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Is this the job I want?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by Kidders, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. Kidders

    Kidders New commenter

    I keep having mixed thoughts about teaching. I'm just not sure I'm cut out for the ridiculous workload! I teach secondary English and find the endless marking, planning and assessing such a strain on my personal life. I don't feel like i'm actually teaching my kids anything (although what 'teaching looks like i;m not even sure) I don't feel confident in my lessons and I know my lessons are nowhere near as polished as they need to be for Ofsted. Lots of my classes are off task. I seem completely unable to get work out of some kids and the others are just really chatty. My y11s have their English exam coming up in January and I'm so scared they won't do very well and it will be my fault.

    My biggest complaint however is all the marking/ planning- I've got 3 sets of controlled assessments to mark and i need to plan SOW for all my classes for the new year. I managed to not write SOW for the last unit they all did, but i feel this resulted in average lessons. I have no motivation to mark work or plan lessons and January 3rd is scaring me A LOT!

    Should I quit, or is this normal?
  2. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    The workload for English is huge - you have my sympathies!

    Very briefly:

    1. "Lessons not polished" - Well, welcome to the real world! This time next year, it will be easier: you can repeat what went well, tinker it to make it really good, and work a bit more on the lessons/activities which weren't as polished. Many people do say the NQT year is about survival, and as long as you're getting through, it's ok. Some teachers can only manage "average" lessons for their entire career!

    2. "Behaviour" - See the Behaviour forum, but you must have been exhausted at the end of last term and the kids played up in response. Mine too. The start of a new term is a golden opportunity to crack down on everything and just start again in terms of discipline, expectations, etc.

    3. "Marking" - Bear in mind the CAs should not need formative comments, "two stars and a wish" or whatever policy you have. All you need to write for these is something to support the mark you've given, in case a moderator sees it (moderator, not pupil). For marking books, ask to see books belonging to colleagues and see how much they write (are you putting down too much?). Look into peer marking, etc.

    4. "Planning" - linked to no. 1, I imagine. Shortcuts include looking on TES Resources and Teachit - even if some of the stuff there is really not very good, you can salvage bits/modify stuff with your own ideas. Again, what do colleagues do? - they should be supporting you with suggestions for planning. Other strategies - use textbooks, though as with online resources maybe just as a basis for your own ideas. For each KS3 class I give myself a week and a bit off by having them prepare an oral presentation which requires independent research: a few lessons for them to plan, a few for them to deliver and me to assess.

    Hope it helps. As an NQT your colleagues should also be sharing tips about how to manage the workload. I felt a little like you did at the end of my first term, one year ago. One strategy we came up with simply to put my mind at rest was for me to do some observations in my NQT time - not of teachers who had specially prepared an outstanding lesson to amaze me (because I knew what an outstanding lesson looked like and, as it sounds, so do you), but of those who were simply doing an everyday, unremarkable, 'average' lesson. Useful for other things too (eg, looking at behaviour management), of course.
  3. I feel exactly the same! I'm also mature sec English and went & got ADs on the first day of the Xmas hols, as I was going into work so stressed and tearful. I am dreading going back. Have a MASSIVE pile of marking I have ignored and now HAVE to do, ready for return as well as planning etc. I have steadfastly treated myself to a proper break, with my partner who I rarely see and also getting to see friends who I never have time for anymore because of the ridiculous workload. I hate the way the job takes over my life, I feel constantly guilty if i'm not working and I literally saw no-one between Mon & Fridays besides partner and kids all last term. That is not right.
    I want to get to the end of the NQT year just so its done then look for a new career. Even though Im in a nice school, my behaviour management is pretty **** and like OP, many students are off task. I dread OFSTED, which is hinted may appear this term. I am permanently exhausted and tearful - though never in class - and only cried once in school, secretly in the loos on the last day when my HoD gave me a lovely card! So used to feeling useless, that reading something nice made me well up!
    I put most of the pressure on myself, wanting to be wonderful and failing consistently at that! Im going to be easier on myself next term, not lay on interventions for students who cant be bothered to attend or listen, and teach as well as I can with a set time put aside for work out of school AND some ME time every day.
    I am NOT going to go under.
    ....least, I hope not!
  4. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    Hey, re the OFSTED thing, my father-in-law is an OFSTED inspector (and a very nice man, actually!) and he said when it comes to NQTs he's more interested in the support the school has got in place for them than anything else. They realise (most) NQTs are not going to be absolutely brilliant. So don't panic too much about that.
    I do feel sorry for secondary English teachers - do you literally only get 10% off timetable for PPA or do you have other frees too? If I ever have a pile of Y5 literacy books to mark I feel my heart sink cos I know it'll take hours.....the thought of teaching English to 10 or more different classes per week, all of whom will produce a lot more for Y5 and more for homework too, makes me want to cry!! I suppose on the plus side you probably spend far less time making resources than us lower primary teachers....
    Have a chat to your mentor about the way your feeling, ask for help with behaviour management and they may be able to suggest something to help with the marking workload. Good luck :)

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