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I'm buckling! Help! (Sorry, long post)

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by SHen15, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. SHen15

    SHen15 New commenter

    Hi all,
    Your feedback would be much appreciated.
    I am 5 weeks into my induction year, nearly 6 weeks now, and I am seriously thinking of quitting.
    Not quitting the NQT year but quitting my school to find another. And try a fresh start somewhere else in January.

    When I accepted the post, I was under the mistaken impression that it was an Ofsted Good school.
    It is a faith school and I went to its website and mistakenly read the report from its religious covering body where it was judged Good. I found out, a few weeks in, that it is Ofsted rated "Requires Improvement." As you can imagine, there is intense pressure to achieve Good and a gazillion and one bits of paperwork to complete. There are numerous inspections, learning walks, drop-ins, trainings (for which I am grateful). And in addition, loads of faith-related trainings, responsibilities, meetings, inspections, services and expectations. Honestly, if I had known that the faith-related duties were this many, I wouldn't have applied for the job. I am struggling to keep up with all the demands and as a result, not being good at much. I have been advised by more experienced colleagues to prioritize but this isn't working as everyone who gives me something to do thinks that their assignment is a priority.
    Under the weight of all this, I have ended up going several nights with little or no sleep in order to catch up with marking. I get home at night and can't even climb upstairs to bed. I sit at the bottom of the stairs for a while or just fall asleep fully clothed in the living room. Only to awaken at 3am to continue marking and planning. I stock my house with food at the weekends but hardly eat any of it. It seems I come home only to change my clothes and go back to work!

    As if all this wasn't crazy enough, I have a VERY challenging class, with children who have a history of behaviour issues. The behaviour has been so bad that not much learning has gone on. And I have been in trouble for this. When I reported a certain child to the phase leader for repeated disruptive behaviour, she exclaimed, "WHA-A-AT?! You have HI-I-IM in your class? They gave you HI-I-IM?!!! She had had him before and he nearly drove her mad!

    I am finally working out how to make improvements with better organization and firmer behaviour management and so I know that things will get better with the teaching side of things. However, I do not see how I can continue with what I consider to be unreasonable demands. One morning, I decided to emulate the experienced teachers in the school and arrive very early to tackle work. I arrived at 7.15 am and almost immediately, someone came in to give me work to do. They ended up taking up the additional time I had carved out and derailed my early morning prep. I did not get to do what I had gone in early to do and the day was a near shambles. I am discouraged with going in early because someone will come into my room and give me work to do. On some mornings, I have been told they have scheduled a parent meeting for me (when the leaders told us at INSET not to have morning meetings but to schedule them for afternoons).
    We have meetings/trainings every day except Friday, so I can hardly get anything done in school and have to take it home. And even on my supposed-to-be-free Friday afternoons, someone could walk into my room and "have a quick word/feedback" with me that lasts until 5 or 6 pm. This is why, when I was in really hot water over the marking, I began skipping sleep to catch up. Not good, I certainly know. But where else could I find the time.
    My mentor advised marking on the train when coming to school or going home. My phase leader advised marking during break. REALLY?! No life at all?!

    As I said, I am coming to grips with the teaching and behaviour management. But the extra faith-related work, and pressure from requiring improvement are things I do not think are going away. Arriving early and leaving late isn't helping much and my output has not been as good as it could be. My first HT observation was good. However, it was noted that I am struggling with a gazillion other things and it is not looking good at the moment.

    I would like to leave this school at the end of this term and have a fresh start somewhere else. I know that no grass is really green. But without the extra faith-related stuff, the pressure of requiring improvement, meetings 4 nights a week and unreasonable demands from others, I think I can make this work. If I were to stay at this school, I do not see myself finishing with a good record.

    Sorry for the length of this post and the rambling. I have had no one to talk to, so it's all pouring out!
    I am sad to let down the school; they have invested a lot in me. But I would rather stop now, because it isn't working. I wouldn't want them to invest any more when I do not think I can continue.
    I have a family, who are also suffering in this, due to what is happening to me.
    If I left now, would this look unprofessional?
    Can I give notice and leave or do I have to complete the one year of the contract?
    Would this impact negatively on my record as a teacher?

    Thanks for reading.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    If you are in a union contact them on Monday since they will be in a position to advise you on your rights in connection with your position as someone doing their induction year and also your contractual responsibilities. Call your union on Monday, but you can call the Teacher Support Network today for help and advice since they are open 24/7. Google for the web address/email/telephone details.

    Please get some sleep and rest today. There is no way the human body is made to work the hours you are and if you don't stop, you will destroy your health. Your health and your family are WAY more important than your job.

    All of this will wait until Monday. For today and tomorrow, don't do anything unless absolutely necessary and get some sleep, some good food, and rest your mind. Please do not do ANYTHING today or tomorrow and let your mind rest.

    Believe it or not, this will all work out. You just need to get the right information so you can take the correct steps in leaving.
    SHen15 likes this.
  3. SHen15

    SHen15 New commenter

    Thank you, pepper5. Just hearing from you is helping me a lot.
    Though I would really like not to do any work this weekend, alas, I have to.
    I need to submit planning on Monday and I am planning for my year group in one subject, so my colleagues are counting on me. Plus, I have a sack of books to mark...!
    SLT is on my case about staying up to date with marking and submitting plans on Monday mornings.
    I do feel I need to take time off though. And yes, I'll contact the TSN and my union.
    Many thanks. :)
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I can understand your predicament, but try to manage at least maybe tomorrow off completely. If you wind up ill with exhaustion, you won't be able to work at all.

    Take care and trust you get this situation resolved.
    SHen15 likes this.
  5. SHen15

    SHen15 New commenter

    Yes, will take tomorrow off. And perhaps give myself a treat!
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    You need to make the school aware of how you're struggling. Normally people are frightened to say, but if you're seriously considering quitting it can do no harm. Your Head and Senior manager's have a 'duty of care' to you and need to help you through this.

    As anyone will tell you, that first year seems to be overwhelming- there's so much to learn, planning/ managing time/ managing behaviour . . . . .but it does get better if you're given some help.

    I was fortunate to start my career when staff seemed less stressed and we did have good staffroom communication where problems were shared, and solved during informal staffroom chats with more experienced colleagues.

    OK, so you've got planning to do and marking, but see if you can adapt something someone else has planned. No point in re-inventing the wheel if it's not necessary. Set a certain time limit on any work you need to do, then do something just for yourself. A burned out teacher cannot give of their best.
    I know I'm finding 'shortcuts' this weekend as I really need to shake off this cold which has been hanging around for over a fortnight now, because I've been trying to do too much.
  7. SHen15

    SHen15 New commenter

    Thanks Lara mfl 05,
    I have spoken with my mentor and phase leader several times. I have told them I can see my way around the teaching and behaviour management but not the other endless demands. They are the ones who pay me early morning and after school visits, sometimes even occupying me at break times (meaning I miss lunch, in addition to not having breakfast before dashing out and no supper because I sleep off as soon as I get in, around 8 pm). They are also the ones who recommended marking on the way to/from work and at break times, as if it hasn't taken over enough of my life already.
    It is because I have spoken with them, to no avail, that I am now considering leaving the school. I can't see myself living this way for the rest of the school year. It will take everything I've got, and more, to endure it until December!
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2015

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