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NQT teaching three subjects, struggling.

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by Zirgar, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. Zirgar

    Zirgar New commenter

    Where to begin.

    First of all, I apologise for not making prior introductions on a different area of the forum.

    I teach three subjects. Computer Science, History and PSHE. I was recruited to the school as a History teacher, because my degree was in a history based subject, and I felt far more comfortable as History teacher. The school placed me, about ten weeks before term, as a Computer Science teacher. I trained in Computer Science (ICT, with the title of Computer Science - the school I trained in didn't teach Computer Science). For those of you who teach Computer Science, you can appreciate how far removed, and to what extent it is such a different beast to ICT. I now teach a GCSE group, and I am completely broken.

    I am now struggling on two levels - subject knowledge in Computer Science, and making good progress in History. During my first observation I was criticised for making use of mini-plenaries. In my recent observations I have been seen to not make much progress in my lessons, and told I should use progress checkers (or mini-plenaries) to show progress. I was observed by the head of the NQT network and my mentor, and despite spending thirteen hours - or more - planning the lesson, it was deemed to not have made enough progress or to have linked to my learning objectives - I appreciate these two things are rather cornerstone issues of teaching. However, I was told my lesson was well planned, and I had attained quite a lot of positive feedback for all areas of the teaching standards, except TS2, yet I was still deemed to have not achieved the teaching standards in the lesson. I've been told by many different observers that I have an excellent rapport with my students, with a few of them telling me I've had one of the better relationships they have seen over the years.

    My mentor has set me tasks such as planning a scheme of work to improve my subject knowledge, as well as extra programming tasks, and even going to a university on a Sunday to improve my programming knowledge. I have no issue with this, sometimes I even enjoy it. There is just one problem, I've forgotten how to plan. I am physically, at least for the time being, unable to plan lessons. I've sat for around two hours today, trying to figure out how to teach again. It's no use having excellent, positive relationships if you can't create fulfilling and linked-lessons with good learning objectives. I was told during training that I had good with outstanding features, I graduated with QTS at a good standard - I do not understand why this is happening.

    The main issue I am struggling with is creating lessons with linked learning objectives and activities. If I want to use mini-plenaries to show progress after teach task, how can I use them if children are at different stages in the lesson? In my training I was told to move students on, even if they did not finish a task, to keep pace. In my current school, I am told to keep children at the task they are working on, even if they haven't finished. This then means if I issue a mini-plenary for a certain task, some students cannot take part as they might be on the previous task, thereby making it ineffective. Forgive me, I may be over-complicating things, but I am looking for some clarity.

    If any of you can offer me any help, advice, etc, please, help me. I am at the end of my wits. I read books on teaching to try and improve my practice, I observe colleagues - what I am saying is, I put the time in, and I am yielding zero results.

    I am not willing to resign as I want to finish the year, no matter what. I just need to get through this; nothing has stopped me yet. I want to teach more than anything.

    Thank you for your time, and I am sorry for the long-winded post.

  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I don't know anything about your subject, so I'll give you an example from mine...

    Your lesson objective is something all the students should be able to do/have learned by the end of your lesson. Google 'Bloom's taxonomy' images, and use wording from that - pick verbs from the bottom of the chart for lower sets.

    I'm an English teacher. If I was doing a lesson on metaphors, I might set 1 lesson objective: To identify metaphors in a text.

    I might then set 3 learning outcomes for the lesson: all will be able to find a metaphor in a text; most will be able to write their own metaphor; some will be able to explain the effects of a metaphor on the reader.

    Design 3 tasks for the lesson, relating to these outcomes. All students should have at least completed the first task by the end of the lesson, even if they are (stupidly!) meant to keep going on a task until it's complete, instead of moving along together.

    If it's possible, divide the class into 3 categories based on ability: I use bananas, apples and oranges in one class. If you're doing a mini plenary at the end of the first task, you can ask anyone for feedback (they've all done/partly done it); next task ask an apple (as bananas might still be doing the first task); next task ask an orange (as bananas and apples might not have got to that task yet).

    If you can't put them in ability groups like this, simply pause the class after you think enough time has been spent on task 1, and ask for hands up from whoever has completed the task. Those who have not completed the task can listen, those who have can share answers.

    OR in mini plenary 2 you could ask for feedback from the students who are still doing task 1 AND those who have done task 2; for those who completed task 1 in the initial time frame it's a recap. Same when you get to mini plenary 3: feedback from tasks 1 and 2 as well.

    That's all I can think of. How do other teachers at your school deal with mini plenaries and people doing different tasks?
    sabrinakat and cb324 like this.
  3. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    I've been like this whilst teaching something I wasn't trained to do nor had the required skills. It is a sign of anxiety and depression. You should go and see a doctor.

    If your subject knowledge of computer science isn't sufficient, use videos from YouTube. If you can't find any, there will be a commercial solution somewhere. Try to get the school to pay, they've put you in this position.
  4. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    Why not buy in some Computer Science resources? Are you a member of CAS - Computing At Schools? If not, join. Lots of resources/forums/hubs/training/expert advice on there.
    sabrinakat likes this.

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