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feeling very overwhelmed already!!!

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by anon1369, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. So I am a few days into my NQT year and I'm ashamed to say I have already questioned myself about whether I have made the right decision.
    I haven't even met most of my classes yet but it is information overload at the minute and I feel I am drowning in the paperwork already. I have to write detailed lesson plans for EVERY single lesson following the school format (which is very long!) which is filling me with dread as I know that is going to take up so much of my time. I have been told I am in charge of running after school clubs (on my own) which is more work to do. Then to top it all off there is A LOT of form filling and paperwork for the pastoral aspect (all teachers have to do this). I also have about 8 duties (morning, break or dinner) each week.
    I haven't even thought about the NQT aspect yet with all the meetings and extra seminar's and the like. The classes I have met so far have been quite challenging and I know I need to be tough but for me it's easier said than done. It's all the little things that are worrying me too like not knowing how to use the computer system, not knowing the marking system or where things are kept as there simply hasn't been any time to get help on these issues yet.
    I thought it would be easier than my PGCE but I think I was wrong. I hope it's normal to be feeling like this, looks like it's going to be a rollercoaster of emotions year. Please tell me others are feeling the same?
  2. Hi CC,

    You are definitely not the only one feeling overwhelmed right now. The sheer amount of information that has been thrown at us in the last two days is unbelievable. Right now I'm trying to just get to the end of the week so I can spend the weekend getting organised for next week.

    A couple of things jumped out in your post. 8 duties is excessive and something I would mention to your mentor asap. The same goes for the detailed lesson plans. You simply do not have time to write detailed lesson plans for every lesson. Speak to your mentor about this too.

    As for the computer system and the marking system, ultimately they can wait. Just get the bare essentials sorted this and stuff will start to fall into place. As for where stuff is, either go rummaging through cupboards or ask! People really don't mind you asking what you think are stupid questions. :)

    Don't give up! We will get through it. It will be a rollercoaster but we will get there.
  3. Wow - you sound exactly how I felt yesterday, and in the same situation!! I had three INSET days (the school has just turned academy) where new initiative after new intiative with new procedures and protocols thrown at us from every direction - to cap it all off, we are expecting Ofsted any time soon! Even better still, they were asking for half term plans to be submitted - including for my AS Level class that I hadn't even met!
    Having spent last weekend feeling very miserable and feeling very low, I had a very good piece of advice thrown at me, from my mother of all people! There is no point wasting energy on being emotional - just get on and deal with it. Wasting energy thinking about it is really very pointless. My priorities for these first few weeks are to help me survive. I am just going to concentrate on my form group, getting myself back into teaching mode, and getting to grips with behaviour. As my last mentor said, if something is really that important, they'll chase you up. Plan a model lesson for each year group - from there, you can begin to tweak it as you get to know your classes. Don't worry about the NQT bit for the next week or so - you're not going to tick the standards off just yet! Ask if it is possible to reduce the number of break duties in light of the fact that you are an NQT (even ask someone to swap for this half term). Set yourself time limits - I'm limiting those model lesson plans to half an hour each, with 15 min for resources including PPT.
    I would challenge the lesson plan rule - does every teacher do this? If so, how experienced are they? I would also challenge the afterschool clubs rule - why just you? Try to reason with them - you'll do it for one day a week. Get in touch with your union rep at school - if they're not helpful, go above them. There's only so much we can do!
    Failing all of that, perhaps keep an eye on jobs in the area - sounds like you need to get out of there as fast as you can!
    Finally, my advice would be to continue to be realistic of yourself. We've just had two months holiday, and feeling very rusty. You enjoyed the PGCE (I assume?!!), and I reckon by the time those students see you and meet you, you'll settle a little bit more. Set yourself a deadline for school work too - everything stops for some "me time" at 9pm. And remember - keep wearing that smile!!
    FYI: School felt a little better for me today - but still bricking it!!!
  4. Sounds like you have a lot on your plate after a few days. I feel pretty similar, like I have 101 things to do and fill out but I don't really know where to start.
    Indiviual lesson plans seems a bit excessive, and to be honest not a good use of your time. Is there no one you can talk to about doing weekly plans instead where you can explain that its not time efficient to do single lesson plans?

    I also thought there we're rules about taking on extra responsibilies in your NQT? I imagine it changes from school to school but surely it's a bit much to give you an after school club already?

