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NQT Struggling

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by mishelli1990, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Hi Guys,

    I am just emailing for a bit of advice really. I am an NQT who has recently started in my first school teaching Secondary history.
    The school is a tough school and people have said if I can complete my NQT here I can work anywhere, but I am already falling out of love with the system.

    I am feeling extremely overwhelmed and anxious, and I always have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach like I'm either going to cry or throw up.

    I am usually fine when I am teaching, but if someone asks if I'm okay or how I am I feel my eyes starting to fill up.

    Has anyone else ever felt this way or have any coping strategies for a struggling NQT?
    Any comments more than welcome, thank you :)
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    If that's your real name please change it to avoid identification.

    What's making you feel overwhelmed and anxious? Is it the workload? Are you struggling with behaviour management? Or is it the pace of the school day?

    How's your relationship with your mentor? If ok/good, can you have a chat with them and ask for support? They might be able to point you in the direction of some resources, or arrange for you to observe someone who could give you some tips? Or if there's someone in the department you're particularly fond of you could ask them to plan with you, or talk through how they do things?

    You also might like to think about seeing your doctor, if your anxiety is making you tearful or affecting other areas of your life. They could perhaps give some advice.
    mishelli1990, pepper5 and Flanks like this.
  3. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    It does get easier, but the start is always the hardest bit. Effectively after your pgce the stabilisers are yanked off your bike and you are shoved down a hill. If you make it to the bottom you have made it!

    The slope starts steep, and to be honest it can be like that for well in to your second year. However, towards the end of year two you find your feet and decide 'sod it, I'm doing it my way and they can like it'.

    I recommend trying to keep a social life going, I know its hard when you feel buried in paper! If there are any social activities in school, try to take part. For example, in my school there is a badminton competition which no one takes seriously and people are paired up randomly to play as a double etc. Getting to know your colleagues makes the burden easier to get used to, and if you are in a good school that burden becomes manageable.

    If your school isn't right, you will know in your second year! Then you can job hunt and on your interviews and tours you will know immediately when you have the right school.
  4. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    Talk to your mentor. Their job is to support you.
    mishelli1990 likes this.
  5. teselectronic

    teselectronic Occasional commenter

    Everyone has initial problems in their NQT year, so you are not the first to experience difficulties and, you will not be the last. Turn the negatives to the positives, i.e. you are fine when you start teaching, this is a good start.
    You will find that in time, it will get easier, you can be confident of that.
    I came into secondary education from F.E. teaching and was very confident, however, I still found the first couple of years quite difficult. The headteacher suggested that it took four years to become a good teacher!
    I think he was making reference to lesson planning, organisational skills, pedagogy and so forth.
    Try to focus on your objectives as this may help.
    Hope this helps and keep up the good work.
    mishelli1990 likes this.
  6. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    Have you posted on the NQT thread place?? Its a long long time since I started but I was fortunate that there was no such thing as NQT. I was qualified, I got on with it. No mentor either, but a whole department who supported each other as needed over a coffee and a pop out to the pub on Friday lunchtime!
    Try and sort what it is that is stressing you.
    Behaviour? Write down the names of the pupils in each class who are actually causing the problem, it will be far fewer than you feel when it is getting to you.
    Workload? Try to write in as many books as you can while working in the classroom. It's a very nice feeling when marking a pile of books to find a few already done by yourself.
    And I'd agree, it takes time, After about 3 years I felt confident that I could cope with almost all classes, in fact i then moved schools and found myself a vastly more effective teacher with no coaching or meetings to speak of, just experience and thinking about it on the drive home each night.

    AND make time to get away from it, no one can work 24/7 and thrive. Even a walk around the site or around the corner can help.
    mishelli1990 and sabrinakat like this.
  7. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    and 2 weeks down, 5 to a week to catch up and slow down, you'll be amazed how quickly you get into the school routine. Incidentally, you will probably be offered the chance to go and watch the school experts teach perfectly, you would probably be better to go and watch the other newbies!
    mishelli1990 likes this.
  8. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Thank you everyone for your replies. I have started a new week and just hoping week by week I feel better and can get over these feelings.

    I keep worrying that after wanting to teach for so long, that it isn't for me, but I am slowly coming to realise that after this NQT year, my health and well being is more important than staying in a career I'm unhappy in. I would rather at least say I have given it a go and make the decision after this year no matter how tough, than stay after this year if I am still feeling like this as I won't be my best self for the students which will let them down.

    Again, thanks guys, and any strategies or coping techniques are still appreciated. :)
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  9. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Hi, thank you for this, it has really helped. I am just worried that the school could let me go if I am already so overwhelmed that I need to go to the doctors?
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  10. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Thank you for your advice. I just honestly don't know if I could do a second year here. I constantly feel sick in the pit of my stomach going to work. I feel like I still want to work with young people, but just not in the current UK school system. :(
  11. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I completely understand.

    If you decide that teaching the UK schools is not for you, it's absolutely fine - life is all about discovery. You could go and teach abroad (which is what I did), work with young people in another capacity, or do something completely different - whatever you do you will have gained skills and experience that can be mentioned in job applications and interviews, and you will have learned more about yourself and your limits (see, you can put a positive spin on it, haha!).

    Your school will not 'let you go' simply for feeling overwhelmed - it's normal for an NQT to feel like this.

    If you are experiencing anxiety then do go and see your doctor. They see lots of teachers, so will not judge you!
  12. eamonne1

    eamonne1 New commenter

    get out while you still can. It is not going to get better anytime soon. "coping" strategies are just that. They are not a long-term fix. All the best.
    barca fc and mishelli1990 like this.
  13. mishelli1990

    mishelli1990 New commenter

    Thank you for your honesty, and if II had a job lined up come January, I think that I would. I think I just want to get through this year and then explore my options outside of the classroom when I will have handed in my notice in May.

    I do not want to feel like this long term so hopefully the strategies or ways to cope will only be necessary for the year
  14. foreverlearning3

    foreverlearning3 New commenter

    Hi there, I'm an NQT too (snap!), and I think experiences depend on the school you work at. I am beginning to struggle now as well, but I have people to support me. If you don't want to speak with your subject mentor, perhaps speak with your NQT induction mentor? Either way, they are there to support you, and I'm sure that they don't want to be losing anyone in this profession.

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