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NQT and thinking of leaving teaching already!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Katiemaze, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. Katiemaze

    Katiemaze New commenter

    After finishing my PGCE last June I was lucky enough to secure a permanent position last September. The college is lovely and modern, my manager really accommodating, students on the whole are great and I am already attached to them. I really enjoy teaching my two subjects and I know I am a good teacher. I don't feel like my workload is too much at the moment - it is about right.
    The problem is the commute. The college is not close - the commute is over an hour in the mornings, and sometimes and hour and a half in the evenings, and is starting to take its toll. I am constantly exhausted. The low pay is also an issue, as I took a 0.8 contract as I couldn't bear the thought of travelling there 5 days a week. The day off really helps me recuperate mentally and physically,even though I spend most of it marking and prepping! But the trade-off is I am struggling to meet my monthly outgoings, even with the help of my partner's income. We went into debt for me to do the PGCE and had to borrow a lot, which we are paying back now. As a result we can't afford to save or book a holiday - the things that keep you going when you're working all the hours!
    I am always looking for jobs nearer to home. I applied for another job and been offered an interview! It's closer to home (about 40 minutes drive) and it is also a permanent position. However, they are asking me to come in for interview on a teaching day, adn I am unclear what my salary would be.
    So..My first question is, at what point can I ask what my pay might be? the application form says the MPS rate of 'between £24,098-£39,329'. So if i am on the lowest point now as an NQT (my college pays £24,869 pro-rata), if I moved to another college, would they move me up a point, or keep me on the same one? Could they even give me less (i.e. £24,098)?

    My second question is, do I have to tell my current employer I have applied for another teaching position? The potential new employer is asking for a reference from my current employer, and also asking me to attend interview on a day I am teaching. Unless they agree to change it to my day off and accept my previous employer as a referee, I will need to tell my current employer I have applied.
    What do other teachers do in this situation? Is it best to come clean? Are we obliged to let them know we are thinking of leaving? My worry is, if I don't get the other job, then they will know I tried to leave, and as the staff are quite gossipy in my staffroom, I know my name will be mud!.

    My third question I suppose to myself is, - is it worth attending at all? I knew teaching would be hard work, but I am amazed at just how little they are paid for the amount of work they (we) do! I've been told once I build up two years of resources that it will get easier, but I'm not sure I can hack another year of lost evenings and weekends...I am nearly 50 and feel like I have nothing to forward to, as even though I get long holidays, I can't afford to book anything!!

    I am wavering about whether I made the right career move. Before doing my PGCE I had a long career in the voluntary sector which, although insecure, was better paid. I keep thinking, why don't I just go back and find a better paid job? But I was unhappy and felt unfulfilled. The positives of teaching are that I absolutely love time with my students and we have great discussions. I like creating good resources and don't even mind the planning most of the time.
    Any advice greatly appreciated ! :)
     
    install likes this.
  2. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    Alright...You've completed a term and a half and the commute is a slog. My advice, go to the interview, tell the school; always best to be upfront and explain that the commuting is the issue; not the school, children, staff etc but for a better work life balance. Potentially a step up the MPS ladder, could all work in your favour for a long term commitment to the career that is teaching. Think - less commuting is also saving on petrol too and more money that could be saved per month to go towards a well-earned break. Good Luck
     
  3. Katiemaze

    Katiemaze New commenter

    Thank you Br0wnsugar...that is helpful and kind of what I'm thinking anyway.
     
  4. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    To be honest it seems like you have found a gem of a college in which to complete your NQT year. In my NQT year, I would have willingly commuted the same as you do for a nice working environment. Instead, I had a 20 minute commute for a toxic, nasty bullying atmosphere which I dreaded going into every day. So what I'm saying is, at least your NQT year is pleasant when you are actually at school.

    You need to be honest with your current school. Tell them that you are applying for jobs that are closer to home. The thing is, have you considered that initially moving to a new school will generate more work in terms of the schemes, getting used to the policies, new marking policy etc? Also you will have a new mentor, not all mentors are supportive.