    I've been given a few extra duties at break and after school and I hoped that my school might not give me any and go easy on me for my first year, or first term at least but I guess it's all part of the job.

    I'm sure you haven't made the wrong choice at all :) but you're not alone - I spent most of the summer wishing I hadn't gone for my job and that I just had a 'regular' job. Just think, all the hard work has paid off and yes, this year will be hard, but after 4 years of training it'll be well worth it. Salary's not bad either ;)

    Good luck with the rest of your week, I'm sure you'll be awesome :)
  5. A lot of senior/middle leaders insist on 'detailed' planning. This is subjective, and I would not feel overwhelmed by this. Essentially a lesson plan is a list of activities that will take place - planning formats can overwhelm with tick-boxes and development plan focuses. Don't give too much time over to this - find the level of detail in your planning that you find useful and don't feel bad for not filling 3 sheets of A4 for every lesson. Tick boxes/focuses will become easier to do quickly over time - e.g. the more you look at criteria for what is a Visual, Auditory or Kinaesthetic lesson, the easier it will be to tick the right box for the right activity.
    Also decide what is most efficient for you- handwritten or typed. I am a complete technophile and make extensive use of ICT in every part of my job except writing lesson plans. For me, handwriting lesson plans is quicker and easier for me, as when I type them I tend to feel the need to go into unnecessary detail, plus if they are handwritten, it doesn't look as messy when you add/adjust them!
  6. oops! a problem occurred somewhere...!
  7. ((((CC)))
    This is no consolation to you at all but I'm now 5 years in and I am feeling more overwhelmed than I have ever felt throughout my training and previous years of teaching.
    I can't say it gets easier. It is always relentless and the to do list is never ever finished. I think you just find ways of 'coping' with it!
  8. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    Some schools do insist on detailed lesson plans. Our science dept does but then they store them on the school site and they can be downloaded and annotated when used again. Eight duties seems a lot. In my old school they do three plus a detention session and I thought that was excessive. Find out what normal practice is and how others manage.

    You should have a school login and know how to record data. If you don't know, ask. There may be a session for NQTs or it may be that your mentor will take you through it. Meanwhile record on paper. Ask your HOD about marking - that can wait a few days. Essentials are class lists and keeping registers. File paperwork as you get it. Have a box or folder to drop things in when you're busy and sort and clear before leaving school every day. With a light timetable, you will have time in the next week or so to get things sorted. Some schools are better than others at induction and it sounds as if yours is a bit thoughtless. Don't panic. Note things down as you think of them and try to sort them in order of importance. For the next week or two, focus on getting to know your classes and keeping a tight rein on behaviour. You need to instil a good work ethic now and keep them going. Everything else can fit round that.
  9. Yep. And if they aren't detailed enough they get given back to be redone. [​IMG]
  10. allotmentlady

    allotmentlady New commenter

    It is reassuring we all feel the same. I have spent the last two nights in hysterics over whether I've made the right decision!! Chin up and what's the worst that can happen ? x

  11. Why on Earth would you think your NQT year would be easier than your PGCE year? Did you think you would only have a 40-50% timetable and not be wholly responsible for all your classes?
    It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed in the first half term or so. Having to produce detailed lesson plans for each lesson is a pain in the backside (does anyone insist on seeing them, if not then just write outlines with activity details and some differentiation) and won't help.
    Definitely ask about the 8 duties and after school club, as you should not be running these on your own as an NQT.
    Your NQT year is hell. I won't sugar coat it. You'll have no social life, you'll be exhausted and you'll be questioning your decision to become a teacher at least 10 times a week. BUT! It does get easier.
  12. Don't give up! I had a horrible first term as an NQT - I was constantly in tears and felt like the other NQTs were doing so much better than me. I had two weeks off in the end. BUT.....it does get better and if I had given up in the first term I would be missing the great stuff that is happening now, in my second year. I really love my job now and going through the tough times has definitely made me a stronger person. Good luck!
  13. I am feeling the same as the other NQTs on here, but reading the positive comments has helped!! Thanks
  14. lilykitty

    lilykitty New commenter

    Totally agree with Pinkflipflop! I've been teaching for years and it's not uncommon for me to have a meltdown at this point. There's always so much new stuff even if you're not changing schools and the thought of the whole school year stretching out in front of you is overwhelming.
    My main advice would be SPEAK UP! Everyone is going to be busy and a bit stressed, so they are not going to be thinking about you. I know you want to appear capable and really don't want to say 'no' or 'help' but no one is going to look after you apart from you at this point so be brave.
    Keep posting / visiting the message boards so you know you're not alone. In my opinion, it really does get better [​IMG]
  15. Sillow

