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Postponing NQT year

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Shanhopzx, May 9, 2016.

  1. Shanhopzx

    Shanhopzx New commenter

    I'm due to graduate in July and am very worried about my next steps.
    Initially, I was going to go straight into teaching, however this past year I have had a lot of deaths and serious illnesses in the family and this had a negative effect on my final placement. This then resulted in poor references, and the schools I seemed to shine in will not give me a reference due to it being so long ago or for a short amount of time.

    I have now decided that I want to postpone my NQT year, only for one year.
    I have applied to be a TA/LSA etc instead, so I am still in the teaching environment and this enables me to develop my own knowledge, understanding and experiences.

    I don't know where to start so I'll try and keep it prompt.
    - I don't feel ready to go into a full time teaching job. - family issues, personal health and I think confidence issues due to all the rejections have made me feel that I should probably not put myself into a full time teaching job this September.
    - NQT year - Due to issues raised above, I don't feel as though I should go into an NQT year when I know it doesn't feel right, just to fail it and never be able to teach again.
    - References - As above, my main reference is quite poor: my last school placement was very difficult and resulted in a negative reference which has been the reason I have not yet got a job (around three schools told me this - one offered the job then withdrew due to the reference). I have been to around ten interviews and have had the same positive feedback each time, with the only negatives being occasional nerves and comments on enhancing differentiation. I feel that having a year out of teaching will enable me to prove myself to other schools and gain a more positive reference for when I do apply for my NQT post.

    However, so many posts on here advise against taking a year out and I am really at a dead end.
    I genuinely feel it will be irresponsible of me to put myself in charge of a class when my confidence is minimal. It will affect not only myself and my NQT year but the education of thirty children.

    • What other options are there?
    • What other routes can I take?
    • Has anyone done this or similar before?
    Thank you for reading, apologies for the length!
    S x
     
  2. ultimatedingbat

    ultimatedingbat Established commenter

    Go on supply for a bit :) I got a term out before I got my FT teaching job
     
  3. MonsieurMadeleine

    MonsieurMadeleine New commenter

    Hi Shanhopzx,

    Sorry to hear about your current circumstances. I'm currently undertaking my NQT year, having finished teacher training last summer. My situation is slightly different (I trained in secondary and now work in primary), but there are still some striking similarities between your position now and the position I was in this time last year, which I'll list in a moment.

    Apologies, also, for the length of this reply! I didn't mean to write a "blog" of my experiences but hopefully you might get some ideas from the path I ended up taking.
    • I had also been rejected from a number of schools - I believe my total number of interviews was 5!
    • I had a poor relationship with my second placement school (but thankfully, in my case, the university wrote references for student teachers -is this something you might be able to investigate?)
    • I had made up my mind that I wasn't ready to go into teaching for the same reasons as you: my confidence had been shaken and my placement mentor's feedback had gone, quite suddenly, from 'good' to 'inadequate'
    So around May 2015, I decided to stop applying for teaching jobs and told my mentor that I would instead wait until graduation before pursuing opportunities as an LSA, to which she responded very enthusiastically. (Looking back, she really wasn't a very supportive mentor!)

    After finishing my training, I moved back in with my parents and was unemployed from July to October. I looked into cover work in secondary, but always found ways of putting off actually attending interviews for cover jobs - like I said, my confidence was at an all-time-low and I thought cover work would just worsen the situation. Around late October, I received an offer from a desperate local primary headteacher, who knew my mum and knew of my QTS, who needed somebody to cover a Year 6 class the following day. After a bit of persuasion, I decided to try out the day's cover and ended up really enjoying working with primary aged children.

    I spent the rest of 2015 volunteering at the school on a daily basis, mostly just performing LSA work with occasional opportunities to lead the class, or small focus groups within the class. When a part-time maternity cover post became available in December, I applied for the job and got it, and that's where I currently stand. It's a part-time role, so the first couple of months were much easier than they typically are for an NQT, but that does have the implication of somewhat lengthening the NQT year - it's a two-term maternity contract, but due to the part-time nature of the job, those two terms combined only count for one term of my NQT year.

    My story has a happy ending, too - I ended up applying for the next available full-time teaching role the school advertised, and I got that job too! So from September, I'll be entering the classroom with a fresh class that's entirely mine, and I can't begin to describe how much more confident I feel about that compared with how I'd have felt if I'd started my NQT year last September.

    This might all seem very tangential and unrelated to your questions, but I suppose the overarching point of what I'm saying is that there are options that don't involve you spending an entire year not utilising the QTS qualification you've worked so hard to achieve this year. Don't feel pressured to enter the classroom this September if you don't feel ready, but also don't resign yourself to working in a non-teaching capacity straight away. If I had to summarise my points, I'd say this:
    • Consider approaching your university tutor for a reference instead of your placement schools;
    • Don't feel like you've failed if you aren't teaching, or even working, in September;
    • Look into opportunities for part-time teaching roles;
    • Consider volunteering in schools where you have any connections (maybe that first placement you mentioned where you got on well?)
    • It's worth looking into LSA jobs, but from my experience, that work can be very unfulfilling unless you're really passionate about working one-on-one with pupils who have barriers to learning. Don't get an LSA job just because you want to fill a gap on your CV!
    If you have any more questions about any of this, let me know. And apologies, once again, for the unsolicited very long response!
     
  4. sulkydame

    sulkydame New commenter

    Hi
    It's not uncommon to take a year out - I know several teachers who deferred their NQT year. You are right to put it off in this way; like you say, if you fail this NQT year, you won't teach - ever. The latest teacher I know left his NQT year after 2 terms for personal/emotional reasons. He then took some time out (about 6 months) then got a HLTA job for 2 terms and then found a school that really suited him and finished off his NQT year there. Don't think deferring will mean the end because it won't - if you don't want it to. My advice is; take the time out, wait until you are ready and your circumstances allow you the time. It's a tough job, rewarding and wonderful too, but you have to really, really want to do it. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
     
  5. MonsieurMadeleine

    MonsieurMadeleine New commenter

    I'm not trying to contradict what you've said above, but it's worth noting that it's very uncommon for an NQT to outright fail their NQT year in the first instance. Check out this article here on TES - particularly these bits:
    I know that at my school, one NQT whose performance was considered inadequate at the end of the last academic year was granted an extension of a term and had successfully completed her NQT year by the beginning of this spring term. I'm not trying to pressure the OP into pursuing teaching if his/her heart really isn't in it right now, but worrying about failing the NQT year based on how you feel before you've even become an NQT seems a bit paranoid to me.
     
  6. lookatthestars1

    lookatthestars1 New commenter

    Hello,

    For your reference - DEFINITELY use a course leader rather than that school!

    In terms of failing your NQT year - if you are struggling during your NQT year you can contact your NQT council person (I can't think of what they are called but your union would be able to put you in contact with the right person). If it is looking as though you will fail, this person can arrange for you to be removed from the school early (so that you can repeat the term somewhere else at a later date with no black mark against you).

    This being said, I think you know what is best for you, and if you really do feel like your confidence will be improved by taking a different route then do that :)
     

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