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Honest NQT Opinion on NQT Year

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by fearsmarrows, Mar 8, 2020.

  1. fearsmarrows

    fearsmarrows New commenter

    So I have 10 working weeks of my second placement of ITT left. I can make it. BUT I honestly don’t know if I can put myself or my family through another year like this. I don’t want to be one of the disappearing shortage subject bursary trainees but I have no life and I’m stressed, it’s making me ill and I hate it. I’m late 30’s, I have two small kids and I gave up a long and successful career to do this, I wanted it so much to work. So is the NQT year as bad, worse, better? I am broken and sad and I honestly don’t know what to do. Do I push on get a job and hope for the best or give it up as a bad job, get the qualification, cut my losses and return to normality.
  2. Keep_hope_alive

    Keep_hope_alive New commenter

    I am currently an NQT and let me tell you it is just as bad. I did find my training year worse as I think you're just thrown into the deep end. However, In am still struggling during NQT year. I guess you do get your own classes and more control. This can both be good as kids recognise use as their teacher but also bad as everything from class management to their assessments is down to you. Its a lot of pressure. I am currently struggling through NQT year and planning to never teacher after this again.
    I'm do not think an NQT year is worth one's health and sanity and I am going to need a lot therapy to recover from this and just a lot of rest.
    In saying that, I think it does depend on the school you are in too. Therefore, I think you should consider do you actually want to teach? Do you enjoy it? Perhaps make a weighted pros and cons list and compare pros and cons.
    Then, if you do wish to continue, then PLEASE research the school you are applying to! Do not just think because a school is outstanding, then it will be good for you. My school is outstanding and the pressure they put on you is ridiculous! I would say try to hear directly from people who have worked in the school if you can. If not just google it or hope for the best. I'd also recommend visiting even before an interview to get an insight into the culture and atmosphere of the school and go with your gut.
    Though You truly can never know if the school is right for you until you experience it. If anything you could always change schools or leave during NQT year.
  3. brightsarah

    brightsarah New commenter

    I’m so sorry to read that your NQT year is the way it is for you. If you had a spare moment I’d really appreciate it if you’d say your reasons.... worst 3 things maybe? I work to support NQTs and I’m always keen to learn.
    Hope you have a great few weeks before Easter. Keep the faith! Summer is coming. :)
  4. thetapdancingteach

    thetapdancingteach New commenter

    The NQT year is weird. I'm in the middle of mine now and let me tell you July cannot come soon enough. I hated the first term of my training year- like you it was making me ill and my social life felt like a distant memory. Term 2 was better, I finished on outstanding and got a job in my placement school. I honestly thought the NQT year would be a breeze in comparison.

    Well, September-Christmas was even worse than my training year. I had to have a day off because I genuinely couldn't face going in, I had an observation with a particularly difficult member of SLT who made my mentor put me on supervision for a month, even though she agreed it was unnecessary. I honestly didn't think I could make it to the Christmas holidays.

    I did make it, and since we came back in January it's been a lot better; I feel like I've settled in better, my relationships with my classes are good, and I feel a lot more sure that I'm teaching the right things (!!) BUT I've handed my notice in this week and I'm leaving at the end of the summer term. The thought of another winter term is just too much.

    This job is just so difficult and it's not worth sacrificing your mental health for- if you're asking the question then really you already know the answer.
    I hope everything works out for you!
    agathamorse and Keep_hope_alive like this.
  5. mswisdom

    mswisdom New commenter


    I am currently a part time NQT and just started my NQT in January. Just want to say that like everyone else it all depends on the school and how passionate you are about teaching. I had a very difficult day today. I was pulled up the SLT because I removed disruptive children from the class due to persistent disruptive behaviour in every lesson. I was told they are concerned about my progress as my behaviour management is not good enough and that it’s the class teachers responsibility to manage behaviour. The are unmanageable!!! I cannot teach because 7 of them won’t allow me to teach. It’s the school policy to give three warnings and then remove from the class which is what I did. ALL the teachers agree that behaviour policy in the school is not working and there is no support from slt. I am concerned that they will sack as the SLT said she’s going to talk to Head about my progress. The kids that are misbehaving in my class are exactly the same in other subjects. I feel so trapped.
    Therefore, please research the school before you apply.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. Merhblerh

