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Serious NQT issues, need advice asap!

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by cawood1979, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. I thought that working at a school that was striving to improve itself would be an exciting challenge but it has transpired into a nightmare and it looks like I might fail the year.

    The main issue is classroom management and a lack of support from my dept and the school. I seem to spend a large chunk of the lesson trying to settle them but it's usually ten to fifteen minutes into the lesson before they actually get their books out. When I gave some students detention for not working hard enough, they threatened to tell the headmistress that I never give them any work to do, which is nonsense. I have tried several tactics such as greeting them at the door to make sure they are reminded of the expectations, walking round the class room and not teaching from the front, not raising my voice, addressing of task behaviour individually, seating plans, intensively reviewing my lesson plans and there has been no improvement.
    I have received very little in the way of support from my head of department who is very nice but under tremendous pressure to turn around an ailing department. When I was appointed, I asked who would mentor me and she said that she would, adding 'god knows when I'll find the time!' In actual fact she hasn't found the time and since September we have had five half hour meetings. 2 1/2 hours has been the total of my mentoring time during the year.

    I have been given an insanely challenging class. They were partially responsible for a teacher's decision to leave the profession last year and are keen to remind me of this. Every teacher I have spoken to has said that they were traumatised by this class, including an advanced skills teacher who had sleepless nights over them. They will come in and get their lunch out, eat, chat, apply their make up, scream abuse at me if I ask them firmly to take their books out. My head of department tells me to give them detention, reports, phone calls home and meet with parents, all of which I have done to no avail. Meanwhile, I have had the parents of the quiet children complaining and we are still getting nowhere. Is it fair to say that giving an NQT a class with a history of severely disruptive behaviour is not in line with what they should be doing? I thought we had to be given classes that we had a reasonable chance of success with? She has removed one boy from the class and put him in hers now but only after he called me a f**ing cow and threatened to assault me. My Head of department is extremely popular with the kids so he feels like he has been rewarded.
    My HOD has now promised to arrange for me to observe lessons, shadow challenging students in lessons where they behave and have people observe me, but should this not have been done before instead of fobbing me off when I asked for help with 'just give them detention'?.She has never said anything positive about my performance and constantly criticises me yet she passed me on my first check with no serious concerns and claims that she is not thinking of failing me. I sympathise with her as I recognise the pressure she is under and the fact that she is not the person to help me as she is drowing herself.
    I am constantly in tears, both at school and at home and have become very depressed about it. I am strongly considering leaving the profession. She told me herself that if I can't manage the class it may perhaps be time for me to think if teaching is for me. If she believes that, shouldn't she be failing me on my NQT year? She also said that she had discussed with a senior teacher on what to do with my severely challenging class and said 'I've got to admit, I am at a loss at what to do. You have already received so much support.' I don't fully believe advising me to give detentions etc is support. When I asked her why I was given such a class she said that she felt I was developing a tendency to put blame on her department management for my errors. I'm not shifting the blame; clearly it is my lack of experience and not the departments that I can't handle the class. I told her I was considering finishing my NQT elsewhere and she said that she firmly believed I would have the same issues elsewhere. It's so demotivating. I am already dreading going back on Monday.
  2. Hi! I was so angry (not at you) when I read the post as it reminded me of how I was treated in my first job which I left after 3 months because I got into such a state in the end. The only good thing from my point of view is that I'm an FE teacher, so at least I didn't have to worry about an induction 'limit'. I really do sympathise with you!
  3. Ok, horrible position to find yourself in - but as you will realise over time - not so unusual. The main things are to start feeling you have control over something and start breathing. Don't buy into the blame that appears to be coming your way. Your assessment of your lack of experience is reasonable.
    Are you a member of a Union? IF not - first action today. As a trainee you could be a member of a few as the charges are low.
    Secondly, start getting a diary of what has happened. The more documentation the better. If you do not have documentation, start documenting e.g. sending memos.It would appear particularly pertinent that, as an NQT, you have been given a class that resulted in an a experienced teacher leaving. Not good. NQTs should not given such challenging classes.
    Thirdly, contact you County Council. There should be someone in charge of NQTs at the CC. Start having talks with them. Again documents are vital. The CC may look as though they are supporting the school. The have to look unreasonably balanced as they have to continue a relationship with the school far longer than you are likely to. However, they are also there to support the NQT. Try and be as balanced as you can - mainly because it will help your pride in the long term. It will also help with job applications.
    Finally, jobs are appearing now. Start applying. If need be take time off once you have a job to recuperate. My local CC has a supply and returners scheme with training as well. All good things to plug into if your CC does it.
    You will find a lot of support on TES. Use it. There is a lot of experience to plug into here and, from experience, it is a sanity saver.
    Very best of luck and take care.

