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NQT and desperately want to quit!

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by erdnalavel, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. erdnalavel

    erdnalavel New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    Never posted on here before, so apologies if I should be posting somewhere else!! And apologies in advance for the huge moan!

    I am currently an NQT at an outstanding secondary academy. I trained at this school last year with the School Direct route and I found the PGCE difficult but, I managed it and never felt anywhere near this down or even remotely tempted to quit.

    However, this year, for the last three weeks I have been crying every night at home (and on my way home!) and dread Mondays with a passion I never thought possible! My husband has even said that I am just not myself at the moment and he can't remember when he last saw me smile.

    It has got to the point where I don't think I am planning lessons to the best of my ability as I am too emotionally and physically exhausted - I have never felt this drained in my life! I have even begun to feel like I don't care about the job anymore which is awful!

    I get to school at 7am and leave at 6pm with more work to do when I get home. I don't think I can continue any longer and I think I would be doing the kids an injustice too. I really, really want to hand in my notice before October half term and leave the profession all together. I know that I no longer want to teach after this year - that's for sure!!

    I suppose all I really was hoping for was some advice from anyone who has maybe quit at an early stage of the NQT year and how this has impacted their future career/ job hunts!

    Again, really, really sorry for all the negativity here! Teaching is a fantastic job if you love it, but it is hell if you start hating it!

    Thanks all!!!
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Hi @erdnalavel - first of all, you haven't said what has made you feel so down that you are crying every day - I think you need to address this before you hand your notice in, because you might be able to do something about the cause of it.

    The hours you are working - is this due to planning lessons and marking classwork, homework and assessments? If this is time spent planning - does your department have schemes of work that make planning more straightforward? If not, can you find a SOW online that you could use? Do you all share resources with each other in your department? If not, can you ask colleagues to do this, or mention it to your mentor so they can suggest who might be a good person to swap resources with? Remember, anything you create this year you can use again next year if you remain in the same school and the curriculum doesn't change (don't know which subject you are).

    Dreading Monday - is it just the workload, or are you unhappy in the school/department? How are you finding your classes? Problems with attitude and behaviour? Or are you actually feeling stressed, anxious or depressed in the medical sense? If it's the later, make a Dr appointment ASAP. If the former, you can ask for support with difficult classes (extra bodies in the lesson), or ask colleagues to observe informally and give feedback. If you are really unhappy in the school, remember not all schools will be the same.

    Support - are you having regular mentor meetings? Are you being supported? Have they given you any positive feedback? (even if you've had negative too - you still need positive)

    I absolutely felt the same way last year during during my NQT year. I will be honest and say that things did not get better until a lot later in the year, after I had handed my notice in! (I handed in my notice before Easter) I am now at another school, where I will hopefully be completing my NQT year. My new school is a lot more friendly, and more organised in terms of SOW and resources, as well as having a much easier marking policy, but I am still working way too much. I think that some things get easier over time (planning, knowing what you're doing, etc), but then I think the workload is something that won't change.
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    NQT years are hell on earth - I also think they can be even harder in a school you've trained in.

    @blueskydreaming makes some good points and I'd also be interested in knowing what specific difficulties you're experiencing before offering advice.

    Throwing it all in st this stage may not be the best choice you could make.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. Aperture94

    Aperture94 New commenter

    I'm so sorry you feel this way...

    I'm an NQT (although FE trained so not technically an NQT) and I feel the same way. I cried about three hours ago as I was boarding the train back home from a weekend visiting family. Have you tried speaking to your mentor about it? I did and it eliminated a lot of the worry from my system as I was stressed about stuff that didn't really matter..

    I think you need to address what it is that you are stressed and upset about... is it the workloads/behaviour/marking/department? Once you have found the root, you can prevent it. I was getting upset about behaviour in lessons so I called for support, then I was getting upset about not being good enough as a teacher, so I asked to be observed. It helped a ton and I will keep doing this until there is nothing left to worry about!!

    The NQT Year will be the hardest, but once you have gotten through it, you will feel such a sense of achievement! However, if it's upsetting your mental help and making you a sad person, consider giving yourself a deadline to hand in your notice. I would 100% try and give it until Christmas :)
  5. erdnalavel

    erdnalavel New commenter

    Thanks for your comments so far! :)
    I'm feeling generally disillusioned with the job and am not enjoying it at all (some awful classes that I dread, but also some great classes that I absolutely love to bits and I know I will miss!).

