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NQT needing advice

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by rachelhughesx, Sep 16, 2017.

  1. rachelhughesx

    rachelhughesx New commenter

    Hi all.
    I recently started my first teaching post in a KS2 school. However, I am only trained in EYFS and KS1, before accepting the job my university did say that during my placement I'd be able to go in and teach KS2 in my time out of the classroom I was based in, so I accepted the job in high hopes that I'd get my KS2 experience as well. However this never happened as there was another student in her final placement in the year group I needed the experience in. I still decided to go into this job as I did not want to let the school down after accepting the job.
    I am really struggling and not enjoying KS2 whatsoever, despite attempting to try and brush up on the curriculum over the summer, and speaking to other teachers about the curriculum I still feel clueless. I know we're only two weeks in, but I cannot imagine doing this for a year. When I used to teach EYFS and KS1 during my training, I made learning fun and that was something that was always picked up on during obs. But I feel I cannot do that in KS2, maybe it's because of my lack of experience, and my general worry about teaching areas I have never taught before.
    I let my mentor know I was struggling and she was supportive at first, but then I ended up in tears to her again and she was just rude and asked me 'do you even want to be a teacher anymore' which really hurt because I have worked my socks off to get to where I am now.
    Anyway, I really want to give this some time, which I will- but the last opportunity to hand in notices to leave in December is October 31st, so if I am still feeling like this, do I hand my notice in? I have been in tears for the past two weeks, because I just do not enjoy it. I know teachers all get moved around during their career, but I feel for my NQT year I really need to be in a year group where I have experience, as I feel this would allow me to build a good base and eventually build up to KS2 again if and when I was moved into another year group. You know when you walk through the door to a school and your heart is in it? I just don't get that feeling. I dread going in everyday :(

    Has anybody got experience of completing their NQT year in different schools? I'm just worried if I leave no other school will want me, and worried my school wont write me a reference after how rude my mentor was to me when I got upset.
     
  2. arianasarah866

    arianasarah866 New commenter

    Which year group are we talking about here? There isn't a massive difference between teaching say year 2 and year 3. Maybe you are overthinking it and worrying too much? The truth is primary teachers can and are placed in any year group and you need to be able to deal with it. Your NQT year would be hard work whatever year group you are in and your skills in making lessons 'fun' aren't suddenly irrelevant because you are in KS2!
    2 weeks in to your NQT year I really feel it's too early to be saying you've given it a fair go because you really haven't and at this point in the academic year teachers are only really just getting to know their classes properly.
    Maybe if you were more specific about he issues we could help. Is it marking? Your subject knowledge? Behavior?
     
  3. install

    install Star commenter

    Yes - hand your notice in if you are still unhappy. Other schools will want you. :cool:
     
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    I would say that 90% of NQTs feel that they have been thrown in at the deep end to either sink or swim. Take it one step at a time. Have you got tomorrow planned? If not, what is tomorrow's difficulty? Is the week planned? If not, what is the difficulty? I am sure that there are some things that you can do. Let's hope that there are 3 things that you can do with confidence. By the end of the week let's make it 3 things with confidence, 1 thing that you can do fairly well and 1 thing that you can do o.k. I'm not Primary trained so I have no idea what these 'things' are.
    Next week choose something that you are utterly awful at and try to improve it to o.k - ish, or slightly better than awful. Don't be afraid to ask for help on your awful area. Read up on it, beg, steal and borrow resources.
    Give it until the middle of October before you make a decision. If it's really not right for you - Go.
     
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Unfortunately for you ,I'm another one who will be saying give it a chance. It is still so early days.

    Most Primary teachers get moved around a lot in their career and many can feel 'at a loss' or 'struggling' at the beginning of the year with an unfamiliar year group. When you say
    in fact you're not. You're trained as a teacher and 'technically' that training permits you to teach at any age range. Even Secondary believe it or not. Though you're unlikely to be able to persuade a Head you could do such a job.
    However the Head did offer you the post, despite being aware of your inexperience in KS2. That's the only thing you lack- the experience, which you will be getting during this year.

