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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by pleathers01, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. pleathers01

    pleathers01 New commenter

    Should I stay or should I go? I am due to complete my NQT year by December. I began at one school but left due to the demands and it lead to anxiety and depression. I have been offered a contract until August by my second school but I am unsure weather to continue in this line of work. If anyone could offer me some advice that would be welcome.

    I am struggling with the emotional strain and anxiety that comes with dealing with very challenging behaviour.

    I am teaching 42 lessons over a fortnight and I find this very demanding despite 44 being the ultimate amount.

    I am teaching a second subject (English) and have just had my well behaved charming set changed for a set with the majority of the biggest trouble makers in year 7. I have no experience teaching or differentiating for this subject.

    I am constantly having to send emails to ask for help with behaviour management some out supported and some are falling on deaf ears.

    Sometimes I really really enjoy it. It feels amazing seeing the children be creative and enjoying themselves (teach drama). However, is it worth the tears the lost weekends and the anxiety and over thinking that comes with it? I am 26 could I come back later and explore other things? Teachers who have been here or who have left what do you suggest I do?
  2. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    It's your first year of teaching, you are very inexperienced. Get the NQT year done and then decide after that what you want to do. Seems like you are in a toxic school.

    Drama is a subject that does interlink with English. I take it the both subjects are in the same faculty, if yes, that could explain things but as an NQT I can't see why the HOD would expect you to teach subjects that is not your specialism. Understand there may be a shortage of teachers in your department- Why is the school not pro-active with recruitment- or have they appointed staff to start in January?

    My advice would be to stay with the school until the end of the academic year and then move on if you still not enjoying it. Having the best chance in getting a role in a 'good school', I would actively start searching now. Schools want top talent on their team- they will start their recruitment drives around this time of year for a September start.
    stonerose and grumpydogwoman like this.
  3. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I agree with the above to a point.

    1) get the NQT done and see where you are.

    2) as a drama teacher you have to accept and deal with teaching a second subject of English regardless of your experience, sorry. Changing classes doesn't help though, I accept. Behaviour management takes time. Consistency and persistence though.

    3) being a drama teacher you don't have the options open of a maths teacher. I doubt you have the scope to move around, or quit and come back. You are not in demand enough.

    I think this is a learning experience, and one you have to stick with
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I would stick it out to the end of the year, or at least until Easter, but then look for a less challenging school.
    Some teachers thrive in the challenging schools and some do better in the behaviourally easier ones. Don't feel bad about it either way.

    Stay where you are, but get applying for anything else that you like the look of.
  5. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    finish the NQT year, and get the qualification in your pocket, then think about something else, and look around. it doesn't get any easier
    stonerose and grumpydogwoman like this.
  6. RedBedHead94

    RedBedHead94 Established commenter

    Hi, I was in your exact same position. Started at an Academy in Sept, had trouble settling in to a department recovering from poor leadership and had a hard time juggling workload, developed depression and anxiety, was told it was 'normal'... started having panic attacks, ended up off sick beginning of October... quit at the beginning of November. Never, ever EVER going back (this could be depressed, GED brain talking though.)

    I've spent the last three weeks having heated discussions with myself about all the things you've said above. The children made my heart soar with joy and happiness - because they were funny as hell and so receptive. The paycheck was more than i've ever seen in my bank account in one sitting.

    But the workload, pressure of NQT observations and feeling like I should have been doing better and working harder, late nights, solitude caused by workload....overshadowed that joy. It took me too long to realise it.

    It all swirls round in your head, don't you find? You end up with an inner dialogue that looks like this;

    "The kids are amazing, no other job will be like that...but there's too much work to do for me to do the best for them....but I've invested so much and I earned QTS so I must be up for it.... so why am I not coping?"

    If that sounds familiar to you, I suggest drawing up a list of good and bad points about you staying in teaching. Asterisk the points on both sides that are a big deal for you. It planned it out clearly for me that, even though the goods were GREAT, the bads were worse and more abundant.

    Remember that your health comes first. If you're feeling wobbly and having some anxiety issues, it can take a while to recover from that. You can always step back for a bit, do something else, then go back- we have 5 years to complete induction!