  4. Hi
    I'm sorry this is so stressful for you. To start with a NQT should not be given a class such as the one you describe. This is clearly stated in the guidance, the headtecaher must ensure that classes "must not present the NQT, on a day-to-day basis, with discipline problems that are
    unreasonably demanding;" The issue is what is 'unreasonably demanding' and that is something that is not easy to describe on a forum post without knowledge of the school and the context. The LA person in charge of NQTs may be able to help here - since they also have a duty to ensure that a post is suitable for induction. If most of the kids are challenging then a LA could deem that the post/school is not suitable for NQTs - now that doesn't help you in the short term, but you may be able to enlist their help in finding another more suitable post in the LA. You may also find that contacting and talking to your union will also be helpful in getting advice and help in your situation. What you must not do is carry on without help.
  5. This sounds like a truly awful situation and I sympathise with you. James suggested that you cannot carry on without support and this is my view too - my department have been extremely supportive and this has really got me through the toughest days. We are NQTs and we will make mistakes, we all need guidance. Have you told your HoD that you need more support? Have you confided in other members of the department? I think that you must push the staff to help you and you must tell your HoD that you need more support. She should realise that if she doesn't help you, you will leave. She obviously doesn't want you to leave - good teachers are hard to come by and you have managed to remain within the job despite the various challenges that you have been faced with. One rule I make to myself is never to cry at work - I know it is extremely hard to do but I have heard members of my dept. criticising a member of the staff at my workplace because she is always 'in bits'. I have found that tough days that make me want to weep have often been mopped up by friendly guidance by other NQTs (both at work and on this site). The bottom line is that you need support and you must seek it very actively. I have always been very straight with my HoD and I have never hidden any problems from her - I think that you deserve so much more support than you are currently receiving. Also, try to be confident and proud of your achievements so far - you have achieved so much just by coming this far and facing all of these challenges head-on.
    I don't know if any of that helps at all but I hope that things improve for you.
  6. geogteachersaregreat

    geogteachersaregreat New commenter

    I really do feel sorry for you having to work in that environment. It is clear to me that the school and department have not been supportive or professional in their support towards you - NQTs will always need extra support - we have no experiencee after all!!. The fact that you have had 2.5 hours mentoring time since september is digraceful. The fact that you were given such a challenging class as an NQT, one that caused an experienced teacher to leave the profession and numerous headaches for many experienced staff, is even more disgraceful!! Not only should you not have been given that class but they should have been targeted for some serious intervention - split up into other classes,1-1 mentoring etc.

    I would echo the thoughts of others - speak to/confide in other teachers who will understand your problems and help you. Seak to LEA and Union officials about the issues you have with the school and your support. However, do remember that this class are terrible - it is not you that has caused them to be this way, their behaviour is not your fault. Do not think that the lack of success you have with them makes you a bad teacher. And i would look for a new job next year, i think you need a fresh start!!

    Good luck and remember to have confidence in yourself.
  7. Reading your message made me realise that I am in a very similar situation as you. I am in my second term now, with a challenging year one class. I havent been supported either, only criticised by the headteacher, when the lea review pointed out that I wasnt being supported. As a result, my nqt term was put back a week. Im now in my second term and having to seek advice from my union, regarding the lack of support and havent been informed regularly of the standards I need to meet to pass. I have found each day a struggle and have been diagnosed with depression as a result.

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