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How long do teachers typically spend at their first school?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Browneyedgirl87, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. Hi. I'm an NQT and wondering whether or not to hand in my notice and look for a new job for September...
    The children I teach are lovely, but my school is slowly making me lose the passion I had when I was a trainee. I keep thinking back to my final teaching practice; as much as I enjoyed my weekends, I didn't dread Mondays like I do now. I was excited to go back into school and I got on well with all the members of staff. That's what makes me think that it's not the job itself that I'm beginning to loathe so much; it must be something more specific to the school I'm in.
    I keep trying to put my finger on exactly what it is that's making me feel so despondent. One of the main things that's really getting me down is the lack of a 'social life' at school. Working at this school has made me realise how important it is for me to have opportunities to wind down with my colleagues. I always thought I might be the kind of teacher who'd prefer to stay in my classroom over lunchtime and get things done rather than 'waste' time in the staffroom. Now I realise how important it is for me to have healthy working relationships. My class has different hours to the rest of school, so I never see anyone at lunchtime apart from the TA with whom I work all day anyway. I don't feel as if I've got to know anyone or made any relationships since I started working at this school in September. This is made worse by the fact that everyone else in school appears to get on so well with each other. I feel very excluded and isolated.
    The views of the TA I work with are very dated and she hasn't been particularly open to new ideas. The same can be said of my key stage co-ordinator; I approached her with a suggested solution to something that I saw as a problem, and I was immediately dismissed. When my post was advertised, it was made clear that the school want to raise standards in my key stage. However, I've been able to make very few changes because I feel that the people with whom I work are resistant to them. I'm not a forceful person so I don't feel confident about implementing changes without the support of my colleagues. I worry that doing so would lead to even more uncomfortable working conditions.
    The communication between people in school is shocking (i.e. SLT not telling people ANYTHING). Even other teachers, who've worked there much longer than I have, are beginning to comment on the lack of communication and consideration for others. General morale seems to have dropped since I've been there. I met the teacher I replaced before she left and she told me that I was going to love it there because it's just like being part of a family. I'm yet to understand what she was talking about.
    I haven't spoken to anyone about how I feel. I don't feel that I've built a good enough relationship with the head to feel comfortable about approaching him and opening up about this. He's always been very standoffish with me and hasn't shown much interest in my progress. He's a very busy person and I understand that I'm probably not very high on his list of priorities, but I'm sure his support would be invaluable in helping to prevent me from feeling the way I do. All it would take is a smile or a 'hello' in the corridor, a quick visit to my classroom to see how my day's been, anything... My induction tutor has been less than supportive too. She constantly apologises for not being there for me as much as she wants to be, but then she does nothing to rectify the situation. I'm aware that I'm not high on her list of priorities either, and nor do I think everything should be about me, but I'm acutely aware when I talk to other NQTs that I'm not getting the level of support to which I'm probably entitled.
    Sorry this post has been so long. I've been wanting to get this off my chest for a while now! Going back to the title of my post, how long do teachers typically spend at their first school? I'm worried that I'd be viewed as a failure and/or a quitter if I handed in my notice after just a year. Would other schools be worried about the fact that I'm not more willing to stick around at my current school when I'm lucky enough to have a permanent contract?
    Some people have probably read this and are wondering what the problem is. I've read other posts about serious workplace bullying and people being signed off work with stress, and I feel that my 'problems' are very petty in comparison. However, I'm becoming less and less willing to spend every Sunday dreading going back to work. I've thoroughly enjoyed the Easter holidays, but now the end is in sight and all I can think about is going back to work. I've cried on the first day back at school after every holiday so far, and several things have happened over the past couple of years that have made me realise that life is too short to waste it being unhappy.
    Any thoughts? Thank you in advance.
  2. WHen I first began teaching it wasn't unusual for new teachers to spend only a year or two in their schools for the first few years of their career, but as the job market has changed and school budgets squeezed this has changed somewhat.
    Suppose basically I would say if you can get a new job do - but if you have a home to pay for etc, resigning atm without could be bad financially for you....
    BUT worth the risk if as miserable as it sounds....
    Though tbh many of the school characteristics you mention are far too common nowadays... e.g. lack of support, communication, stuck in ways, etc
  3. I wouldn't resign without securing another job first. However, I'm worried that other schools wouldn't look at me because I'm crazy enough to want to abandon a permanent contract at an 'outstanding' school for what I fear might be viewed as petty reasons. Also, if I apply for jobs and don't get anywhere, I'll have to stay at my current school with colleagues who know that I don't want to be there...
    Oh dear, this doesn't fill me with confidence! [​IMG]
  4. Well to resign to start in Sept you only have a couple of weeks to find a new job you like, apply, be itnerviewed and offered the job to resign by 31st May!!!
    Schools know that people leae jobs for a whole host of reasons... many I would suggest due to similar reasons, primarily linked to the other staff.
    You should - if merely out of courtesy - inform your HT that you may need a reference, and this could lead to the HT not wishing to put opprtunities your way etc if you don't get a job, as for the other staff, most school staff are aware that there are usually staff looking to move on... circle of life in the world of work....
    Sorry to shatter your illusions. Good schools whrre such things don't happen I would say are a rarity.

  5. I'd think about staying for one more year - think about what you want to do with your career - do you want to have a responsibility? Specialise in a subject area? Build up some experience in that and then plan to move - don't move reactively or you can end up in a worse situation - I've done it! Think it through and be proactive - the year will go very quickly - use the lunchtimes to get marking etc done and then you can have a better social life with your friends in the evenings.
  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    If I were you I would start looking around. When you see something you like apply for it and let your HT know that you have. If nothing comes up then stay where you are.

    Leaving after a year is no problem, but do be aware a second year in a post (at any point in your career) is much easier than a first.

    There are lots of good schools, I've never worked in one where I was seriously unhappy, but first years are always hard. You are absolutely right to realise it is the school and not the profession. Take your time over moving and make sure the next gives you what you want.

    If I was you, I would look for a school where the year group you will teach does have lunch with other years, then you get to see staff. You could also look to find a school with 2 or more form entry so as to have someone else to work with.

    Your school might well be one happy family, but if you don't fit that family mould you will find it hard. Don't feel bad, just take steps to make things better.
  7. I moved after 3 years.

    Grass not always greener.............

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