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I feel like quitting

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by pierreo, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. pierreo

    pierreo New commenter

    Hello all,

    I'm an NQT who just started work in September in a difficult school in Bedfordshire (school rated as "inadequate" by ofsted with an emphasis on students' behavior and poor quality of teaching). I have been having some trouble, and there's quite a bit to say but I'll try to keep it short, bear with me.

    Being French originally, I teach MFL (French and Spanish) and I get along really well with the staff in the department, which is great. However, I am having problem with my induction as an NQT. We are now 5 weeks in and I still haven't been assigned a mentor. I feel like I am struggling with some of my groups (I have a very challenging group of Year 10s who simply refuse, for most of them, to do any work) and I am not getting the support required for me to find the solutions to my problems.

    In addition to this, I was asked during my interview if would mind teaching some primary school classes. I said that even though my degree is in secondary school teaching, I wouldn't mind if it was only a few classes here and there. When I was given my timetable in September, however, I found out I would be going to primary schools every afternoon to teach French!
    When I mentioned this, I was told I would be getting lots of support, not to worry etc.. so I complied. As far as today no one has come to observe any of my classes or given me any feedback on my teaching in primary schools and to be honest I now feel that my teaching is not up to the standard as I sometimes struggle to get the younger students engaged in my classes.

    The last straw happened a couple of days ago. Every Thursday after school, there is a meeting for the new staff in the academy (not NQTs, just staff who started in the school in September). During the last meeting, we were separated into 4 groups of teachers, each groups had to prepare a class in 15mns on how to make a p&j sandwich and present it to the class. My group was given the challenge to prepare a pj sandwich to a mid to high ability class with one student with asperger's syndrom. My group and I quickly made up a plan and I was assigned to teach the rest of the group.
    The rest of the staff (around 15 of them) were supposed to act like students. However, when as I started with the lesson some of the staff started taking their role very seriously and proceeded to talk over me and to be very rude like some of my more challenging students act, sometimes.
    I was not prepared for this and was very conscious of the fact that they were not children but in fact older, more experienced teachers than me acting like children. Also, English is not my first language, making it harder at times to defend myself when put on the spot in a situation like this. As a result I failed to react appropriately and started to feel very uncomfortable as if everyone in the room was judging and mocking the way I (very poorly) reacted to the disturbance in the class.
    After a while another person from my group relayed me and I just stepped aside, feeling angry and humiliated. The feedback given to us had nothing to do with the way I dealt with their behavior and left me with the feeling that the only goal of the meeting was to show me how sh*t of a teacher I am. When I went home that night, I felt like crying, thinking I was a terrible teacher and that every member of the staff in the school is probably thinking this too.
    This didn't only happen with me, when other groups went up to teach the same individuals repeated this even though it wasn't part of the "challenge".

    I don't understand what they were trying to do or if they even understand how this made me feel and I'm not sure what to do about it.

    Anyway, I don't know what I'm looking for posting this here. It feels good to get it out of my system though.
    All I want is a way to improve myself as a teacher and I feel like I'm not give a chance to do that.
    Has anyone been in that situation before, what should I do?
  2. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    Hang on in there. Not long till half term.
  3. karaka

    karaka New commenter

    Join the secondary MFL Matters group on Facebook, there are a lot of MFL teachers and it is very active. lots of primary langs teachers too.
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Oh, that is tough for you.

    I'm sure the fact that you are an NQT and feeling apprehensive is colouring your perception. Honestly there is so much positive you can learn from 'difficult' /challenging situations, which you wouldn't be able to do if you were finding it easy.

    Remember how as a teenage you felt everyone was watching you / criticising you etc. ,wheraes in fact thye were all so pre-occupied with themselves they barely noticed your 'flaws/mistakes? It's exactly the same here. I'm betting half the people there, yes even the experienced ones came away with pretty similar feelings.

    So how to build and learn from the experiences?
    Start thinking about some strategies to try re behaviour etc. Read some books/articles about how to do that. The internet is great for this- which we didn't have 'way back then'.

    Generally I would say Primary pupils are easier to 'engage' than Secondary, but it may mean a change of approach. Remember what you learnt at college, concentration span = age + 2 mins? So average span for an 11 year old = 13 mins give or take. So in an hour's lesson you need at least 4 activities. (And yes for Yr 1 9-11 activities! That's a challenge.) A well-respected MFL teacher used to say for vocabulary with Primary age is no more than 8-12 new words of vocab in any session-less if it's absolutely new and then subsequent lessons revision plus 1-3 new words.

    Only ever teach new vocab with known grammar structures or new grammar structures using known vocab.

    Lots of games, so they 'think' it's just fun, whereas in fact it's what is termed 'structured play learning' in EYFS (Early Years).
    Hope that helps. Best of luck with it.
  5. phelisia

    phelisia New commenter

    Sorry to hear about your experiences. I am a primary teacher and MFL co-ordinator. Please sign up and join the Facebook group 'Languages in Primary Schools' - I'm sure you'll be able to get lots of great ideas, resources, support and advice to help you with the Primary teaching issues. Take care and have a good half term. x

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