    Well that's probably one of the first things we can address. You can still make learning fun in KS 2.
    However that is a misconception with many young teachers , that to be effective teachers, one has to make everything fun. That simply isn't true and we fail our students if we make them believe it is. Sometimes learning is difficult and 'hard slog' and they need to have that balance.
    Part of your job is to prepare those children for 'real life', which will not always be fun. It will have disappointments (as you yourself are experiencing, which will make you more able to empathise). Sometimes it will feel painful and you feel you 'just have to get through the day', again your experience here wll be useful.

    So my advice, tough as it is, is to say try to look on this year as a challenge and a way of developing your teaching skills to make you a better teacher in the future.
    It's as well not to get too attached to a particular year group or have any pre-conceptions about Key Stages or Year groups.
     
  6. alexanderosman

    alexanderosman Occasional commenter

    I've been teaching a long time, been at the same school several years, teaching a Year group I've taught before and it's still taken me this first couple of weeks to settle down because it takes time to get to know a new class. It's felt quite strange and awkward not knowing the children even though I'm fairly confident in every other respect. So I agree with the advice from everyone else above.
    You say you've worked really hard to be a teacher and we're offended by the suggestion you do something else, so use that determination to push through this. The NQT Year is difficult.
    What exactly do you feel you are struggling with?
    When your mentor was rude to you, did she say anything else or just ask whether you were sure you wanted to be a teacher?
     
    pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I'm an experienced teacher who's moved to a new school. Most things are different and I know it's going to be a few weeks or even months until I've settled fully.

    As an NQT you're in a similar position except you're also new to the teaching. Do give it some time. Your mentor could be more sympathetic but I suggest in future you cry in private/at home/to friends and take her specific issues to talk through, e.g. "I'm struggling with my Maths knowledge, what do you suggest?" It sounds harsh and don't think I'm unfeeling (been there in a hard NQT year) but when you work in a school you have to learn who you can moan to. Clearly your mentor is not that person.

    Do keep asking for help though. Many teachers go on struggling because they think they're not allowed to ask. Just try and do it in as practical a way as possible, with specific foci.

    Stick with it and keep us updated. You can do it!
     
  8. rolls

    rolls New commenter

    The year has only just started, give it a chance. Wherever you are working and with whatever class you are likely to feel at sea at this point. Yes, you can change school in your NQT year but this might just make you feel unsettled all over again.
    The first thing to do is to look for support within the school. Are there other teachers there who have switched from KS1 to KS2? Are there other recently qualified teachers? Are there experienced TAs in KS2 who can help you? Does your mentor understand the transition you are having to make?
    I am sure there will be someone who can provide you with support and encouragement, go and search them out.
     
    Lara mfl 05, alexanderosman and muso2 like this.
  9. rachelhughesx

    rachelhughesx New commenter

    I am in year 3 yes, but I find it very different to year 2. Especially in terms of things like SPAG. I just do not enjoy it. Of course I will give it more time, but what I don't want to happen is if I don't hand my notice in on 31st of October I am then stuck at that school for another term after christmas and I feel like this. Life is too short to be unhappy and I think I'd rather risk leaving and being unsettled in another school but in a year group I love.
     
  10. rachelhughesx

    rachelhughesx New commenter

    Will I be deemed unemployable if I did hand my notice in and looked elsewhere though? I don't want to give up and want to complete my NQT year, but I want to be in a key stage which I know and love teaching
     
  11. rachelhughesx

    rachelhughesx New commenter

    There is another NQT in the school who absolutely loves it, because she did her training in KS2. I have next week planned yes. I think you just know when a school is for you and when it's not. I know people say a year is a short time, but from recently loosing somebody close to me, I understand life is too short to be unhappy. And a year is a long time to spend feeling how I am feeling.
     
  12. rachelhughesx

    rachelhughesx New commenter

    Of course I will give it longer, as I have said my only issue is that if I still feel like this next month and decide to give it longer, what if I am still unhappy next term?I'd have to complete a whole term in a place where I am unhappy.
     
