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For any struggling student teacher or NQT

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by elder_cat, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    Just because you can't do something, the way you are being told it has to be done, doesn't mean you are somehow defective. Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt. After my first few months in, I started to think I must be some sort of intellectual pygmy. "People around me all seem to do it, so why can't I?"

    I spent 7 years teaching in FE. I left because I no longer felt that I could do what 'they' were asking me to do, the way 'they' wanted it done. Getting the groups I taught to achieve, at whatever level they were capable of achieving, was never that much of a problem. The problem was having to do it, in the way I was being told it had to be done, by the people who were telling me I had to do it that way. Some of whom could probably have earned a few quid on the side, as an*l ventriloquists.

    Do I feel inadequate because I couldn't do what was being asked of me? No. The thing I feel bad about, is having been naive enough to have made such an expensive mistake, with such long-lasting consequences. But at the end of the day, that's down to me.

    Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to ascertain whether or not it's the right career for you. It's pretty much a case of 'suck it and see'. Placements give you an indication of what teaching is like, but only in general terms. If you are lucky enough to get a placement at a fantastic school, don't make the mistake of presuming that the school/college you end up working at, will be the same.

    PGCE, placements, and mentors, can give you the underlying knowledge of how things should be done. In essence, they are teaching you to teach. But being able to take that received wisdom and get it to work, takes skill. Skills are not taught, they are learned, and learning takes time.

    Sometimes, the advice to 'stick it out, and give it another x months', may well be right thing to do for the individual concerned. I only stuck it out for 7 years, so I don't presume to be in the same league as a lot of the people who post on these forums. But if you are going to stick it out, then make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.

    You need to be honest with yourself, and ask if you really are giving it your best shot. If the answer is No, then you know what needs to be done. But if the answer is Yes, then maybe you need to consider whether the career you chose is actually the right one for you. It might not be. That doesn't mean you are bad person, it just means you probably weren't meant to be a teacher. In which case, pack up whatever remains of your infectious enthusiasm, and use it to good effect in some other field of endeavour.

    Quote from one of Clint Eastwood's films..."A man's got to know his limitations". Knowing your limitations, and striving to overcome them, is a good thing.
    Attempting to work outside and beyond them, to the detriment of your health and/or sanity isn't.
  2. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    Solid advice.
    Teaching has always been a demanding career -more so these days with the changes in curriculum and assessment leading to at best uncertainty and often downright confusion.

    If your pupils are benefitting and you are getting a "buzz" out of the classroom then that is great- however not every lesson is perfect ( despite what Ofsted think) and the majority of teaching is actually persistence and hard grind to get to where you want to be with the pupils.

    Overall it can be rewarding when you are in the right place- and only you know the right place when you find it suits you. Finding that first off is rare- and teachers usually move around until they settle- that is normal in any career!
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. SilverMayFall

    SilverMayFall New commenter

    Thank you for this. As an NQT I really feel under the workload that I sometimes lose sight of the long term aim.

    Sometimes I feel inadequate because I do ask myself if I'm giving it my best shot. The answer is sometimes no! Then other times yes.

    When Im in a yes mood it is due to feeling like I am doing the best I can with the time I've got.

    When I feel like it's a no it is because of the workload and there's not enough hours in the day to do the best I can.

    It's a bit of a rollercoaster but it's early days and I'll be sticking it out to work it out!
  4. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    1. It's not possible to do any better than your best.:)

    2. There are only 24 hours in a day, so sometimes you may not be able to do something as well as you would like to. On those occasions, 'good enough' has to be just that. ;)
    Gsr25 likes this.

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