    I think the main issue for me is that I hate having to work at home and feel like I am working from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. The department has some good SoWs and some pre-prepared lessons in the department and I know that the HoD is taking steps to try and get everyone to share more. However, other people's lessons and resources always need to be tweaked to suit the class/ ability etc to the point where I always need to do an couple of hours work at home. It feels as though I always have a black cloud over me and that there is always something that I should be doing instead of relaxing at home in the evenings. I find that I can never leave work at work, both in terms of work, but also emotionally.

    Yeah everyone does say it gets better as you progress through the years, but I think a job in which I have to work any significant amount at home is not what I want anymore and, unfortunately, there will always be a level of work required in my own time during the week and at the weekends - it's just what teaching is like. I did know what I was getting myself into when I began my PGCE, but this year I just feel as though my attitude has changed and I now resent it.

    Dreading Monday isn't really to do with the workload and I can't put my finger on why - I think it's actually just that I actively don't enjoy the job. I felt like this last year, but didn't really think much of it.

    I think my problem is that I have realised how little I enjoy the job and now I can't face waiting out the year just for a career that I see no future in. The support I have received so far is great and I can't fault the school in this sense. I don't really want anyone to offer me more support, because the reality is that no one can change the way the profession is and the implications for work-life balance.

    Really sorry if this sounds like I am not taking into consideration things that you've said! All the things you have said have been going through my mind for weeks now!
    pepper5 and (deleted member) like this.
  6. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I think there's a big difference between someone telling you about the workload, and you actually living it. My mum can't understand when I try to explain the amount of work, I think she thinks I'm exaggerating!

    Have you talked to your mentor about work-life balance? Can they suggest anything? How do they deal with it?

    If you do not want to do this job long term there are other options within teaching, such as doing intervention work or working at a PRU or SEN school. They may offer a better work-life balance (I said "may"!)

    Would it make you feel better if there was light at the end of the tunnel? Tell yourself you'll get through the NQT year then move on to something else?
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    There is no need to work at home in the evening or at weekends - I don't.

    I keep strict hours - I only do work at school - admittedly I do work 7am-7pm Mon-Thurs, I finish earlier on a Friday.

    Work life balance is achievable if you manage your time successfully ...

    If you think there is a chance that you could make teaching work for you hang in there - it really can be the best job in the world!

    That said, if your convinced you hate the job don't wait out the year it won't be good for you or your students.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    If you work for 5 hours on Friday, that is still about a 53 hour week which in my opinion isn't a healthy work life balance, and possibly not the best example to give to an NQT. It may be what is right for you, which is great, but a career of 53 + hours a week of work for most people would be horrible.
    DYNAMO67 and pepper5 like this.
  9. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    I wasn't suggesting that the OP should work the same hours as me, perhaps my example was misleading.

    What I wanted to demonstrate that there is no need to remain in school for 11hrs each day (as the OP suggests) and then to take work home and also work on weekends! Too many teachers work well over 65hrs a week which is far too much and unhealthy.

    I suppose work-life balance rather depends on who you are and what you want. I find that my 'regime' allows me to do the job that I love to a standard I'm happy, get 8hrs sleep a night and do all of the others thing that I love on a weekend and in the holidays.
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  10. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    You need to make a balanced decision.
    Realistically if you were not teaching what career would you follow?
    Before slamming any doors you need to realise that this is the worst term for NQTs.. your are establishing yourself with classes, you are producing new lessons - trying and refining your teaching and adjusting to the pressures of work.
    Do visit your doctor and take their advice - half term is also just around the corner!
  11. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi er

    You are in a bit of a dilemma.

    One advantage of finishing your NQT year would be that it would provide you with a skill to fall back on or go back to later. If you could find a way of reducing your workload and have one entire day off would make you feel better about yourself. You are exhausted which is affecting thinking.

    On the other hand, the work load is always going to mean working some evenings.

    Try reading The Lazy Teacher's Handbook for tips on reducing workload.

    Dealing with the behaviour issues will get easier as you go along and get more experience. At least you are in a good school.

    Half term is not far away and you can recharge then. After that, then a mere six weeks until Christmas. Another break.

    If you could just split up the year in your mind like that, you know it is not forever and you might get through your NQT year then decide.
  12. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    I do understand and value your opinion, however mine is that 53 hours a week is far to many, and all the time teachers do this, the 'powers that be' will let them. It also allows these 'powers' say "Miss Snail, is here between 7 and 7, why isn't Miss Erdnalevel?"
    sunny106 and DYNAMO67 like this.
  13. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    One of the ways teachers could have their workloads lightened is having smaller class sizes, but I don't see that happening.
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  14. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Please don't make any decisions now. It is the worst term for new teachers and things do get much better.