    Sillow Senior commenter

    My NQT year was tough as heck, my second year was fine, and now I feel my third year is going the same way as my first!
    But you stick with it, because there are upsides and when they happen, they're great. Just do the most important things for SLT members first, as well as keeping up-to-date with marking/assessing. Everything else, shelve until someone asks for it again. [​IMG]
  16. I am also feeling very overwhelmed and not sure how I am going to make it through last lesson of the day with my year 9s let alone the whole year.
    However as it is now Friday then that means...we have survived our first week! High fives all around :)
  17. I sometimes feel that I'm the only person who does not think it is ok that we are feeling overwhelmed. It seems to me that most of you just basically said "Well, that's how the job is, love it or leave it." or "learn to live with the stress". And I do not think that this is how the job should be and how we and all teachers should feel about their job. In fact, all teachers I have ever met are totally overwhelmed and it is not just an NQT problem.
    Basically, we are all expected to work 12-14 hours a day!! Someone mentioned that we should have ME-time after 9 pm... well, if you ask me, after being at school working my socks of from half 7 to half 6, I am NOT prepared to spend another 2 or 3 hours working at home, no matter how much there is to do. I am neither paid nor appreciated for working these hours, so I decided to simply not do it. Including marking, duties, phone calls home etc, I work about 60 hours a week anyway. I'll probably be sacked in the next few weeks for this attitude, but I would like to be a person who gets up in the morning and looks forward to the day. And if schools and the government expect me to be an unhappy, frustrated, overworked, underpaid zombie with no private life, well then I probably have really chosen the wrong career.
  18. Hi. Hope you're feeling better today. I've been teaching for 10 years this year and am a HoD but I well remember the feelings I experienced in my first week as an NQT...*drifts off into a daydream.*
    I will try to give you practical advice rather than emotional as the previous posters have been very helpful giving lots of support.
    1) When you're feeling overwhelmed (I still do, particularly at this time of year), take a deep breath. You can only do one thing at a time and worrying/stressing/panicking will only slow you down.
    2) Make three piles on your desk: URGENT, needs to be done reasonably soon, ignore for time being.
    3) Work through the URGENT pile efficiently and as quickly as possible. You should have been given schemes of work from your department - ask for a sample lesson plan (or just for lesson plans - someone in the department should have some!) and use this as a guideline for your own.
    4) Go to your mentor first thing Monday and explain that 8 duties is excessive and you don't want to let your department duties slip. 8 duties is MASSIVE - we do one a week at my school. Go to your department head and ask for resources, lesson plans, schemes of work (basically, anything that will help you).
    5) After finishing the URGENT pile (give yourself a strict time limit and have a rest or break at the end of the limit, even if you haven't finished), stop. Have a cuppa or a massive glass of wine, have a bath, see your friends, ring your mum...have a break from it and be yourself for a little while.
    6) When you are rested and less bowled over by everything, tackle the next pile. Again, work as efficiently and quickly as you can.
    If you do this weekly, you will find yourself getting faster at working through the piles of things to do. Use peer marking and self-assessment in class to help with your own marking load (they are valuable teaching tools). Reuse lessons if you teach more than one class in a year group. Steal resources from other NQTs in your subject in your area or from people you did your PGCE with. Look around bookshops for York Notes, study guides etc and use this website for resources. Don't reinvent the wheel and do everything from scratch.
    Focus on behaviour and developing a rapport with your classes over the next few weeks. Everything else can just develop organically.
    I hope this helps and it gets better soon.
  19. Some brilliant advice there Kstreet!
  20. Brilliant advice- thanks. Am an nqt at primary this year and have had a long week to say the least. Been feeling ok tho have taken the same approach u suggested and insisted on work life balance of some sort. I have to say work is being done quicker and I feel more in control. At the end of the day I think altho teaching is a stressful job full of assessment, paperwork, planning and so on, ultimately it's about having those kids every day for a year and giving them skills they didnt have before. The rest is paper pushing that needs doing but shouldnt be stressed over. Keep going everyone, one week closer to half term :)
    Kelly xx

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