    Merhblerh New commenter


    I am currently in my NQT year and I can honestly say how much I've loved it. It's so much different to being on placement in school because for once those children are your own class - not someone else's and on days where I don't feel inspired I know there's a handful of children who can't wait to get in and see me! Yes there are stressful/ down days - but every job has them and within a good school you'll be well supported - especially as an NQT - they know you're new to this and want to help you succeed! There are so many times that I look across my classroom and I'm glad I'm not sat in an office full of adults all day! I would say think in particular about what you're finding the worst and best about the job. For me, on placement I hated the feeling that I didn't belong and that other staff wouldn't make the time to get to know me or help me because they knew I was only temporary. Now that I am a member of staff in a school I feel so supported by other members of staff - not weighed down! So in answer to your question I actually found my NQT year a lot less stressful than my placements. Yes you have more responsibility but you also feel a bit more like you have a home!
    I hope you feel happy with whatever decision you come to :)
  7. SBmiah01

    SBmiah01 New commenter

    Have you been signed off following the updated DFE NQT guidance? Has anyone been signed off?
  8. Penguin47

    Penguin47 New commenter

    It honestly depends on the school you're in. I absolutely hated my first ITT placement, loved my second placement, and let's just say the third school I worked at was literal hell.

    Out of the handful I trained with in my subject, I've been told that at least four of them have dropped out of the profession.

    It's not for everyone, and that's okay. Since you've got this far, I'd at least recommend getting the qualification.

    Best of luck to you! :)
  9. MissCardigan

    MissCardigan New commenter

    For me, the worst parts about training were:
    - Not knowing where you'd be placed in advance/placed somewhere too far away
    - Not having a classroom or 'area' to place your things/work on placement
    - Taking over classes part way through the year brings its own challenges
    - The paperwork (constant evaluations, mentor meeting notes etc.) was a nightmare and often distracted me from planning my lessons which frustrated me.
    - Even through I had very supportive, constructive mentors across my placements, the numerous observations per week were nerve-wracking.

    So, do things improve at NQT level?
    - You choose where you work
    - If you get a classroom then you have your own space to lay down roots and organise in a manner that best suits your needs and teaching style
    - You know exactly what your classes have been taught because you taught it to them (to a certain extent - obviously you're taking over from another teacher for year. 8-11)
    - I personally feel the students see it more worth their time to invest in you because you're permanent
    - Minimal evidence paperwork in comparison to the training year.

    The main negatives for me during NQT was:
    1) The marking - I could never manage to fit it into my normal working hours.
    2) The teacher I replaced truly was a fantastic teacher and the pupils loved him so I felt a lot of pressure in that regard.
    3) Yes, there's more responsibility over assessment scores/evidence of improvement (particularly for year. 11!!!), but you know what? If you put in the hard work, really focus on differentiation and building rapport, they will learn and improve. I was really hard on myself when a few students in a class didn't score above a certain percentage, but it's only when I looked at their progression throughout the year that I noticed how much they'd all improved. As an NQT I could own that and I felt proud.

    I think it would be a shame to not complete an NQT year. If you complete the NQT and decide to leave, at least you'll be a fully qualified teacher that could then go into tutoring etc. Like any job, I do think it comes down to where you work and if you enjoy working there. I don't get on with EVERYONE at my school, but the vast majority (SLT included) are understanding and supportive and really do care about the pupils so I feel very lucky. To me this makes it worth it. Yes, I feel stressed. Yes, I feel tired and definitely need any half terms to recover. Yes, I have considered leaving. Yes, I could be earning more doing something else. BUT, I have job security, I feel a great sense of job satisfaction when the pupils learn something new and/or overcome any barriers and I feel privileged to be in a position where I can aid them to get them to where they want to be.
    VeronicAmb likes this.
  10. science_geek_2020

    science_geek_2020 New commenter

    I personally have enjoyed my training year. When I swapped placement with another teacher, he said to me after how blessed I was and fortunate to work in my current placement, and to not to take it for granted! He was so passionate about it!

    This made me realise how important it is to find a good school. I will read the Ofsted carefully. I am currently looking for a job, and I will come to interview with a series of questions on behaviour management etc.. Ideally, I'd like to come and spend a week in the school just getting a feel of the place.. the atmosphere and vibe. But obviously, with the lockdown that may not be possible, so for now, I can only go off of interview and Ofsted and just got to hope they've had an inspection recently.

