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NQT quit NQT year and thinking of leaving teaching.

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by wildeoscar17, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. wildeoscar17

    wildeoscar17 New commenter

    I completed my PGCE last year and graduated as an 'outstanding' student teacher by the course manager (they were also my trainee teacher mentor). Though my PGCE year was tough and had its ups and down, I really enjoyed it. I loved my last placement, it was by far the hardest in terms of workload and though I had a non-existent social life (I went from seeing my partner few times a week to once every half term) I really enjoyed it. I loved working with the children, seeing the progression and knowing I was the one who contributed to that impact! I managed to secure a job at a school albeit a rushed situation- I got headhunted and immediately got the job. I went into the school, happy to have been there and looked really forward to having my own class.

    Then the academic year starts, it was all OK at the beginning then it went wrong...quick. I had very little support, I had no NQT mentor (and asked about this several times!), my year group partner was very independent and had very little time to discuss planning/assessment and other bits. So I was sailing on a boat without a sail, basically on a plank of wood- yet I still enjoyed being at that school. Then NQT observations kicked in (by several different people) and I realised how 'bad' of a teacher I was (this was said to me), though I had 5 observations I had no paper copies of the feedback (though looking back on it the verbal feedback was not constructive e.g. 'you failed this part of the teaching standards'- yet no advice was given on how/what I could do to achieve that standard!) I had no targets and I got ignored by anyone I asked help from... basically my plank of wood started to turn into sawdust. I mean I actually got ignored, I would go to my year group partners class, ask them a question and wait 5 minutes for a response which never came- I look back and laugh. I also began to plan and resource for two classes during my PPA time as my year group partner had no time to sit with me- they were a busy person so its understandable, but the workload was becoming unbearable. So I spoke to the SLT/HT and asked for support twice during the first half term. Then I asked the third time, nothing changed- I was told that this is what to expect as a teacher and I took it on board. I was in my classroom and heard a few teachers and TA's talking about me negatively. I made noise so they could hear me and they immediately stopped, one person even said "I didn't know she was in!". Gossiping and rumours started to spread about me, people claimed that I said/done things, luckily I was able to clear it up as I was not in school those days the rumours happened or I had not left my classroom. I was sick, went to the doctors several times, the doctor suggested I take time off work but I knew I couldn't, I didn't want to leave the school just like that. Then it all stopped, I resigned with no job to go to. I felt so much happier the minute I handed my resignation letter in. Though I had completed a term, the NQT report was never written so I never actually completed a term of induction.

    January I started supply teaching and it been OK, work is slow but I'm getting some experience. Now its June, I have applied for countless jobs, had 1 interview and was told that they were impressed by my interview but decided to give it to someone more experienced. Then I applied for the school I supplied it extensively, I was hopeful but again it was unsuccessful I did not an email to say I have been unsuccessful- bearing in mind everyone in the school including the HT asked me to apply. I was reluctant at first as it was in a year group I have no experience in but then I thought what have I got to lose, the school were supportive and I could see myself doing it.

    Fast track to today, I feel extremely worried, anxious and sad for a few months now. I lose sleep, I have had less than 3 hours sleep since April, my appetite is gone and I am so worried about my future. I want to give up teaching as I have tried so hard and failed! I feel like I have been failing since August last year. I love teaching and I have tried to find another school where I can flourish but the question of 'Well how do I know you won't leave us?' seems to pop up... a lot.

    Anyway, I'm thinking of leaving teaching. I know I'm seen as a failure and have been since I left my job, but I can't seem to be hopeful. I was resilient, that was the biggest skill I took away from my PGCE and the start of my NQT term. Yet now I want to leave, I don't see myself as a good teacher anymore, I feel unwanted in schools and I just don't know what I'm doing.

