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New poster: worried nqt.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by CXK810, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. CXK810

    CXK810 New commenter

    Hi everyone. This is my first post on here and I'm not sure what I'm hoping for it just need to talk to others about what's going on.sorry if this is long and thanks in advance for any responses.

    I started my nqt post in a new all through school in September. They have been a successful primary but are now 2 years into being a secondary so only ks3 at the moment.

    I have just had my second observation and been told that I am not on track to meet the standards.

    I am devastated as my lesson feedback was actually quite good. The problem seems to be my books.

    They have told me that all books need to be marked after every lesson. Is this normal? I have 270 students and see them twice per week. That's 540 books per week!

    On top of this I have been criticised on my planning. We are required to submit detailed written lesson plans at the start of each half term for that half term. These are for every lesson and when I say detailed I mean starter, main and plenary with all resources listed. I have done so and was told that I should amend the plans to include what questions I would ask students. I did this and was then told I must include the answers I expect students to give. Is this acceptable?

    I have not planned in such detail before even when training but maybe that is what is required one you qualify?

    There are more issues mainly to do with the outcomes in books. I teach a non core subject that includes some abstract concepts. I find students learn these better in a more active hands on way but my books are being compared to the English books and I have been told the volume and quality of written work is not good enough.

    I have now been given an action plan with weekly book scrutinies and I'm terrified that I'm going to fail my nqt year. I am the only teacher of my subject and as such I am a department of one which is feeling quite lonely right now.

    I'm sure what if anything I can do except follow everything they are telling me to do but I feel sick at the thought of forcing my students to copy out pages of writing every lesson and that huge marking pile!
    So sorry for the rambling thread but I feel completely overwhelmed and as if I have failed already.
  2. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    You need to ask for some clarity.

    By saying each book is marked after each lesson, exactly what do they mean? A tick?
    Ask to be buddied up with another one-man-band department so you can see what they do.
    Planning in detail that far ahead is barking mad. Plans should be dynamic depending on response. Again, ask to see similar plans so you can see what they want.
  3. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    you poor soul. Talk about reinventing the wheel!
    Yes ask for more clarification and ask for a mentor also. Also ask as part of your ongoing induction to meet up with a parallel teacher in another school so that you can get some ? I don't know, just a realistic idea of what should be expected......
    Well done for qualifying and getting a post. I hope you do succeed. Why not go into another forum that is subject specific and ask for some ways to deal with your workload. See if your local authority has an Advisor or Lead teacher for your subject or your role as NQT.
    These strategies might mean, just might, that the horrible people who are supervising you might take on board that their methods and under scrutiny from other outside professionals and they might be able to revise the workload if other people are aware of the fact that they are close to driving out a good potential teacher! Make them more accountable sort of thing. And just asking might make them back off a bit too.
  4. CXK810

    CXK810 New commenter

    Thank you so much for your response lilachardy.
    All they have said re marking is that it needs to be meaningful. They did give me some English books as examples and to be honest every piece of work was marked within an inch of its life. All spag corrected. Comments in the margins etc. More red pen in those books than actual children's writing! If this is what they expect then I'm stuffed! I am going to try to include some self/peer marking to take some of the strain.

    As for the planning they seem to think this is an acceptable requirement and keep referring to the fact that primary does things this way? They have shown me examples of planning but these are all primary 'topic' plans.

    I suppose I just need to jump the hoops and try and do what they want until I find somewhere else.
  5. CXK810

    CXK810 New commenter

    Thank you. I will definitely ask to be put in touch with another teacher of my subject in another school. My school has good links with another established secondary.

    I have a mentor. He is lovely but he is going through similar himself. The entire humanities dept is under scrutiny right now several teachers have left already!
  6. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    No, that level of marking is not normal and that kind of planning is ridiculous. It's poor practice, aside from anything else, to plan so far in advance and makes a mockery of assessment for learning.

    You won't change the minds of a leadership group behaving like that though so go along with it and look for something else. But do look for something else!
    JRiley1 and midnight_angel like this.
  7. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    There isn't a 'gold standard' that all schools expect of qualified teachers. Schools' expectations vary a lot, and it sounds like you have got unlucky with a school that is at the "very detailed" end of the planning spectrum. Including the answers you expect students to give is bonkers, though, even for very detailed planning. (I used to work in a "very detailed planning" sort of school, and that was pretty much the only thing I didn't have to include.)
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    This is plain down daft.