    Under no circumstances will I work at a school which is inadequate, or where behaviour isn't below good on a report. I'd rather not work.
  11. science_geek_2020

    science_geek_2020 New commenter

    Also, it isn\t impossible to find part-time work, or reduced hours. As well as that, supply is always an option. I have considered that if I don't find a suitable NQT school, I'll just go supply until I do.
  12. Carltoz

    Carltoz New commenter

    This is one area where I think SDS trainees have an advantage over PGC. Training year has been tough, particularly the placement, but as an employee I was just another teacher. Most importantly, my classes were mine to teach how I saw fit and usually without anyone else in the room.
    2 Words of advice though.1) If after an observation something is suggested, next time you are watched by them make sure you include their suggestion. 2) Ofsted ratings can mean absolutely nothing in the real world.
  13. ChocolateChunk

    ChocolateChunk New commenter

    There is not an easy answer for that, I am afraid. You will find an array of responses based on each individual response their respective classes, the level of support that they received but also how it entangled with their personal life.
    I have found that the NQT year can be very demanding as you have quite a hefty timetable compared to your PGCE, and you have many classes to each with their inherent set of challenges. It does get a lot easier as long as you objectively reflect on your lessons, so take a step back and gauge what worked well and what could be improved.
    You should really be supported by your Mentor and your team in these times, especially when it comes to understanding the specifications and creating adequate resources. Has your Department help you in that regard?
  14. science_geek_2020

    science_geek_2020 New commenter

    Hi, I met a supply teacher who said he would never do it any other way. He said, there are no emails to deal with, no parents, no planning to do as work is required, can choose his hours, and once he's out of the door, it's not his problem anymore.

    That does sound very appealing I must say. That might be an option for you? Maybe just work a few days a week. You could also start being selective on which school's you work in once you get to know some around you.
  15. mooredjc

    mooredjc New commenter

    Bear in mind, day to day supply is not secure income. After a while, you will want a more permanent means of income. Supply is good for building up experience and getting more confident for a NQT post but you need to have regular hours with regular class groupa to have them counted as your NQT. Starting off part time is good in this way for at least one term.
  16. 1FineDay

    1FineDay New commenter

    I knew a supply teacher who used to call himself a glorified child minder. It's actually much much harder than regular teaching. The supply teachers who have high expectations and hammer them home leave exhausted at the end of the day, as it is an even greater battle to convince the kids that you are an authority within an unfamiliar school.
  17. science_geek_2020

    science_geek_2020 New commenter

    Sure, but there's always the possibility of being a supply for the same school for months.

    I personally would prefer to work full time probably, but I'm just pointing out its an option if people aren't coping.

    At the end of day if you can't cope with being supply and you can't cope being a normal fulltiem teacher, you need a new career. No job is worth destroying your happiness and we'll being.
  18. I was in the same situation when I completed my PGCE in 2018. I passed my first PGCE placement (although I had very little support or feedback off my mentor) but my second PGCE placement was a disaster. School expected me to be outstanding from day 1, the feedback I got was a couple of words and consistently contradicted what mentor said the previous lesson (wanted me to do starter way A, did it that way told me I should be doing it way B, did it that way and told me I should be doing it way A) plus the mentor was constantly rude, nasty and shouted at me in front of other trainees and I failed my Easter assessment and was left with no confidence to teach. I requested a change of placements and just about managed to scrap through my PGCE and get QTS.
    Since completing my PGCE I have done supply teaching, including a 5 month placement at a grammar school (unfortunately as it was originally 3 days of supply that kept being extended every few weeks, it never counted towards my NQT) . But, it has helped me regain some of the confidence I lost, and even now when I want to get my NQT year under my belt I am having severe doubts as I am terrified due to the lack of mentoring on my PGCE that I am not good enough - especially if have a bad day on supply with a very tough class that just will not listen to anything you say.
  19. mooredjc

    mooredjc New commenter

    Your story is very similar to me, especially as I graduated in 2018. My first placement was tough but supportive. My second was awful in
    in a school under special measures. The mentor was so rude and just took all her frustration of work on me including me as the trainee she had to support. And barely did. I passed as satisfactory, but things didn't get that much better as a NQT.

    As a NQT, I went on supply and first school was mayhem and left before Christmas (beauty of supply- can get out ASAP ). Then, I got a nice outstanding school and finished my first term of NQT part time with satisfactory. Then, I moved counties for a NQT post but again I only managed a term as I was told I had no future there and was a cause for concern because of behaviour (only detention you could do was a lunch time and SLT detention was then). I was also told to go back to training as I wasn't where I should be in my development (because you're apparently supposed to be so experienced after QTS....). I tried to improve and take on advice but never good enough. I feel I was bullied out of the job so that the SCITT trainee would be a shoe in for the job once their training finished as they were hired for a position that magically appeared when I resigned.

    Is the NQT worth it? I think it depends on the training you had, but moreso who you know in the toxic world of state schools. If you are liked by those in your school, you will do well. I don't think it was worth it for my own well being however I am conflicted as I love teaching and had good feedback/relationships from some of my students and I do miss teaching. I have since moved back to my home country due to covid and I am beginning to recover. I even did some tutoring and supply and I realise now the issues I had were not just my fault but also of a flawed and nasty system. My two cents.

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