A very late reply, but from reading your thread, although you seem persistent and motivated, I dont see that the career is for you or that you are cut out fort he career.
    I qualifying through RTP with an open uni degree, so my wokload is substantially more.
    The fact that you are having such short spells at your previous schools is quite a concern, alot of young people go into teaching thinking its all happy happy rosy, but they dont consider the reality until they are in the job.
    How can you gurantee your next position or school will be easier, there is absolutely no gurantee.

    Sorry to sound brutally harsh.
  5. It sounds like you've had some very difficult experiences, I can't imagine how stressed you must have been.
    I think you might find it hard to find employment with such a patchy work history in this climate - btw I'm an NQT and no expert, but that was what struck me when I read your post. I guess headteachers might wonder if you are more likely to leave the job (and them in the lurch) - so it might be an idea to get some support with your applications and covering letters etc? You need to put a positive spin on your experiences or people will just assume you lack the perseverance they're looking for (probably unfair, but then if there are several potential applicants and one has had short spells in a couple of jobs and left, you can imagine how many pre-judgements are probably made).
    Have you posted in jobseekers as well?
  6. internationalschools

    internationalschools New commenter

    From reading your post, I don't actually think you will have problems finding a job. You have one thing - flexibility - which many job seekers don't have, in terms of being prepared to move and also in being prepared to take a non-teaching job. My advice would be to keep all the irons in the fire. Maybe take a non-teaching "jill job" like retail for a few days a week just to get some steady income and to ensure that you don't have a blank on your CV. Around those days, try to get some supply. In the meantime, be on the hunt for a teaching post. I was made redundant last year, and I applied for jobs everywhere from Aberdeen to Brighton. I got a job in the SE (my family are in Scotland), and although it had its challenges, it was the best thing for my CV and I have now made some good friend one year on. By the way, try the site meetup.com if you are moving - it saved my life! That's how I got a social life when I moved to a place where I knew no-one, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Good luck!

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