    I've been looking at similar threads and one person wrote 'if you're unsuccessful by 25 then just throw in the towel', or something along the lines of that. I know its ridiculous, but that made me feel like my sturdy plank of wood which turned to sawdust is now turning into flesh-eating bacteria- eating away at my soul.
    It's true when people say we tend to focus on the negatives more than the positives, I just didn't realise how it could affect me this much.
  2. wildeoscar17

    wildeoscar17 New commenter

    If anyone wonders why I never got the LA/Union involved it was because I was told not to by other teachers at other schools as when I left I would receive a bad reference. I agreed with this notion, the fact that rumours were spreading made me feel like an outcast so I thought I'd leave, get on with it and find another school. Obviously, that's not happened.
  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I'm really sorry this has happened to you.

    I had an awful start to teaching. I left my NQT school part way through the year, and found a maternity cover at a school that restored my faith in humanity (and teaching). If you're having problems finding a permanent position I'd suggest looking out for a maternity cover - especially if there's an odd start date. I now teach internationally.
    pepper5, agathamorse and wildeoscar17 like this.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Sorry you're here.
    Do they still count as a "partner" if you still see them that infrequently
    Why did they take on an NQT?
    Independent is not the word I'd use. Unsupportive and unhelpful.

    What the...?
    collective bullying.

    It sounds as if you've had an awful time of it. I'm not in a position to comment on the quality of your teaching.
    It is possible to invest too much into any job. Teaching absorbs too much of you if you let it. It should not separate you completely from partners and family. You teach to support life-not endure life to enable you to teach.
    agathamorse and DexterDexter like this.
  5. wildeoscar17

    wildeoscar17 New commenter

    Haha he is still my partner, 9 years and still going. He is supportive and understanding, to say the least.

    I have no idea why they took an NQT, I was their first NQT in 4 years.

    I completely agree, being on supply has made me value the people around me. I let teaching take away from me, but because I was happy no-one really said anything. I realise the importance of health, happiness and spending time with loved ones.
  6. jfinty1

    jfinty1 New commenter


    I don't think you should quit you sound like you have a real passion for it. You were unlucky at your first school, it's not your fault.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  7. Ds2d12

    Ds2d12 Occasional commenter

    My advice...quit! Run! Never look back! You’re still young (assuming?) and still cheap. Do something else, anything else whilst you can.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. musobob

    musobob New commenter

    I don't post on here often, but my sincere advice is to move on and do something else. You have youth on your side and can be successful doing something else. I wish I had done ten years ago, it's much harder now to change career.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  9. celago22

    celago22 Established commenter

    The issue here is that you finished your course thinking you were outstanding. Sorry but observations are hugely subjective and I think grading someone as outstanding leads them to become complacent and expect the same grade in the nqt year despite a different school setting, mentor, class dynamics, support etc. I think you put too much pressure on yourself to be brilliant.
    I hope I haven't come across as horrible!! It's just that sometimes you just have to get through it.
  10. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    yep. This is what to expect as a teacher. forever, basically.

    You are lucky to have the chance to leave now, before you get entrenched, and get your sole eaten away completely.

    go. Why are you even hesitating?

    But don't go thinking you were outstanding, or that you are a failure. Most student teachers are told they are outstanding, and it isn't you that has failed, it is the department of education.

    You are just a normal person who has had a normal experience in the UK education system.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  11. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Please do not consider yourself a failure. You are just starting out! It takes 10,000 hours to become a master at an art and let us be real here - you have just started your career in teaching and you are bound to make mistakes and not do things perfectly. It is the system that has failed YOU.

    Teaching in the UK is never going to be an easy way to earn a living in view of the large class sizes, the behaviour problems in some schools and the 60+ hours per week that is required in some cases to do the job. I can't remember the statistics, but a good proportion of newly trained teachers leave the profession within 5 years of qualifying. Are all these teachers failures? No.

    You have some options here. Firstly, you could as blueskydreaiming suggests look for a maternity post and try to find a supportive school. That way you could gain some experience and finish your NQT year. I do believe this is possible if you keep looking as there are some supportive schools and SLT that will help you. You must have the potential or you would not have made it onto teacher training nor have come this far.

    Another option is to retrain in another field as you are young and it is easier to change now rather than want to change when you have a family or other commitments which would make it far harder.

    Whatever you decide, please understand that this type of experience happens to far too many people at an early stage in their teaching career: when they need support the most they do not receive it; and it is ironic that they don't because they are supposed to be working in a caring and nurturing environment but in some schools there is not that type of culture.