    Good luck, whatever you do. Feel free to message me xx
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I agree that you should finish your NQT year since once you are qualified it is a good qualification to have and can open doors to other things; also, you are just a mere five weeks away until Christmas.

    It is poor judgement to take away your well behaved set and give you one of the more challenging groups, bu some schools tend to do that: give the most challenging to the least experienced staff.

    Once you complete your NQT and have your ticket in your pocket, then as soon as possible, you can start looking around for another school or job outside teaching. Some people are able to go abroad where the conditions may be better.

    In the meantime, there are things that you can do to minimise the disruption and improve your practice with dealing with the misbehaviour. View it as practice like you would any other art. I would suggest that you continue to use the school's systems to deal with the behaviour and try to learn some techniques to help you with the management of your classes. I would suggest the Pivotal Education web site for free podcasts and other resources/advice and also a book by Paul Dix called The Essential Guide to Taking Care of Behaviour.

    You don't have to do this forever. Once you are qualified, you can look for another school, have a break and do something else, or some people go abroad.

    Teaching English will be valuable for you as English is a core subject and in some places in demand which means that it is something for you to fall back on when there isn't enough drama teaching. Don't aim for the miraculous - just aim for good enough to enable you to pass. You will have time later to be expert at it. The HoD in English should be able to help you or point you in the right direction. Once you start, you might even enjoy it. If you can pick a text that engages your Year 7s, you will be surprised Your drama background will be useful and you won't find it as difficult as you think.

    Try to relax a bit of the weekend and recharge. Remember, 5 mere weeks until you complete your NQT. Well done to you for making it this far.
  8. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Pepper5. 2.30 AM ?
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Get to Christmas.

    You had a charming group and did really well. A more senior colleague has now decided that their desire to have a nice group trumps your need to build confidence and achieve some success. Look, I don't know. They may be at the end of their tether too. Isn't almost everyone?

    This sort of sheet happens all the time, I'm afraid!

    Christmas. That's all. Stop agonising and do one day at a time.
    stonerose and pepper5 like this.
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Went to bed early. Elderly cat wailing made me get up.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    If you are young enough and are not enjoying it plan your exit escape- but be cautious and don't burn bridges. Get through the NQT. Also, having a set change in an NQT year is not allowed and highly questionable let alone unsupportive- see your Mentor and HOD, maybe Union for advice..
  12. stonerose

    stonerose Occasional commenter

    Agree with above advice and guidance.

    Good luck and best wishes.
    pepper5 and install like this.
  13. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Even if the going is tough, quitting now is like running the first 24 miles of the London Marathon and then stopping. You've come through enough pain not to endure just a bit more and make it worth it. A New Year can be a good time to think about changing your life as well, in November you may as well cross the 2016 finishing line!

    The trouble maker set in English, often non specialists don't get top sets or 'exam critical' sets. The glass half full thinking is that you must be a good enough behaviour manager to handle that set so you were given it? At least there must be less marking compared to a top set?

    Teaching is a full on profession as it is, I imagine Drama relying so much on communication and interpersonal relationships between children is even more so. It is the antithesis of a 9-5 office job where you walk out at 5:01pm and forget it until the next day.

    The danger could be a job outside of teaching does not have the rewards you mention and you could end up bored and unfulfilled. You may find it harder to come back in to teaching (particularly in a good school with a good contract) if you leave, some Heads reject anything other than an identikit career progression profile (shame on them IMO!)

    Do consider alternatives, what about a business running theatre groups say, West End performer, tour guide , even support staff roles if you can take a cut financially. Or you could decide on a complete change! (I fantasised about lorry driving as a career at one point when teaching!)
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I just remembered something a very, very wise union rep once said to me...

    If every teacher who felt like quitting in the deep dark months of November/December did so, there would be no teachers left.

    You can't, contractually, leave until Easter now and have until February to decide. So leave it until then and focus on getting to the end of term.
    If you feel the same in February as now, hand your notice in.
    DYNAMO67 likes this.

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