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Mentor issues

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by baileyclarke02, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. I?m doing my training year in teaching and due to my current circumstances, I?m finding it really tough and questioning whether I?ve done the right thing. I loved all my previous teaching placements and felt that I was absolutely suited to teaching. However, the school I?ve been placed in is very small and my mentor is also the HoD and the only other person in the dept, besides myself. They made it clear from day 1 that I wasn?t welcome and my first 6 weeks were hell. I was snapped at, constantly put down and made to feel awkward and uncomfortable, which came as a surprise as I have always had positive relationships with those I work with, and I?m still in touch with HoD?s from previous placements. It has not helped that there are serious behaviour issues in the school, which I have had to try and figure out on my own, without support.

    Since speaking to my mentor about our relationship, things have slowly improved, which is encouraging. I?m getting positive feedback (although muted) and seem to be doing generally ok. However, the horrendous start to the term has had a detrimental effect on my confidence and naturally, my lessons and rapport with the pupils, (who I have heard discussing how much they miss and liked their previous teacher who has now left). Despite trying my best to put on a brave front, planning to the max (heavy timetable with only 2 in the dept - I could not be working any harder), using sanctions and rewards, trying my best to strike a rapport with the pupils and starting lots of extra-curricular activities etc, I am struggling to distinguish whether it is simply the environment that I?m teaching in that I?m finding so difficult, or just teaching?

    Just feeling so isolated and alone, and unfortunately there is no one further up the school I can really turn to, as the DHT has a reputation for making people?s lives even more difficult when a sniff of a grievance/ negative comment is raised. I know that I went into teaching for the right reasons but I?m struggling to clarify things. Anyone else in the same position or can offer any advice? Thanks x.
  2. I'm really sorry to hear how horrible things are for you at the moment. I can well remember feeling much as you did in the Christmas term - exhausted, unsure and feeling I was sinking not swimming. However now with a few years of teaching under my belt I can look back on that period with a bit of perspective. If there are serious behaviour issues in the school, I wonder whether your Mentor is also exhausted and sinking not swimming, in which case a student to mentor was the last thing they needed adding to their workload! If things have improved since you broached the subject I think this could well be the case. If behaviour is an issue in the school you will almost certainly have some pupils who are expert in undermining you (boy do I speak from experience!) but for me, the turning point was the day they reduced me to tears (in the safety of the staffroom, not in front of them, thank goodness). After that I seemed to grow a thicker skin, and recognise that there are always children who hanker after the old teacher (even if, as I know in my case, they made that teacher's life hell too!)
    You shouldn't be feeling alone in all this. Are there no fellow students back at Uni, or a tutor there, that you can talk to? Please rest assured that you are not the only person to feel like this, you won't be the last, sadly, but trust me, if you are getting good feedback and doing all the right things as you describe, you will get through it and make a good teacher! Good luck x

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