    Pay should increase when you have completed your nqt year and you should move to m2 on the pay scale.

    If I was you, I would stay at your current school until July. Trust me, your NQT year sounds like it is going well. In May, look for other jobs that are closer to home and cite that as your reason for leaving your current college.

    Teaching is exhausting. Maybe stay late at school one evening to avoid the traffic and see if you can leave early some days, like on PPA days you should be able to leave early.
     
  5. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    This would be a dream job for a lot of people - and clearly is for you: you were 'unhappy and unfulfilled' in your previous job, so my take is this:

    Ok, so it's a tiresome commute, but it's only 4 days a week, which helps you manage the workload.
    The job you've applied for isn't that much closer - 40 minutes as opposed to an hour? - so might not make a huge difference in terms of fuel savings or time.
    You'll still be paying off your debts, which might mean you'll still be unable to save or book the holiday of your dreams - but you could look at less expensive breaks away until you're in a better place financially.

    @celago22 has made some really good points - think carefully about what you have, and what you want, and don't rush into anything you might regret.
     
    Kartoshka, Katiemaze and agathamorse like this.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Sorry, this is a bit misleading. Pay has nothing to do with your NQT year, and depends entirely on your school's pay policy. Most schools will increase your pay on 1 September (or backdated to then) after a satisfactory year. However, a new school is not bound to honour your previous pay or increase it. You should discuss pay either at the interview or when a job offer is made, and not accept it until you have a figure in pounds.

    If you do decide to apply for the new job, then you must tell the school. They will probably be asked for a reference if you are shortlisted, and you will need time off for the interview.

    I agree. I think you should consider the idea of seeing out your NQT year and looking to move after that. There tends to be a greater choice of jobs in September, so you might find one nearer home.
     
    strawbs, Katiemaze and agathamorse like this.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You've applied now, they will have called for references, so your current head will know....you may as well go and see what it is like.
    Be honest that it is the cost and physical tire of the journey that are the reasons for leaving.I have a similar commute and reckon around £200 a month on petrol alone.
    Go to the interview and see what happens. Make sure it is a lovely environment there as well though. A ten minute commute to a terrible workplace is far more exhausting than an hours commute to a lovely place.

    Can't for the life of me see why you'd leave a profession you love.
     
  8. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    A really tough one - but i agree with the other posters, Try to see out your NQT year at this college.
    As to the future, The tutors of PGCE courses have got to make sure that people who are borrowing and spending money to train as teachers really know what they are letting themselves in for. A great deal of time, hard work and money is being squandered training people for a job that many leave within a few years, what a waste for all concerned.
    I understand your desire to have a more satisfying career, most teachers would probably have advised you to stick with the better paid job and just become a scout leader or something like that if you wanted fulfillment. I am torn between encouraging you to stick it out and try to build a career in education, we really need dedicated teachers, and suggesting you give it up as a bad job. Will it get easier, don't bet on it. In my 30 years it just got harder.
    The really annoying thing is that when I started teaching experience was valued and rewarded and you would have started much higher up the salary scale. With your years of work you would probably have been on at least M4, possibly higher for relevant experience.
    I started teaching at 25 and gained an extra point on the salary scale for a couple of years with the local authority doing office work. Having to start at the bottom at your age really stinks and shows how little respect and value teaching now gets.
    I am saying this to be realistic, if you want to stay you will have to accept the way thins are.
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Stay until the end of the academic year to complete your NQT year.
    Look for jobs starting in September and tell your head that it is the commute that is difficult, but that you enjoy teaching at the school and are grateful for the support you e had there.
    You should inform your head if you’re applying for jobs, not least because you have to have them as a referee.
    Bear in mind that commutes don’t seem quite so bad when the evenings are lighter
     
  10. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    Not misleading at all. I used the word 'should' for a reason. I did not say that pay will increase, only that it should because in my experience it did increase after successful completion of nqt year.
     