    Don't base your self worth on whether or not you are a teacher. Your self worth comes from being a human being that is worthy of help and being treated fairly and with respect and dignity.


    Don't believe people who say to throw in the towel if you are not successful by age 25.
    blueskydreaming and agathamorse like this.
  12. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Established commenter

    I can't let this go. It is absolute #######. (And that's without the bad punctuation and the incorrect spelling of "soul" - can this poster really be a teacher?)

    It is not a normal experience at all. You have had a rough start, with people who should have known, and done, better. Keep up the supply, try to get a shorter term post - maternity cover is ideal, as someone has suggested. You'll probably find a good place and get on well. Give it more time. If. however, it doesn't work out, you will find something else and you will always be able to say you gave teaching a fair chance and didn't fall at the first big hurdle.

    For my part, it is by far the most rewarding job I have ever done and although, as with all work, it has its ups and downs, I have enjoyed almost every day that I have taught. Good luck!
  13. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    You are welcome to your opinion, But that's all it is, an opinion, based on what you have seen and heard and experienced.

    My opinion, based on what I have seen and heard and experienced is just as valid, and I am clearly far far more experienced than you, and judging by the fact that you appear to have never come across a dyslexic teacher before, your experience seems to be limited and sheltered.

    And judging by the fact that you seem to think nothing at all of belittling me and casting doubt on my professionalism because of my disability, there is every possibility in my mind that the reason you haven't experienced the bullying endemic in teaching is because you are the one on the other side.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  14. wildeoscar17

    wildeoscar17 New commenter

    Funnily enough, almost everyone on the course graduated as an 'outstanding' student teacher (all apart from 2 who graduated as 'good' student teachers).
    I never finished the course with the idea that I am an outstanding teacher and will continue to be in my NQT year. I graduated as a student teacher and I am fully aware of the difference between student-teacher and a teacher- especially now haha!
  15. wildeoscar17

    wildeoscar17 New commenter

    I completely agree, supply work as shown me that I love working with children for exactly the same reasons you stated.
    Thank you for your kind words and advice!
  16. wildeoscar17

    wildeoscar17 New commenter

    Thank you so much for your response.

    I came back to this thread after revisiting these negative feelings and I feel like this is exactly what I needed to read.
    I am going to continue looking for teaching posts/other careers. Fortunately, as I am on short-term supply, I have the flexibility to do this and I am going to take advantage of this flexibility. Ideally, I would like to complete my NQT year but I am going to keep my options open for the time being.
    blueskydreaming and pepper5 like this.
  17. hans321

    hans321 New commenter

    Hi which country do you now teach in if you dont mind me asking?
  18. teselectronic

    teselectronic Occasional commenter

    Hi wildeoscar17, most, if not everyone, has problems in their NQT year!
    Read Tajfel's Social Identity Theory, you may then have a better understanding of the unprofessional Teachers' at the School, in which you were subjected to inappropriate behaviour.
    You have obviously great potential and enthusiasm for the Teaching profession.
    Find a full - time position, complete your NQT year, Induction and you will become a good Teacher.
    It can take up to four years to become an effective Teacher and enjoy the practice!
    Best of luck, you can do it with the appropriate guidance and backing.
    dorcaswynneparry likes this.
  19. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Jeez, this sounds a rough do. First, your training - whilst it might have sounded good to you, it doesn’t to me. No life? All that work? Suggests to me that your training wasn’t structured properly. What kind of course did you do? If you don’t mind me asking.

    Second, the NQT experience you describe sounds horrendous. None of my partner schools would treat my NQTs like that else we would immediately stop recommending them or using them. The new experience will be under the ECF so it will be different. I would suggest you review what you look for in a school. One doesn’t leave a school, one leaves a leader. Be prepared to move or travel for the right school leader.

    Last, hold firm. With the right support and leadership you will be teaching without an issue. Don’t grade your teaching - that is part of the problem. Good luck and don’t leave the profession.
    MissGeorgi likes this.

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