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NQT quits after a term - harm to his "emotional and psychological well-being"

Discussion in 'Education news' started by asnac, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Not much of a story IMO. We all know that going from uni into the first formal working role is difficult. We all know that the NQT year is the hardest and most exhausting of your career for reasons which should be glaringly obvious to any experienced teacher.

    Being ready to quit after 3 weeks and doing so, citing harm to psychological and emotional well-being, after just 7 weeks is rather sensationalist and should raise questions over the recruit's resilience, readiness for the workplace and persistence.

    None of which means I'd recommend teaching in the state sector to a friend - I wouldn't - but we shouldn't forget that there are new teachers out there who enjoy what they are doing and continue to do it for years. Now more than ever, it's really not for everyone. It is more of a concern that we aren't able to screen our new trainees well enough for suitability.
  2. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    There's no one to screen. In some subjects/areas they are so desperate that there is little screening going on. That should be a huge wake-up call but sadly isn't. It is no longer a viable or attractive profession for young graduates.

    Not for me: but then I didn't enter teaching until I was 30. I didn't have any issues moving from uni to the world of work at 21-22 because I already had been working in a mix of part and full time jobs since the age of 14. Full time 9-5 work was great as I actually had more time for me (rather than combining work and study). There is a difference between working hard and running yourself into the ground. The demands of teaching are becoming/have become insane. As others have said, these sort of arguments about this recruit's resilience (or lack thereof) seek to normalise a terrible situation. There are plenty of horror stories on here to testify that this model of working is unsustainable; but we don't even have to go by the anecdotal evidence on here: is is widely known and reported that we are in a huge recruitment and retention crisis (yes, the DfE seem unable to acknowledge this - but everyone else does, including the cross-parliamentary committee convened for this very purpose). At what point do we have to match the job to the 'resilience' levels of the trainees rather than vice-versa? Being an NQT in secondary English (in an inner city comp) was hard enough over ten years ago - I can't even imagine doing it now as so many things have been added on that long list to do and nothing taken away...

    The problem is that they aren't 'doing it for years'. Years ago; yes they were/are (like me!). Now, a newbie is statistically not likely to even make it to five years.
    blueskydreaming, eljefeb90 and drvs like this.
  3. teselectronic

    teselectronic New commenter

    We need to support NQTs in their initial year a 'lot better'! They need to be introduced at a steady rate and not at an exponential rate. We all know the first year is quite difficult and anyone who does not agree, would not be telling the truth.

    Why are they asking NQTs to stay that late?
    May I suggest, quite unnecessary! We should once again, be supporting them, not demoralising them.
    The Management, the Teachers, the University and Union need to get their act together quickly.
    With reference to the media, they need to experience School Teaching, before making any comment
    Let the NQTs read my journey and experience before deciding to quit.

    After a successful period in Industry as an Engineer; and was offered Directorship in a company, I decided to give something back and pursue a Teaching career

    I worked in F.E. for 10 years teaching Maths, Science and Engineering up to level 4 and had additional responsibilities, Course - Coordinator and Consultant to Industry.

    I then went into Secondary Education when there was a staffing crisis to hopefully help out!
    On entrance to Secondary Education I was very confident, I had taught level (iii) Maths and Engineering Science to Electrical Engineers, and would often set them three calculus questions at 19:20, when the class finished at 19:30 and quote, "complete for homework if not finished", I had already got their respect, so no problem, even though the task was impossible to complete in ten minutes.

    I actually found my first year in Teaching quite difficult to say the least!
    I was subjected on a regular basis to the Tajfel Social Identity Theory, however, I knew what I was capable of achieving, therefore I endeavoured to complete, with the full backing of the Head Teacher and the University representative.

    I ended up as HOF in an 11 - 19 Secondary School and was again quite successful, achieved a percentage increase in A*/C GCSE results of 81% in eighteen months.

    I was offered consultancy work but decided to concentrate on Fly - Fishing.

    Hope this helps.
  4. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    Do you mean that you felt left out and isolated?
  5. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    Thank you.
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  6. drek

    drek Lead commenter

    Screen our trainees for suitability.......? Heh heh heh heh

    There’s a shortage.....everywhere in public services.......seems the pyramid scheme management models adopted by our services is failing everyone........

