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NQT - too soon to change?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by rgrayTT, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. rgrayTT

    rgrayTT New commenter

    I am an NQT about to return for my second term having not done great in my first.
    For context: the last month of the Autumn term was a bit bumpy for me. I went from feeling moderately comfortable (for an NQT!), to feeling like I could never do this job, to getting amazing and heavy support which made the last two weeks much better. However, during these improving final weeks, I was told that due to my school's intake shrinking, I might be out of a job soon for next academic year. They were lovely about it, so no bad feelings at all.
    The school is a high attaining academy in an affluent area with high standards and an amazing English (my subject) department in terms of knowledge, teaching practice and support for trainees and up.
    I was let down a bit with my PGCE course, I feel, and had some medical issues which didn't make the last term of that easy. So whilst I did get my PGCE (just), I was massively under-prepared for this year, particularly in such an amazing school.
    My question (finally!) is: should I consider an MA next year/for the next two years part time and work (tutoring/supply) if I am getting the gentle boot in summer? Or is it too early?
    I am in two minds about this. I know NQT years are tough for everyone, and I will definitely stick it out unless something awful happens before July. However, I don't want to be in a career where I feel like I am playing catch-up for years on end before finally being at the same level as some people are in their first/second year. I have been reassured that many people have similar experiences when they start out, and I knew this would be a challenge: but I value my mental health and don't want to become stressed and anxious for something that just doesn't fit me.
    I also did BA Hons English and Creative Writing at uni: and I am definitely tempted by a CW MA, as CW comes to me quite naturally and I'd like the chance to explore and develop my skills in the hope that I can teach it or even become published. I also love theatre and the MA I have seen does a module on script writing too. Dialogue and description being my strengths, that could be ideal and lead to an amazing career elsewhere.
    Apologies for the huge post! Thank you if you have read it all!
  2. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    If your current school is ‘amazing’ then you should stay there as long as you can and apply for other positions when/if it becomes certain that you actually need to. Are you on a permanent or fixed-term contract? If permanent, they can’t just fire you because their income is deceasing, they would have to follow whichever process was relevant. You never know, if you turn out to be good, they may want to keep you and offer redundancy to other (maybe less good but more expensive) colleagues.

    Re the MA, it depends solely on what you want to do with your life, if you want to be a teacher then it would be a waste of time and money, if you’d rather attempt a career as a writer and have no requirements around financial security, then do it!
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    These two things don't make any sense together. If your school is a high attaining academy it is highly unlikely the intake will reduce...more likely the opposite. Not sure how official the person telling you this was, but it seems highly unlikely.
    However, there are a million and one other schools out there who will snap up a fab English teacher, so you won't struggle for work.
    In what way playing catch up? Most teachers don't have an MA and many more only have them because it was part and parcel of their training. It makes absolutely no difference to their teaching.
    Pomza likes this.
  4. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    This isn’t necessarily true @caterpillartobutterfly, because of the (lagged) decline in birth rate, many successful schools are below PAN in terms of EYFS admissions. This can be particularly difficult for more rural/isolated schools where they are not really competing against other local schools, more serving a particular geographically contained community...

    edit - obviously you are right that a good reputation can help to mitigate this problem though, as it might encourage some parents to travel further to get their children in a good school...
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    True...but they tend not to be affluent areas.
  6. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Definitely get your NQT parked. And then, for sure, do the MA. No one will begrudge you doing an MA. But get your nqt passed and signed off first.
    Piranha and rgrayTT like this.
  7. rgrayTT

    rgrayTT New commenter

    Thank you for the responses.
    To clarify: the intake is shrinking as the school took on some students in previous years who would normally go to a neighbouring school which needed work, and that school is now back on its feet. It's not a comment on my school, which is as I say, is high attaining.
    Catch-up referring to some gaps left after my training year with some timetabling issues that lead to be essentially feeling like I was starting again at the start of my second out of three placements.
    I will definitely complete this year first, but I do appreciate the support of an MA!
  8. rgrayTT

    rgrayTT New commenter

    I'm on a fixed-term contract, so nothing dodgy going on, just unfortunate.
    I'm questioning wanting to teach a bit, so thinking it might help to take the time out to explore something else whilst doing some teaching (tutoring/supply) to really think about it whilst keeping other options open and doing something I know I will enjoy.

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