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Quitting During NQT year?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by Rascarin, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Rascarin

    Rascarin New commenter

    Hi all, first post here so sorry if this question has been asked to death! But it's 3.50am and I'm not sleeping because I'm too busy crying and having panic attacks thinking about going back to work on Thursday. ;__;

    Long story short, I'm having a horrendous time of my NQT year. I failed my most recent observation, and have already been told I need to extend my NQT by a term because of days off sick which the school forced me to take (very long story). I pretty much don't feel capable of going back, the absence I had to take has ruined my confidence and the stress it put me under has given me some lasting mental health effects.

    I remember being told that if you fail induction it's game over for your teaching career, but I wanted to ask if anyone knew if I could quit at this stage, and come back in a few years when I'm feeling braver? Or is it a case of if I leave now that's the end of me teaching?

    I don't want my PGCE to have been a complete waste of time, but I really don't think I can struggle through the rest of the year!

    Apologies for long/rambly/whiny post, am at my wits end!
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Hi, I had a horrible NQT year last year. Right after the Christmas holiday I was told I hadn't made progress in term 1. I struggled on, but by Easter they told me I would fail the NQT year, so I quit. I actually found a new NQT job within about a month, starting in the September, and am now at a much more supportive school, although the experience at the first school really affected my confidence.

    So, to answer your question, it's possible to leave your NQT year and complete it elsewhere. If you feel that you need time between roles that's fair enough, just make sure you do something relevant to teaching, so you have something to put on future job applications.

    Right now, you should contact your union and the named person at the local authority, if you haven't already, to make them aware of the situation. Ask you union to negotiate an early release. Then go to your Dr and get signed off - if you're awake at 3am and having panic attacks then you shouldn't be at work.

    Take care of yourself and your health first.
    annarg, Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  3. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    One poor observation does not result in failing an induction.
    Extension of an induction for lost time- this has to be in excess of 30 days over the course of the period- is very different from an extension of an induction because it has been failed. One is during the course of the induction period the other post completion and assessment of not meeting standards.
    I can't understand the comment about being forced to take sick leave the judgement about whether you are fit for work is a medical one made by your doctor. The school can also refer you to Occupational Health if there are on going issues.
    Take blue sky's advice and talk with your union
    Lara mfl 05, pepper5 and sabrinakat like this.
  4. MysteryNQT

    MysteryNQT New commenter


    I don't have advice but just wanted to say I'm sorry to hear you're having such a tough time. I'm also struggling through a NQT year with panic attacks etc. and it really is incredibly difficult.
    I think you're absolutely right to put your health first. You might find that some of the stress lifts when you know there's an end date for it because you're leaving.

    Look after yourself.
    annarg likes this.
  5. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Dear Rascarin,
    I do not usually post much on this forum. Normally you will find me on the "Teaching Overseas" forum. I have had a lot of posts from young teachers in the UK and many of them have said the same thing: how difficult, stressful and demoralizing it is to be a teacher in Britain. At the moment I am sitting on the MTR in Shenzhen, just outside Hong Kong, but I wanted to tell you that teaching in an international school is often much, much better. What you are going through should not be the norm in any school or in any country.
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I agree with the hippo: there are far too many NQTs posting about how they are struggling with panic attacks and other mental health issues that bring them to the point of having to seek medical advice.
  7. pathaniakaran00

    pathaniakaran00 New commenter

    I started the PGCE course in September. Failed my first placement due to behaviour management and subject knowledge. I took everything on board by my mentor and applied it to practise. It still was not good enough. The mentor expected me to know the curriculum inside out. I find unrealistic as other colleagues on the course do not know the curriculum inside out themselves.

    I took the option of deferring and start the course in September.

    I did feel devastated being told I failed. and let down by my mentor. I felt whatever I did she was not happy with. However now thinking of getting work as a TA and will see if I feel like going back in September and start again.

    Has anyone else been in this situation?

    I appreciate useful advice.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. Billie73

    Billie73 Occasional commenter

    Sort out your mental health now before it gets any worse.

    This is only A JOB and you should not be feeling this way. Nobody will die if you aren't perfect in your *very first year* and inexperience doesn't make you a failure.

    Once you're feeling better, you may feel that you're ready to face the challenge again and go back with a fresh outlook.

    Alternatively, you might feel that your happiness is dependent on you not being in the job and leave. You could look to teach somewhere else or you could change profession.

    I left without trying a different school. I know, hand on heart, that if I go back to work in a school I am too damaged by my experience to enjoy it and thrive. Other people have found that a change of scenery has really helped.

    I'm NOT telling you to leave teaching, but I do want to make it clear to you that leaving teaching does not make you a failure and is not a waste of your PGCE.

    In the year since leaving I have worked hard to establish myself as a tutor and found a full time job. I now earn more than I did as a teacher and, even though I work long hours, I still don't work anywhere near as much as I did as a teacher. I also get regular positive feedback (positive feedback in teaching always seems to be followed by 'but' - 'your lesson was perfect and I can't think of a single thing you could do to improve it but...')

    It's been tough but it is possible.

    You are not in the army taking bullets in the desert. It's not right to feel this way.
  9. pathaniakaran00

    pathaniakaran00 New commenter

    Hi Billie73 Thanks. Its the pressure of not doing the PGCE seems world comes to a stop. I am feeling down looking for jobs. It has been three days. I want to work as a TA and get a weekend job. So I can decide whether I want to stay in work or go back in September and do my course.