  11. Katiemaze

    Katiemaze New commenter

    I think you're right that I'm lucky to have a nice place to see out my NQT year, and that a ten minute commute to a terrible workplace is far more exhausting than an hours commute to a lovely place!

    Thanks everyone for the good advice. It's really helped. Just to clarify, the new job would start in September so I wouldn't be leaving early - I wouldn't do that to the students in any case. I agree too that I need to be upfront and honest with current employer and tell them, though I think that even if I was offered it, I would be a dilemma about whether to leave because it IS so great and I'd want to see my students through their two year course!
    Maybe you're right too Foxtail3, that it'll be easier in the lighter evenings!


    So true.. and such a shame that during my PGCE year, many students were saying the same thing about the general lack of respect teachers get, even while we were on placement from fellow teachers.
    As for mentors - I don't have one! :DNever really did have one- even on placement. In my experience, you are left to get on with it, and it's sink or swim. I guess a lot of other professions are like that, but I was shocked, and still am, at the lack of support for new teachers.
     
    Kartoshka and agathamorse like this.
  12. Katiemaze

    Katiemaze New commenter

    Lalad and @celago22 - wise advice. Sometimes the grass is always greener!
     
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Sorry, I misunderstood. Pay should increase every September until you get to the top of the Main Pay Range, but some schools find excuses not to do so. That means that it is likely to rise at the end of the NQT year, provided that this happens in September. But my main point was concerning the move to another school. Several posters have complained that they did not get a pay rise when moving in September. That is why it is important to get such a rise agreed before accepting a new job.
     
  14. Katiemaze

    Katiemaze New commenter

    I don't think they know, as I didn't put them as a referee, but they have now emailed and requested 'my current or recent employer'. Well, they have my most recent so must need my current.

    After reading everything I think I need to go for it, and will be honest with my college, but I dread how the atmosphere might change if I didn't get the job.
     
    phlogiston likes this.
  15. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    It is not only the length of time taken by commuting that is stressful but also the way in which you make it. If you can get a seat on train, or a bus, an hour each way would be marginally acceptable. If, however, you are stuck fuming in bumper-crawling traffic, or strap-hanging, commuting will soon grind you down.
     
    Katiemaze and Piranha like this.
  16. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    That is the standard way of saying your current employer if you are working or your most recent if not. It is also what is usually expected in teaching applications. Therefore, it is wise to telly our Head that you are applying for another job.

    Do you have any reason for thinking like this? People apply for jobs all the time, and most employers take it in their stride.
     
  17. Katiemaze

    Katiemaze New commenter

    Thought of that, and tried the train a couple of times, but it takes 2 hours and costs too much. Plus its not door to door, and when youre lugging resources and laptop, that matters!
     
  18. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    As others have said, just say that you're applying for other jobs that are closer to home because, although you love the college, you're finding the commute long and tiring. That explanation doesn't reflect on your relationship with the college, your students or your colleagues, and I can't see any reason why it should change the atmosphere at work.
     
    Katiemaze likes this.
  19. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Standard practice. Most schools put a fair amount of effort into interview days with observations and perhaps several small interviews. They're not going to do all that again on a different day for just one candidate unless they're desperate.

    Any of the above. Progression is no longer statutory. Thank Messrs Gove and Cummings for that one.

    Absolutely -safeguarding issues mostly

    I can vouch for this having swapped a 15 minute walk for an hour and a half to a place where they tell me I'm valued.
    Most schools are used to the idea of staff, especially those in their earlier years moving on.
     
  20. install

    install Star commenter

    Your reason for wanting to leave is fine: travel. I'd be exhausted doing your commute and it must cost a fair whack.

    Don't worry about what people at your school will think about looking for jobs- but don't advertise it either. Speak to your current school referee (your line manager / ht ) and just be honest. You love the school, the people - but the travel is killing you. The thing is to speak well of the school you are in and keep it all positive .

    It is fine to book the day for interview. (Should be paid).

    Good luck!
     
    agathamorse and Piranha like this.

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