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NQT who can't do anything right

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by blueskydreaming, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Six weeks into my NQT year, and I feel like every single thing I do (or don't do) is criticised by my HoD and mentor - and the worst part of this is the hypocrisy, as from what I've seen and heard much more experienced members of staff are doing these same things but are not criticised for them. I'm struggling, but no support is offered, I'm not shown how to do things, and any advice is either conflicting or too generic. The only words of praise I've received are from two colleagues who are nothing to do with my induction, so are unlikely to have passed this on formally. I've had one mentor meeting in six weeks. They expect perfection, but they don't tell me what their idea of perfection is, so how can I achieve it. At a risk of sounding paranoid, I feel like they've got it in for me.
  2. natalie1820

    natalie1820 New commenter

    So sorry youre having a rough time. Is there someone who teaches the same subject/year as you who could help with planning and execution. Or could you ask HoD if there's someone that you could observe xx
  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    It's not planning and execution I'm being criticised for - it's everything else. E.g. Someone advised me to pass something on about something that happened, I did, then it somehow came back on me. I basically cannot say or do anything without being in the wrong.
  4. nooby182

    nooby182 New commenter

    Sounds like they are very picky. I have learnt to leave a paper trail where possible to avoid issues but there are often situations where you can't do this when you work with children. Some people will never be happy, try and get through the year and if it continues move on to a school where they appreciate how fantastic you are! Xx
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Don't worry about getting praise at the moment if it is not forthcoming from your superiors. What your goal is at the moment is to get your ticket. Later, when you finish your NQT year, you can find a school who will appreciate you.

    No one has it out for you: the culture in schools are like what you describe. People are busy and they sometimes forget what it is like being a trainee teacher and it is unfortunate that some SLT should not be in positions of authority since they really do not know how to motivate and train people., despite going through years of education and studying how to encourage people to learn. It is very ironic.

    Find out what you are legally entitled to in terms of mentor meetings and get more if you are entitled to them. Ask your union or the body that oversees NQTs.

    As far as honing up on your teaching skills: write down every area you are struggling with and be as specific as you can. When you see your mentor go through each item. Personally, I find observation and reading good books on subjects helpful. See if you can organise some observations of some outstanding teachers in your school. It is natural to be struggling; after all, you are just starting out. Follow the school's policy on things. For things like marking, ask your HoD. For behaviour issues, I can recommend Paul Dix's book Taking Care of Behaviour. You can of course post on here and in other forums. There are so many experienced teachers that would probably be willing to help.

    Keep going....the conditions for you are never going to be perfect. It is better now that you learn to have a thick skin and to ignore the people who may appear to be unpleasant and you have to learn to find your own way in some things. After all, that is part of learning isn't it? A lot of it will be trial and error: you try one thing. Does it work? No. Try something else. The reality is that it takes about five years to become an expert in teaching. Keep a journal about what works and what doesn't work. Even this experience you are now in will teach you something: not to give up and find a way around your dilemma.

    Be as pleasant as you possibly can. Go in on Monday, smile, thank everyone, be enthusiastic.

    Most importantly, take some time off today or tomorrow and do something totally unrelated to teaching.

    Let us know how you get on.

  6. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    Sounds like your school aren't meeting the statutory min for NQT support. We meet with our NQTs more regularly than that. Your LA will have somebody in charge of induction - try speaking to them if you get nowhere in school.
    Alternatively, schools are busy and everyone runs around frantically. Some schools will forget that you're only just out of training, like P plates when you're through your driving test.

    As for experienced staff doing things that you're pulled up for, there's sometimes merit in that. I'd not accept my trainees/NQTs sitting marking at their desk unless the class was doing an exam/assessment in high control settings. I know that I mark at my desk for 20 minutes if my class are getting on as do other experienced colleagues, but that's because after a few years we're more established and know what we're looking for a bit more in terms of behaviour management/when to intervene etc.

    You may be surprised. If people are nice enough to give sincere praise, they're probably also (in my experience) likely to pass on good things. Word gets around - I've had people pass on good words to me. Whereas I tell my NQTs when something good is said your mentor/HOD might not be so forthcoming.
  7. HannahRobinson91

    HannahRobinson91 New commenter

    Do you have to complete your NQT year at the same school?
  8. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Thanks everyone, I appreciate the replies. I'll see how it goes this week, and try and get them to put some support in place with regards observations etc. I've tried to relax a bit this weekend, and feel a little more positive today.
  9. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    There should be a clear induction policy and process in the school- check
    If you have concerns then do contact the appropriate body to discuss as soon as possible.
    Targets for your induction should be clear and precise and focused on teaching
    Do not get caught up in the politics- never worth it
  10. zaetsi

    zaetsi New commenter

    I could have written the exact same post one year ago. My first school was a nightmare. I left at Christmas (they failed my first term) and did supply (all at the same school from Xmas till July). It gave me time to get used to teaching without the pressure of the NQT year. I'm now in a new post at my supply school with loads more experience under my belt, and lots more support in place. If you are in a big city and there is a shortage of teachers where you live, leave. You don't have to do your NQT year all at once. It's not worth sacrificing your peace of mind over, nor your health. You've just been unlucky in your choice of first school.
    SHen15 likes this.

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