    I also think that you need to realise that not "planning lessons to the best of my ability" isn't that important. Very few of my lessons are planned to the best of my ability and yet pupils all learn and are successful. I work to I can realistically achieve in around 40-45 hours a week. If that means pupils sometimes get a lesson where I talk for ten minutes and then leave them with a textbook so be it.
    DYNAMO67 and pepper5 like this.
  15. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    That should be far TOO many. Sorry.:oops:
  16. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    @snail_friendly , so what do you suggest the OP does if it is taking her this long to get the basics done? As a new teacher planning and preparation does take a long time, because you don't have the same wealth of experience to draw on as a more established teacher does. As an NQT it used to take me hours to do planning and it's not as if you can say, never mind that tomorrow's lessons aren't planned, it's 6pm so I'm going home.
  17. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    @Kartoshka - you're right as a new teacher planning, marking and prep does take longer. I remember wanting to quit my NQT year myself!

    I wasn't sure, which is why I asked for more details, if it was planning, marking or something else that was eating up all of the OPs time. I didn't want to offer irrelevant advice.

    If it is planning that is taking up most of the time it's key that you speak to colleagues and share resources - they will need tweaking but not starting from scratch saves huge amounts of time.

    I'd also suggest getting planning at the end of the day (before starting anything else) so that you will be prepared for the next day.

    Avoid making card sorts or that sort of activity - they take a lot of time to prepare and often have little impact.

    Don't be afraid to plan activities where students lead their own learning, not everything needs to be led by you at the front.

    If marking is overly time consuming my suggestion is marking during PPA is potentially more effective than marking at home (for me TV shows always used to be more preferable than 9xs books).

    Don't feel like you have to mark a whole set in one sitting. You could split the books by ability and mark your least able in one sitting etc ...

    You could ask students to traffic light their understanding and take in only the 'red' books to look at.

    Don't mark every piece of work - one well marked piece every 2-3 weeks is far more beneficial to you and the students than marking every activity / every page of notes.

    Make good use of peer and self-assessment.

    Where possible try to mark a bit during lessons with the students present and next to you. It's a really powerful tool.

    I apologise if anyone feels I've been flippant or not supportive in suggesting fixed working hours but personally this helped me the most in my early days of teaching.

  18. erdnalavel

    erdnalavel New commenter

    Thanks so much for all your comments! They've all been really helpful and given me lots of food for thought and it's clear you all know what you're talking about!!

    For me, it's not a question of how much work I'm doing at home. Well, it is, but I know it will reduce even as I get later into this year I suspect and then significantly more next year! However, I don't think what I am doing is out of line with the other NQTs in my school (all friends from my training year). That leads me on to my point, which is that I have realised that I don't want a job where I have to work at home - whether it's 6 hours extra a day or 1. Unfortunately, what I have realised over the last few weeks is that I want a job that I leave at work when at the end of the day and I now know (very sadly) that this isn't compatible with teaching. I knew after a term or two into my PGCE year that I wouldn't be able to sustain the job for more than a couple of years, but I didn't realise quite how soon that feeling would come! This is the reason I don't want to carry on. I'm really sad that teaching is not the job for me, but I don't think I can make myself keep going any more. I just don't want to.

    The point that Calligraphy made is what has been running through my head - even cutting my workload down to what stays at school is far, far, far too much work for me. And as many people have said (on here and in real life) - the workload issue isn't going to change - it's just an integral part of teaching. Yes, it will reduce as I get more experienced, but it will never be a 9-5 job. I did know this, but I didn't realise how much of a problem this would be for me.

    So, for me, the question is not if I quit, but when. I know I could finish the year, but I really don't want to waste my time when I could be forging a new career for myself. In addition to this, my husband and I are keen to start a family soon and I don't want to stay in this job until the end of the year and then have to wait even longer until I have found and been in a new job for long enough to qualify for even the most basic SMP, let alone full maternity benefits that any new job may offer! I know this may sound a silly consideration, but it's really important to me.

    Thanks all again! And to any other NQTs and trainees potentially reading this - don't let me and my whining put you off! This is just my own personal issue and it's clear there are loads of people here that love teaching!!! The last thing I want to do is put anyone else off!
    sunny106 likes this.
  19. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Welshwiz is absolutely right, this time umpteen years ago I was crying every Friday and most of Saturday then again Sunday night after my subject mentor meeting *he was very critical and not organised or helpful, he had no schemes of work or resources to share in the dept. Anyway after I left I got a job very quickly in another school where my other experience was valued and my inexperience was noted and supported. Consequently I have enjoyed a very full and successful teaching career. All is not lost, hope this helps.
    snail_friendly likes this.
  20. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Best of luck! x
    yellowflower likes this.

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