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My experience coming from abroad

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by pianomeng, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. I taught abroad in a large private school for nearly 5 years. I loved the job, did well in the job, and felt I was quite a good teacher. Students loved me, and learned and progressed with me.
    I arrived back in the Uk to get my PGCE, full of hope for a future as a qualified teacher here in the UK.
    The PGCE was a really tough, miserable experience. By Christmas I was arriving at work in tears, and had to take a few days off simply so I didn't implode. But I kept at it, and ended up passing the course. This really knocked my confidence.
    The NQT year was even worse. Won't go into details, but typical story of no support, 'challenging' kids, incompentence abound etc etc This has been one of the toughest, loneliest and stressful years of my life.
    After 2 years of 'training' I am left with NO confidence as a teacher. And no job!
    What went wrong?
    Was I just unlucky with placements, mentors and schools, or have other people had similar experiences?
    Is the teacher training process flawed....or am I flawed?
    Any thoughts gratefully received....



     
  2. I taught abroad in a large private school for nearly 5 years. I loved the job, did well in the job, and felt I was quite a good teacher. Students loved me, and learned and progressed with me.
    I arrived back in the Uk to get my PGCE, full of hope for a future as a qualified teacher here in the UK.
    The PGCE was a really tough, miserable experience. By Christmas I was arriving at work in tears, and had to take a few days off simply so I didn't implode. But I kept at it, and ended up passing the course. This really knocked my confidence.
    The NQT year was even worse. Won't go into details, but typical story of no support, 'challenging' kids, incompentence abound etc etc This has been one of the toughest, loneliest and stressful years of my life.
    After 2 years of 'training' I am left with NO confidence as a teacher. And no job!
    What went wrong?
    Was I just unlucky with placements, mentors and schools, or have other people had similar experiences?
    Is the teacher training process flawed....or am I flawed?
    Any thoughts gratefully received....



     
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Established commenter Community helper

    No, my guess is that you are a great teacher. The problem is that a lot of PGCE courses are rubbish and they do not prepare you for the harsh realities of some of the classrooms in British schools, i.e. lazy, foul-mouthed kids, aggressive parents and ineffective school management. I have taught in Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Romania, the UAE and Qatar, but a lot of the kids in the UK are just scum in comparison to the polite, well-motivated and pleasant children whom you will meet in most international schools.
    My immediate thought is that you should give up the crazy idea of teaching in the UK and get a job in an international school. There really are hardly any jobs in the UK anyway, so why bother applying if you know that there might be 600 other applicants? Maybe you should do a CELTA, while you are waiting for something to turn up. There are still some overseas vacancies for September, so it is not too late.
    Send me a PM if I can be of any further help. You can also read a lot of my mindless ramblings on the "teaching overseas" forum.
     
  4. Thanks for the advice - have PM'd you.

    Piano
     
  5. natbar

    natbar New commenter

    Hhhmmmm I have English children in primary school and I find the term "scum" very offensive, as I'm sure most, if not all parents of children in english schools would when you are referring to their children. I'm glad you don't teach my children if this is your point of view!!
     
  6. the hippo

    the hippo Established commenter Community helper

    Of course there are children in the UK who are pleasant, polite and hard working. However, you will find on this NQT forum many, many comments from NQTs who are struggling to cope with rude, lazy and disrespectful students. On this forum you can read comments that have been written by NQTs who really are at their wits' end because of the appalling behaviour of some of their students. Some postings on this forum seem to have been written by NQTs who are considering leaving teaching altogether and their students' behaviour is a major reason for this. The OP certainly seems to have had some very unpleasant experiences while trying to teach in the UK, whereas her experiences of teaching in international schools have been very different.
    If you find my comments offensive, natbar, then I would say that I am pleased for you that you are at a school where many (perhaps the majority) of your students want to learn and behave appropriately. This is not, unfortunately, the experience of many NQTs, alas.
     
  7. natbar

    natbar New commenter

    I understand where you are coming from, I am very lucky to live/work in a pleasant area with lovely primary aged children. This hasn't always been the case though, I have worked in some very deprived areas with some VERY CHALLANGING children. However this is the term which as a parent and teacher I can understand/ sympathise with colleagues about. It wasn't your content as much as the term "scum" I alway try to think of the parent of the child/ren when pigeon holing their children (would I like MY child to be referred to as ....if not then I wouldn't say it)
    Maybe it's because I am a parent I think about the children in my care this way (I don't know your personal circumstances so not trying to imply anything by that) I'm sure there are many days/weeks when the behaviour, attitude must grate on you (Whoever) but it is someones child still, hence why I felt offended by the term. They are still kids after all, all be it sometimes rude, disobediant ones.
    I hope all works out well for the OP, and I really do understand the sentiment you were trying to convey to them. However your choice of terms is a little harsh?