    You cannot do this. No-one can do this. Those English books - did the teacher who marked like that have a full teaching load, or was it from SLT with a light teaching commitment?

    You cannot do this.

    Have you thought of contacting your Uni tutor to see what they think? Perhaps they could talk to the school. Or the NQT liaison at the Local Authority.

    Plain down daft.

    Best wishes

    JRiley1 and varcolac like this.
  9. CXK810

    CXK810 New commenter

    Thank you. That is what I thought regards the planning I feel like I'm being asked to do the complete opposite of what I spent a year training to do!

    Oh well guess I'll jump through hoops for now.
  10. CXK810

    CXK810 New commenter

    Thank you TheoGriff
    The timetable for the English teachers is quite strange non of them teach in the afternoons so I guess they have more time for marking.

    Your suggestion of talking to my uni tutor is a good one. I'll drop her a line.
  11. drek

    drek Star commenter

    RIDICULOUS you have done everything they asked with planning, inhumane demands!

    You must be exhausted, and now they want their pound of flesh vis a vis marking?

    Mad just mad. You must have no time to yourself at all!
  12. varcolac

    varcolac Occasional commenter

    Ridiculous indeed.

    Assume a teaching load of 20 hours a week as an NQT.

    Assume at least 5 minutes per book if they want it marked to "within an inch of its life."

    One class after one lesson = 2h30.

    With 270 students you must have at least 9 classes, and they want them marked twice a week.

    That's already 45 hours of marking before you even start the micromanaging planning idiocy.

    65 hours of teaching and marking, plus Odin knows how many hours of planning, that's got to be something like 75 hours a week. On an NQT salary you could probably get a better hourly rate stacking shelves. Whatever the salary, 75 hours a week is a criminally stupid amount of time to be spending at work.

    In my school, which does have its faults, planning is the teacher's prerogative. Submit for pre-arranged observations, otherwise do it as you will. Marking has to be done by the teacher at least every three weeks, preferably with some peer marking or self-assessment in between, which is just as well because I teach 290 students. Maybe "primary does things this way," but primary colleagues are able to do that intensive marking because they see the same students regularly.

    I mark at least a box of books every evening, sometimes more. With near on three hundred students that keeps me just about up to date with my school's 3-week marking policy. If I were teaching primary, a similar schedule would mean I'd be marking one group of kids on a lesson-by-lesson basis.

    Your SLT clearly don't see the differences of scale between primary and secondary. Do what you can to keep your head above water, but look for an out.

    In the meantime, contact your LA NQT liaison. You can't fail your NQT year for failing to perform the impossible.
    CXK810 likes this.
  13. JRiley1

    JRiley1 Established commenter

    This is complete rubbish!! I have only ever done detailed plans when I was training and even then did not have to put answers I was expecting from kids! Tbh I teach better when my plans aren't as detailed, more an overview so I can adapt as needed, as commented this completely disregards assessment for learning. And as for planning the whole half term and submitting it! Shocked is not the word here! I'd like to know the person you are submitting it to do they seriously sit there before each half term and look through everyone's lesson plan with a fine tooth comb? For what purpose?? It's such a lie that primaries plan like this, some may do but none I've come across.

    Oh and the marking is ridiculous too :confused:
  14. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    I'm Primary - and although the planning is stupidly detailed even we are not expected to plan expected responses from students, nor submit it so far in advance. Marking - yes we have to mark daily which means a minimum of 60 books a night for lit and num plus theme and science on top maybe 3 times a week.

    A PP is right - shelf stacking works out as just as well paid.
  15. JamesH1lton

    JamesH1lton New commenter

    This is crazy - no-one should be expected to do this. I agree you speak to your Uni tutor and a colleague in another school for an independent perspective.
  16. CXK810

    CXK810 New commenter

    Thank you all for your responses.
    It has helped just to hear others opinions on this. I obviously don't have a lot of teaching experience and sometimes feel that maybe this is what I should be expected to do and I'm just complaining for no reason.
    I will look into making links with others who teach my subject for some support. I may also contact my LEA for some advice.

    Thanks again to everyone, just writing this out has been really helpful, you are a great bunch of people!
    Kartoshka likes this.
  17. JamesH1lton

    JamesH1lton New commenter

    Good luck - Wishing you all the best.
  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Keep strong!

    I used to be a Senior Lecturer on B.Ed courses, our aim was also to make it possible for our students to become great teachers.

    Your school is making it impossible for you to be a teacher at all!

    I'll repeat: Keep strong . . .


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