    This is more akin to enlisting the nation’s young and starry eyed, sending them straight into the trenches.......with motivational speeches and false promises for a brighter better future......then leaving them to fight guns with swords instead......
  7. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Swords?! More like those plastic knives you find in pound shops!
    shortbott, drek and JohnJCazorla like this.
  8. teselectronic

    teselectronic New commenter

    In answer to your question galerider, yes, however, with respect to the Tajfel Social Identity Theory, my interpretation is such that: people denigrate other people to elevate their status. I would suggest there is far too much of this going on in Schools, Colleges and in the workplace in general.
    To conclude, make sure our NQTs are given appropriate training and 'support'.
    thatmaninthehat and JohnJCazorla like this.
  9. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    The poor guy was feeling he was working all hours, and only being grumbled at. All new teachers need encouragement as well as correctional feedback.
    drek and elder_cat like this.
  10. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    Yes they do. But to be fair and unbiased, I know from my own experience that when you are feeling stressed out, and out of your depth, it is all too easy to take what was actually intended as a constructive criticism as simply criticism. With hindsight, I do wonder whether I might have OCD to some degree or other, which only serves to compound the feelings of inadequacy, brought about by a belief you are not doing the job as well as you should, or could. The criticism he refers to, may have been taken by someone else as simply water off a duck's back. The more disturbing aspect is the suggestion that "if I did something right, it usually went unnoticed". Your successes, however trivial and mundane they may appear to someone who has been doing the job longer, should be highlighted. You motivate people using positives rather than negatives.
    Janettap and phlogiston like this.
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    He seems to be ok now though (today's story)... and it was last Christmas he left.
    peter12171 likes this.
  12. peter12171

    peter12171 Lead commenter

    A very good summing up of the situation. It is very difficult, and it can be made moreso if the school-teacher fit isn't right. As you say though, leavig so soon and so publicly is rather sensationalist.

    The sensational nature of his leaving, allied to this update, suggests to me that the pejorative term 'snowflake' is not entirely out of place here. We do seem to be raising a generation that expects things to be laid on a plate for them and not to have to put in any hard graft for it (that is not to say that the workload a teacher has is not excessive - it can be, and often is).
  13. Flyingcarpet

    Flyingcarpet New commenter

    I have not read the article.
    However, I do think that going straight from full time education into teaching is difficult as learning to be a teacher does work best if the trainee has had some significant life experience first .
    Having been a teacher for many years, including on SLT, the best teachersI have worked with and recruited have been those who came into teaching later in life , having either worked in other jobs, been full time parents, returned to education after a period of not having been in education , or worked in school in different jobs ( eg as support staff); they all know what the real world is like, understand that teaching is not by any means one in which a 9 to 5mentality will ever apply and they understand that the longer holidays are necessary to really unwind and switch off.
    There are so many committed and good teachers around; they need to be recognised more by the media and teaching needs to be really recognised by the government as a profession with salaries that reflect that .
    shortbott, sabrinakat, ct186 and 2 others like this.
  14. AngelEd22

    AngelEd22 New commenter

    My first lesson plan was over 8 sides of A4!!!!!!!!! I had no clue how to write one. Luckily now my lesson plans are 1 side of A4.
  15. AngelEd22

    AngelEd22 New commenter

    I used to get up at 5am during teacher training because I had a 1 hour commute to where my placement was. I used to work every morning from 6 30-8:30 doing planning and printing etc, it was so stress free because I didn't have to fight the other teachers to use the photocopier.
  16. AngelEd22

    AngelEd22 New commenter

    I used to do 12 hour shifts in a call centre and my brother does 12 hour shifts in a factory.
  17. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    I've done both these jobs before I became a teacher and I can say from experinece that a 12 hour shift in the tertiary sector is nowhere near as exhausting as 12 hours in teaching. An hour in the classroom (with a class of 30+ bouncy students) is a lot more draining than an hour in a call centre where you don't have to coax and manipulate thirty individuals into doing something they don't particularly want to do and it doesn't matter half as much if you're tired, ill or emotionally tender. I know that call centre and factory work can be (and mostly is) miserable and soul destroying; but in terms of the mental and physcial energy required cannot hold a candle to teaching. Of course, I am basing this on my experinece of teaching a core subject in secondary in inner-city comps.... everyone's experience is different, of course.
  18. Lalad

    Lalad Lead commenter

    There are plenty of much older and more experienced teachers who are ready to quit citing harm to emotional and psychological wellbeing. Are they all 'snowflakes'?

    What has happened to our profession when teachers working twelve hours a day plus are accused of wanting things handed to them on a plate, criticised for their lack of resilience and told they are unwilling to put in hard graft?

    No wonder so many teachers - young and old - are ready to quit: not so much snowflakes, more an avalanche.
  19. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    @englishtt06: I agree with you. Working a machine in a factory for 12 hours might be boring and soul-destroying but at least you do not have to put up with at dozen or more teenagers actively trying to prevent you doing your job.

    With teaching, it is not so much the actual job itself, standing in front of a class of 30+ students, though this is draining enough, it is all the bullsh1t that goes with it. When you have finished your five or six hours at the chalk face, or even beforehand, you have to spend the same amount of time doing pointless tasks that do help you do your job; indeed, they detract from it.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2017
    peter12171, Compassman and TCSC47 like this.
  20. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Lead commenter

    one third of NQTs are leaving within a year of teaching and it will not change until we either have a 60% illiterate and innumerate society or if more kids like Mr. Ledsham stick their heads above the parapet.

    Mr Ledsham is to be congratulated. And to be called a snowflake by the DM readers only proves the case of you have to be one to think you can recognise one!

    Idiot DM readers!
    Compassman likes this.

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