  13. rachelhughesx

    rachelhughesx New commenter

    What I do worry about is if I am still feeling like this next month. People say I've only just started but I can't spend another term leaving work in tears and dreading going into school every morning. Life is too short.
     
  14. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    If you're determined to stay in teaching then as said use that enthusiasm to push you through this difficult time.

    Sounds as if there are also other issues here, which are influencing your viewpoint of your situation. A year is a long time, but in the expanse of a lifetime a relatively short time if you want to achieve that career in teaching.
    I don't believe you can yet say 'the School isn't the right school for you. Yet. Some Schools I've gone into initially I didn't feel so great about, but in fact turned out to be better than others, which initially seemed 'so right'.

    But .. who knows by January, you may also be feeling completely different.

    Even though you probably felt your training was tough, the NQT year is always going to be tougher (and anyone who says it isn't, is probably not facing reality).
     
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I moved to year 3 a few years ago after a very happy time in KS1. I wasn't at all sure initially and it took me quite some time to get my head round it and enjoy it. Probably most of my first year there. This is the first September when I've really looked forward to going back and having year 3.

    If your mentor isn't a lot of help, have a chat with the head or deputy and say you are thinking of applying elsewhere because your heart is in KS1/EYFS and you are very unhappy in KS2. They might well find you another solution.

    If you are desperately unhappy, start to look elsewhere, but try some other options first. And definitely secure another post before resigning from this one.
     
  16. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    I have very little to add to the good advice given above, just wanted to sympathise. The NQT year is so hard, especially at the start, and I suspect that even if you had ks1 you'd be feeling the massive difference from being a trainee. I worked in secondary for 10 years, before teaching my subject in primary last year, and really felt the difference between ks1&2, though in my case I felt more equipped to teach KS2 than the younger classes!
    Is it one form entry, or do you have another year 3 teacher you share planning with? Maybe you could try to observe some KS2 teaching in your NQT release time too.
    Dreading going to work and crying on the way home should not become a way of life (though is certainly not unusual in a new job when it all feels overwhelming). Please do talk to people in school to ensure you get the support you need.
    Best of luck to you.
     
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  17. alexanderosman

    alexanderosman Occasional commenter

    I think you may have to accept that you're not always going to completely love every part of your job. I have had one school I absolutely loved (although still had about a term of being quite unhappy), one school I hated, and then a couple of others I was generally happy to work at overall but things were up and down. I would guess (although someone might prove me wrong) this is typical of everyone's careers. However, some of the periods that have helped me improve the most as a teacher have been the difficult ones. Throughout your career, you will feel like this every time you move to a new Year group or there is a change in the curriculum. I expect a lot of primary teachers have had similar issues recently due to the new national curriculum.
    As far as your question about when to leave goes - if you leave mid-year schools will suspect it was because there were questions about your competence, so it is quite likely you will find it hard to get another job. If you resign without a job to go to, this will be ten times harder again. If you don't resign in October and you still aren't enjoying it in January, you will be at the right time to look early for jobs for September.
     
  18. arianasarah866

    arianasarah866 New commenter

    Then it sounds like you have already made your mind up to me and you hand your notice in. Personally I would be suspicious as someone who interviews of someone leaving their NQT year so quickly without good reason - I would suspect competency issues (sorry if this sounds harsh I'm just trying to be honest) and saying you found year 3 too hard compared to ks1 would probably also put me off as you do need to be able to teach across primary! If it were me I would try to tough it out and make it through the year but that is entirely your choice. Either that or think very carefully what you will say at interview when asked why you are leaving so quickly!
     
    alexanderosman and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  19. install

    install Star commenter

    You won't be deemed unemployable. A stronger position would be to resign with a job to go to though. I have come across many teachers who have not completed their nqt year due to family, long distance to work, wantimg a different educational setting, and other reasons.

    Some have filled the year with Supply or have come directly from another school mid nqt with a perfectly valid reason for leaving. You will need to be measured with your approach if your intention is to leave but if you are unhappy - then go if you can.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
    pepper5 likes this.
  20. otters258

    otters258 New commenter

    I agree
     

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