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I don't think I can do this anymore

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by roboman1984, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. roboman1984

    roboman1984 New commenter

    I don't know what to do. I am an NQT on a maternity cover post in a challenging school. I started off with a small class of 15 but this has now dropped in size to a class of 12. I am finding my job difficult. I have to get a bus into school every day as I dont drive and each day I burst nto tears on the bus at the thought of going in to school. I dont feel that I am functioning properly as a teacher. I feel anxious all the time in school. I dont feel that I am coping with the pressures of the job. The behavour in the class is so bad that I cant even do an input in there unless I have a TA to support me. I have had nothing but bad observations and although I know that the school wants to support me they have told me that they dont know how. I have been given targets to achive but because I am feeling so stressed and anxious I cant think straight and cant put them into practice. I am fed up with working all the time and feeling this way. I am thinking of leaving the school or even the profession but I dont know what else I could do with a PGCE and a BA in PErformance - are there any other jobs I could do in which I would earn a similar wage? I am also aware that I am failing the children. I just dont know what to do anymore - I feel such a failure.

  2. Hey roboman,

    I could have written your post about seven weeks ago.

    After seeing my GP, I was signed off sick with depression, and it was at
    that point that I decided that no job was worth getting ill over it. I
    suggest you take the same decision seeing how unhappy the job is making
    you! Do see your GP in any case.

    I had lost all confidence in myself as a teacher despite a very
    successful PGCE placement. My mentor was very negative (eg. suggesting
    that the placement school hadn't taken me on because they thought I was a
    bad teacher) - and while we did meet on a weekly basis, I felt I could
    never talk to him about any practical problems, let alone about how the
    pressure was making me feel. I think every other individual I've ever
    spoken to about anything in the school were readier to help than this
    supposed mentor - but I'm only seeing this clearly now. At the time, I
    really thought it was all my fault! I could harly believe all the good
    lessons I had had on PGCE had really taken place; I was an absolute
    nervous wreck.

    I was lucky to get another job right away - it's in a call centre, and
    it is badly paid - but it works out at only 100 pounds less than NQT
    salary because very little is deducted in NI and tax. I think I'll need
    about a year to really put a gap between me and the job. Incidentally,
    my new place of work is on the same bus line, so I go past the school
    every morning - I've never been this happy on this bus!

    I don't see myself going back into teaching at the moment, but the new
    job is already building up my confidence again - during the induction
    training, we had to prepare a presentation, and I made quite a nice
    three-part-lesson with bells and whistles of it, and the enjoyment of
    standing in front of a group was back. Not to mention that I was praised
    profusely - something that hadn't really happened since starting NQT.
    (In fact, I would probably have been assessed as 'not on track' for the
    2nd term.)

    Anyway - I'm much, much better, I'm in a better position to evaluate
    what actually happened during my abandoned NQT year, and I'm already
    making plans about doing a PhD or another Masters, when in the past few
    months I was a despondend, irritable shadow of my former self, working
    every waking hour of the day, and worrying about what I had left
    unfinished during the nights.

    Oh, by the way, the school suggested for me to go through therapy with
    Occupational Health and then have a phased return (this would have
    allowed me to remain in the contract and eventually to continue with NQT
    induction). While this might have been wiser in terms of getting
    another teaching post (it will now be very difficult), I know I would
    still be feeling much worse had I done it. Plus, going back to difficult
    classes after such a break would have been extremely challenging.
    be hard to compete with teaching salaries (my degree is in EngLit...),
    but I count myself lucky that I have got out now, while the cut isn't
    quite so steep and there is no mortgage to worry about.

    Oh, one last thought - of course, you've lasted longer than I have, and
    there aren't all too many weeks left to complete the year now. If you're
    judged as on track and you feel that your mentor is generally
    supportive and won't fail you, it might be worth seeing it through?
    However, I'd really suggest you see your GP as you deserve better than this!

  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Is there an NQT advisor at the LA that can come in and help the school and you? In fact there is no need to answer, there definitely will be. Be active this afternoon and email them. Tell them what is happening and ask for help. The school has a duty to support you as an NQT, they cannot opt out by saying they don't know how.