    The pressure of family and some friends suggesting to go back to the PGCE course after working 6 months in a school.

    I do agree with leaving teaching does not make a person a failure. Life is too short to do what you do not enjoy.

    A job I understand you do not always enjoy however majoirty of the time you should enjoy your job. I did not enjoy being on the PGCE course and my mentor I felt did not help me to progress on placement.

    I am currently volunteering for few days in a different school I found and find the teachers helpful and the school is lovely. However I do feel because being a volunteer its more relaxed working in the school. I am doing this to gain more classroom experience until I find a TA job.

    Billie73 may I ask what full time job are you doing?
  10. Billie73

    Billie73 Occasional commenter

    I'm a buyer for a retail company.

    In all honesty, in whatever job you do you will start at the bottom of the ladder and work your way up. The wage was shocking, and still isn't great, but I make a lot of money through tutoring (almost half of my wage again). Luckily I got a pay rise last week (after 9 months!) but it's been a tight year. When I look back to this time twelve months ago, I'm really pleased with the choices I've made and wouldn't change anything. I am so much happier out of teaching, although weirdly I do miss it, which is probably why I still come on here!

    Good for you for volunteering. At least you will know you tried your best if you decide not to continue in education.
    pathaniakaran00 likes this.
  11. Suewan

    Suewan New commenter

    I think that is how I feel. I worked in schools as a TA for five years before I trained as a teacher, I loved that job but I was always struggling to make ends meet. I was encouraged to be a teacher but I was so miserable and damaged by it. I'm applying for lots of different types of jobs. I feel sad about teaching but in my heart, I know I would be unhappy, overworked and stressed if I was back in that environment.
    Lara mfl 05 and pathaniakaran00 like this.
  12. pathaniakaran00

    pathaniakaran00 New commenter

    Hi Billie 73 how do you create a new post and PM someone?
    As I would like to PM you please.

    Suewan I felt the same when I started teacher training. Decided to have a suspension after 3 months training.

    I have to decide if I want to go back in September. I have pressure of parents saying to do it. You was not fully passionate about it at the start. This is true about the passion part as I was having doubts not to do the course before I started. However felt to go ahead and do it. I gave my all when I did the course. So I know for sure if teaching is for me. I think your mentor can make or break your placement.

    Suewan what jobs you applying for? Are you currently a TA? I am looking for TA work, how do you get TA work?

    I am volunteering in school to get back my passion working with children and not told unrealistic expectations to meet about teacher standards.
    Glendstar likes this.
  13. Billie73

    Billie73 Occasional commenter

    I've sent you a message. Click on your icon on the top right of the page and you'll have a notification for a new conversation.
    pathaniakaran00 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Is there ANYONE, ANYWHERE on the TES who has ever written, "Actually, my PGCE year was quite easy and stress-free"?

    A friend of mine recently returned to the UK, after several years of teaching overseas. He was horrified and appalled by the poor behaviour, disruptions and bad attitude of the students. The SLT members were useless and some of them had created more instability by resigning. A looming OFSTED was also making the sitaution worse, of course!
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. Billie73

    Billie73 Occasional commenter

    My husband's PGCE year was a breeze. Outstanding the whole way through. Both of his placement schools offered him jobs.

    He's an electrician now.
  16. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    One of the girls on my PGCE spent the whole course 'dating' various men; that was her main 'target for improvement' for the year I think. She had dates midweek, then spent the weekend partying with friends. The only stress she felt was when relationships fizzled out. There I was, in my car 10 hours a week getting to placement, god knows how many hours spent doing everything required, in a horrid school for my second placement. By the end of the course it transpired she hadn't done a single piece of paperwork, so was given extra time to do it, but she still passed and got a job. My memories of the year are of aching feet and total utter exhaustion - I think hers are rather different!
  17. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    An aching back and total exhaustion? :rolleyes:
  18. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I have come to realise that passing or failing PGCE or NQT is not in any way related to the ability or quality of the new teacher, there are some providers that never fail anyone, ever, under any circumstances. I've recently seen a student passed by a school for PGCE without ever successfully teaching a lesson. She was so bad, that she was only allowed to observe, but still passed. I've seen weak candidates, but still 100x stronger than her fail in another institution. I've also recently seen an NQT passed without ever teaching a full class.

    The whole system is a joke.

    As a TA I see a whole range of teachers, the difference between those classed as weak or strong is often tiny and often up side down. Some teachers are very god at presenting themselves well, to the detriment of their teaching. Some teachers are working with much harder classes, or much harder conditions than the teacher next door.

    We need less assessment and scrutiny, and more team work and support
  19. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    and weirdly, it has only just become apparent to me how much of an advantage a male voice is.
    pepper5 and pathaniakaran00 like this.
  20. pathaniakaran00

    pathaniakaran00 New commenter

    That is the thing. Some people seem to get it easier and others like myself get screwed over by placement. I did have a tough class however did not let it stop me. I gave my all and children were progressing and behaving. Low level disruptions was reminders given to me. I have seen classes and some low level disruptions are present with children. That is normal.

    I really need to see whether I want to go back in September and start again. I feel so lost whether to work or get some agency work and go back in September.
    pepper5 likes this.

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