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Huge doubts about NQT year

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by skmbg, May 24, 2016.

  1. skmbg

    skmbg New commenter

    Hi, I'm finishing my PGCE now and although my school experiences have been positive, and I think I'm on for mainly goods in the Teachers' Standards, I'm worried about my lack of enthusiasm for teaching. I'm finding it hard to come up with interesting activities (doesn't come naturally - I think my lessons are quite boring), behaviour management (something I'm not very good at in a school where this isn't a big problem) etc. etc. and am generally not very motivated. I love my subject, I don't mind working with adolescents, but am not passionate about it, and I don't think I have what it takes to get through an NQT year. The positives I see with having a teaching position (security, variation, not sitting in front of a computer etc.) are not the big reasons why people should teach.

    None of the things of having a teaching post (own tutor group, own classes, own classroom etc) excite me. I am worried that I don't have any of the passion for the job that make the sacrifices (time, stress etc.) somewhat worthwhile.
    I had been applying for jobs for September (some interviews but no offer yet) with a horrible gut feeling all the time. Finally admitted to myself this weekend that I don't want to work full time in a Secondary School and it felt like a big relief. Plan is to stop looking and step back and have a break and maybe look for something in January, although another part of me thinks I should "get it over with" asap, which again is not the right attitude, I know.

    I'm going to finish the course (only 5 weeks) and have spoken to university about this. I was told that if I wanted to look into teaching adults or FE later, or moderating GCSE exams, that I'd need an NQT year.

    Do other people feel like this? The people I've asked on my course are looking forward to the things I've mentioned above which don't really interest me at the moment.

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Why don't you try doing some supply work, and see how you feel after that? Take the pressure off yourself for now.
    skmbg likes this.
  3. lunarita

    lunarita Senior commenter

    I can't make a decision for you but, for what it's worth, my thoughts on reading this

    I was in 3 different schools for teaching practice. By far the worst one (for me) in terms of behaviour management was one in which it was considered that there were no problems - therefore there was little support. Whether or not the regular teachers have problems is a different question, but the students know you're not going to be there for long and will try it on. If the school is blind to this ("you'll have no problems here") and doesn't support you, you will, of course, have problems. In complete contrast, in another school in which it was recognised that there were some serious problems, the support for me and for all staff was excellent and in the end it was easier there. That's a fairly long winded way of saying your behaviour management problems might be really down to complacency and lack of support within the school.

    As for the enthusiasm - it's hard to be enthusiastic when you're tired and stressed (as you will be on your NQT year as you have been this year). When you're in a post however, and you get to know the children because you're there for longer, you might find it easier to summon up the enthusiasm. You also gradually develop your own style of teaching, your own manner of interacting with your classes, rather than trying to follow what your mentor/class teacher does. That also helps and in this sense, supply teaching probably won't give you any better opportunities than short placements have.

    Good luck whatever you decide.
    skmbg likes this.
  4. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    Enthusiasm comes from interaction with the kids so unless you get into a post and really experience this as a teacher in front of your own classes then you won't really know if it is for you!
    It is not all passion-- a lot of teaching is hard slog and just doing the basics ---sorry but its not a Hollywood movie and Dead Poets Society moments are few and far between.
    You really need to use your university careers service to start to explore options before the summer to allow you to make choices about your future
    skmbg likes this.
  5. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    If you get yourself a decent school and your own classes I suspect you'll be fine.
  6. biolgirl

    biolgirl New commenter

    When I was thinking about starting to teach, I remember talking to an old teacher of mine. She advised me that what ever happens, I should stick with teaching at least 3 years before I make any big decisions. This meant teacher training year, NQT plus one more year.

    For me teacher training was exhausting as I really wanted to get everthing right and spent hours planning.

    So I was not too enthusiastic for my NQT year, but I remembered my teachers advice and kept going with gritted teeth.

    Unfortunately my NQT school was awful with little support. I felt demotivated and thought I was a terrible teacher. Luckily one member of my department (an experienced teacher) who started the same time as me told me it was the school not me and to go somewhere else.

    I did and what a change! I started to enjoy some parts. Although I was still exhausted it started to seem worthwhile.

    By the next year I was head of subject and so proud that so many students were wanting to choose my subject for A level, because they said they liked my teaching!! Two even told me they wanted to be teachers just like me.

    Later I moved to another school and became head of department. Now I love teaching. it also makes a big difference when you have been at a school more than a year. You are no longer the new teacher and that tends to give you more kudos with the kids.

    Ask yourself why you chose to do teacher training in the first place. If it was because you couldnt think of anything else, or it was you liked the idea of long holidays, or you thought the money was good - then leave now.

    If you started because you had an ideal of helping young people, making a difference and inspiring them, then stick with it. When that first student hugs you because they got the grade they wanted and recognise you part in helping them, all the anguish of the first couple of years soon disappears.
    MissJG24, sofia_sen and Chanteuse like this.
  7. tcoll123

    tcoll123 New commenter

    I felt very similar at the end of my PGCE. I ended up doing day-to-day supply for a few months and it was a very valuable experience. I got to experience different schools, different ways of doing things, build up my behaviour management experience, even spend time in subjects other than my own specialism. Also, because there is no planning and marking you get to leave around 3 pm - which is obviously fantastic - and the pay is not too bad (though not secure - see the Supply Teaching thread for advice if you decide this path).

    I was then offered a part-time maternity cover post in a really nice school that I supplied for, and, while it was challenging, I enjoyed it hugely and was asked to stay to cover a second maternity leave. I completed my NQT year, which feels like a great achievement.

    The PGCE is not like the real thing, so if you're not 100% certain the best way to decide is to have a go. And supply is a great way of doing that. Also, if you're doing day-to-day you can fit other interests/studies/job hunts very easily around it.
  8. tcoll123

    tcoll123 New commenter

    Also, part time - if you don't mind the pay cut - is a great way of doing your NQT if you're worried about it - although it obviously takes a bit longer, you are generally less tired and stressed and as someone has already said this is a big factor in motivation and enthusiasm!

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