    I currently teach some demonstration lessons and some team teach lessons in another class to support a member of staff having problems. This sort of thing could be set up with staff in your school. Ask a member of SLT to come and teach a few lessons over a week and allow you to observe and act as TA to get ideas of how things need to be. Get them to SHOW you how to meet the targets.

    I would definitely look at easier schools and get applying for posts there. Some people, me being one of them, are just not suited for challenging schools but flourish elsewhere. Try a different school before you try a different career.

    You aren't a failure, lots of people struggle in their first year. Lots struggle in the wrong school. Lots struggle just because the class and they don't gel. You can move on if you want to.
  4. roboman1984

    roboman1984 New commenter

    I have only been there since Late Feb o I havn't lasted that long. I just feel that I cant cope, I have work that I should be doing right now but cant cope with it.
  5. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    Hi there roboman. I really do understand what you are going through. I was covering a maternity leave for the last 7 months at a secondary school. I was elated when I got the job and so excited about starting. After day 2 I was starting to think 'what on earth have I done?'.
    The thought of going into work made me feel ill and I even phoned in sick a few times because I physically could not cope with going in. For me, the problem was behaviour and the lack of support my school provided. I only received one NQT observation in 7 months and no other support, it was rated as 'good' but even that did not boost me.
    I loved my PGCE placements but the reality of being an independant teacher is so different.
    My job was due to last for the whole academic year but I gave notice and left at Easter. I am now working in an adult tutoring role and have also completed the assessor qualification and am doing some nvq assessing too as part of my role. I took a drop to a salary of 20k, receive 25 days holidays plus bank holidays rather than 13 weeks off!! I also do not have the teacher pension. But in terms of monthly take home, I am no worse off because my pensions contributions are lower. I also do not have the travel costs I had with driving a 40 mile round trip to the school.
  6. Hi Roboman,
    you are not alone in this situation. I was in a similar situation before half term and was even due to complete my nqt in easter. However, I negotiated for early release and left 3 weeks before the end of the term in order to complete one term elsewhere. at the time, I thought everything was my fault and failed to realise that my mentor was the least supportive person and I felt uncomfortable talking to her about my difficulties. I was being spied on even by my head of department and others in the team.
    It was very disheartening and I felt like an outsider working my way through a difficult crowd always against me. I was very miserable and finally decided to leave. I feel much happier now eventhough I still have no job. I am not sure I am going to continue as a teacher but leave my options open now.
    I am not even sure what route to take now in terms of jobs outside teaching. I still have nightmares about the school and sometimes wake up panicking.
    If you can't cope then take sometime off and donot forget to call your union. Mine was very helpful and it was good to talk to someone outside it all.
    Wish you the best.
  7. How did u get into this? I am looking for something like this keep the funds running. Can you pm me please if you do not want to write it here.
  8. tomkins15

    tomkins15 New commenter

    I felt much the same way as you do, around about a year ago. When my contract expired, my job was advertised as a permanent position. I decided not to reapply, because I had an extremely unhappy period there. I did my NQT induction at the school - with a mentor who never had one meeting with me, let alone discuss any end of term reports etc. She was ineffective as a mentor - the head knew this, but no action was taken. I was also consistently bullied by a member of the SMT, but chose not to say anything, rather than risk the repercussions. I decided not to reapply for my position - I felt the school didn't want me anyway (my gradings in obs had gone from good with outstanding elements to satisfactory, thanks to my bully and her outright lies). My confidence was at rock bottom and I really felt at the end of my tether - like you, I felt an utter failure. I made the decision to take time out - I finished the year (so got paid for August) but registered for supply work - started in the September - and since then, I have had a steady stream of work and have always had good feedback. It was scary at first, but I had had the summer to regain a little of myself, and soon got used to it. As with all ways to make a living, there are pros and cons - pay is not stable - and it's not a great feeling, not knowing where you're going to be from day to day. Also, the amount of work you get might depend on the area where you live. On the other hand, if you're not extravagant and put a little aside for the breaks when you can't earn, you can be comfortable. It has made me feel much more confident as a teacher, having experienced a range of different schools, personality types, as well as the whole range of Early Years, KS1 and KS2 year groups. I am now looking for a permanent job and feel quite excited and ready for it. If you're not sure whether or not to leave the profession completely just yet, it might be one route to consider, before completely throwing in the towel. Good luck, whatever you decide.

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