     
  8. the hippo

    the hippo Established commenter Community helper

    Well, perhaps I was a bit harsh and condemnatory.
    I do not teach in the UK and I simply do not know how many teachers, especially NQTs, cope with badly behaved teenagers. In the UK there are some delightful, charming and well-motivated children, I am sure, but unfortunately there are also a lot of postings on this very forum from NQTs who are stressed out and even thinking of leaving teaching altogether because of the disgusting, rude and disrespectful behaviour of their students. There have, for example, been stories of teenagers who have deliberately provoked their teachers in order to get them angry and overreact. While this is going on, other kids are filming it on their mobiles and then the video is posted on YouTube and Facebook. I know one hard-working teacher whose marriage has been put under severe strain because of provocation of this kind. He was charged with assault, but fortunately the conviction was quashed on appeal.
     
  9. natbar

    natbar New commenter

    Blimey! That's terrible!!
    I can only say that I'm glad I'm primary, I know that doesn't help all the secondary teachers out there going through tough times, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to deal with that every day!!
     
  10. the hippo

    the hippo Established commenter Community helper

    natbar, how about this one?
    My parents used to let a flat to a young teacher (I think he was an NQT) and his wife. The husband went off on some course or conference for a long weekend. While he was away, two teenage girls repeatedly telephoned his wife, tearfully telling her that her husband had sexually molested them. For some reason or other, the wife was unable to contact her husband. When he eventually returned home, the Police and the school investigated the allegations and then the girls admitted that they made up the whole thing "for a laugh". The school authorities gave them a telling off. Great! Can you imagine the torture that this young wife must have gone through?
     
  11. natbar

    natbar New commenter

    Jeez! Poor family!!
    But what I would say is that is not limited to UK schools only. Different countries have different social issues, USA for example with kids shooting their classmates and teachers. Kids of that age can be INCREDIBLY stupid, go along with something for a 'laugh' This is why so many kids end up in silly accidents or taking part in things such as drug taking that they wouldn't normally find acceptable. Peer pressure is HUGE and shouldn't be underestimated, how many times have you heard on the news, little Johnny wouldn't do something like this, he's a good boy, it's not in his nature?
    This as a parent worries me hugely for the future, but you can only steer them in the right direction. At that age they have their own views/opinions which are likely to be different from their parents, but MOST end up good members of adult society when they over their rebelious stage. The problem is as you have stated that schools/teachers have very little power in the classroom especially at secondary level, where allegations can made that can wreck the teacher's life/career. Once a child realises what little power a teacher/school has over them in the bigger picture the respect is lost.
    The parents need to be a PARTNER to the school in their child's education in order to maintain a good relationship in which information about their education/behaviour is shared freely. Well that's my humble opinion anyway [​IMG]
     
  12. jubilee

    jubilee Lead commenter

    It's a common experience (if not for the majority, then certainly for a significant minority) for new teachers in the UK to discover that their main function is not to teach but to exercise crowd control and try to impart enough social skills for some learning to eventually take place.
    I entered teaching in my forties and was shocked by the deterioration in behaviour. It's depressing and exhausting coping with it, especially when your time-intensive lesson planning goes to waste through being unable to get a sentence out of your mouth without being interrupted.

    When I think back to my own school days I see teachers sitting at their desks and teaching from there. They stood up only to write on the chalk board; pupils went to them, in an orderly fashion, to have classwork checked. I'm not exaggerating when I say that no-one in any of my classes ever got sent out for bad behaviour. I was in the top set but knew of only 2 girls, in a year-intake of 90,who were ever put in detention.
    Teaching must have been a joy not a trial.
     

  13. " I know one hard-working teacher whose marriage has been put under severe
    strain because of provocation of this kind. He was charged with
    assault, but fortunately the conviction was quashed on appeal "
    I know of a teacher who got a criminal record because whilst stopping a fight between two teen age boys he used " too much force".He pushed one boy away who then hit the white board. The boy was fine, believe me. It's ludicrous it really is and one of the many reasons why I abandoned teaching.
    I think that teaching in the UK reflects our polarised culture. I've worked in a grammar school in an upper middle class area. A snooty, cold and humourless place. I also worked in a tough inner city school in Manchester where some kids would start looking at **** as soon as the lap tops were handed out. Teachers would go crazy of course, letters home etc. SLT did nothing and to me seemed a group of burnt-out, cynical individuals counting the days down to retirement. To be fair I briefly worked in another school which was very pleasant.The teachers even appeared to have time to spend with their families and /or pursue outside interests. During term ! Can you believe it ?
    And where are the part-time jobs? If you could do NQT part-time then teaching would retain far, far more people.




     
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Established commenter Community helper

    Well, I stopped teaching in the UK back in 1998 and since then I have been in international schools, mostly in the Middle East. The stresses, strains and kicks in the teeth that teachers in the UK have to put up with on a daily basis makes me wonder why anyone would ever want to become a British teacher. Those of you who do somehow manage to do your jobs professionally deserve a medal (and a payrise).
    I did have the misfortune to teach some dreadful teenage boys in Saudi Arabia, but otherwise my international students have been hard-working, polite and respectful. Best of all, my students in Qatar all go home at one o'clock!
     

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