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Should I Stay or Should I go?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Domobe, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. Domobe

    Domobe New commenter

    I am an NQT in my first term. The job I was hired for was temporary cover, only up until December, but now I am uncertain I can make it that far.
    My classes are horrible, filled with students who refuse to follow the simplest instructions, and will simply yell at me as if it is my fault they cannot pay attention. Some students are verbally abusive and others have taken to coming into my rooms at free times and even taking my possessions. It seems that very little is done about all this, behaviour policy is being followed to the letter but nothing ever seems to change.
    I don't like what the job is doing to me. I used to have an enthusiasm and light-heartedness in the classroom, but they've driven that from me, and I'm left cruel and cold and sarcastic. This is not how I want to teach. This is not how I want to be.
    I thought I could at least make it to the end of December, but now I'm not even sure of that any more. Two other teachers in my department have left, and they were much more experienced than I. One of the only things still keeping me here is the worry about what would happen if I quit. I can't imagine it would look good on any future job application to see that I failed to last my first term, that I cracked under pressure.
    I suppose my main question is how badly would I be affected if I were to leave? How will this affect my future? In essence, should I stay or should I go?
  2. Mooi3D

    Mooi3D New commenter

    Stay. First huddle of many and you cannot just give in on the first huddle.
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Avoid huddles - don't let people huddle up close to you at all.
    foxtail3, Sillow, puppyofdoom and 2 others like this.
  4. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    It sounds vile. If it's only until December, then try and stick it out. Lock up personal possessions or don't bring them into school. It sounds as though the kids have had lots of disruption - so don't take their behaviour personally, and make sure you have a way of unwinding (not alcohol!) when you get home. I used to find having a shower helped to 'wash off the day'.

    Carry on with the behaviour policy for consistency and so that you have evidence you've done everything you should, but don't expect miracles. Get a calendar and tick off the weeks as you go. And start looking for somewhere to go to in January - after a baptism of fire you will be well prepared for anything next term!
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Yes, you need to hang on in there as best you can.

    Talk to your mentor and ask for more help and support. They are supposed to be there for you.

    Talk to the Teacher Support - a sort of Samaritans for teachers, 24/7. Phone, chat, e-mail, they do the lot, and understand your situation.

    Come over to the Jobseekers Forum and get advice on getting that next job. Staff will have given in their notice last week to leave at Christmas, and schools will be recruiting. Teachers in permanent posts cannot apply, so that leaves the field a little emptier for people like you. See you on Jobseekers!

    Best wishes

    monicabilongame likes this.
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    The hurdle you have to get over is high and I agree with all the advice given - especially the advice about locking up your possession and ticking off the days until December. It must be bad if two teachers have already left. I've worked in schools like you describe and it can be as monica says vile.

    It is extremely difficult working in the conditions you describe, but as other posters have suggested, follow the behaviour policy since that way the students cannot say you are being unfair. Whatever you do, don't show the students that whatever they are doing is affecting you; but rather stay as calm as possible and don't raise your voice.

    I know there are no simple answers, but I hope the following strategy may help you cope.

    Have three simple rules for all your classes:

    1. Follow instructions fast
    2. Stay on task
    3. Work without disturbing others

    Write them on the whiteboard or make a poster and make sure the classes know your rules and the expectations. Explain that these are the rules and they are not negotiable. You can explain about the rewards a bit later.

    Have graduated sanctions:

    1. Verbal Warning
    2. Written warning in planner
    3. Removal to another class or elsewhere to work

    Or something along those sanctions according to your school's behaviour policy.

    Do not allow anyone to yell at you and do not allow the students to be verbally abusive. Take their names in a calm manner and report it; even if the behaviour policy is not being followed then, you have reported it and there is a record of it.

    Write some scripts on a card and have them in your pocket in case you forget what to say:

    "Stephanie, I saw you throw the pencil across the room. You are off task and disturbing others, I need you to get back on task. Thank you for listening."

    Go away and let her think about it and make a choice.

    If Stephanie continues to break the rules, say: "Stephanie, this is a written warning. You have chosen to continue to be oft task. You now have the opportunity to make an intelligent choice."

    Give another minute or two for take up time.

    If after the second warning, if she continue to be off task, have her removed or follow whatever the schools' sanctions are.

    You probably know this already, but also teach them some routines; one would be to enter the room, take their seats and remain silent until you have taken the register. If you can have something up on the board as a task to complete while you are doing the register that would be helpful. Not always possible if you are moving around rooms.

    Try not to give up with getting the classes to do as you ask, since it is good experience. Ensure you give praise to those who are doing as you ask, send post cards home, and give rewards to those who deserve them. Focus on the students who are working hard.

    Theo's advice about speaking to your mentor is spot on; they are there to help you and support you especially in a challenging school. Ask them for strategies to use in the classroom and books they recommend. There are books to help you with behaviour management. If you go over to the behaviour forum, there is a thread about books on behaviour management.

    You are new so the kids are trying to see how far they can push you before you explode and I agree with Monica that you should not take it personally - also remember you are not responsible for the students' behaviour and you are not going to solve it all in one term. What your goal is is to make it bearable for yourself and you need help and support from the school combined with looking for some strategies to help which can be found in books, speaking with others and videos.

    Do speak with the Teacher Support Network if you need a listening ear and keep posting on the TES as there will be others who will help if they can.

    At least it is only temporary cover until December.... it could have been a lot worse and you could have had a contract until the end of the year.

    When you get home each day treat yourself to a nice cup of tea and a bath. Just remember you are not alone; unfortunately, there are many teachers who are facing the same situation as you. There is a book called On the Edge by Charlie Carrol which you might like to read over the break. It is a book by a successful teacher who left his well paying job to travel the country teaching on supply undercover to find out why so many teachers leave teaching within 5 years and his experiences in UK Schools. It was written about 6 years ago, but it is an interesting story.

    All the best and let me know if any of the strategies work.

    Pepper5 x
  7. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    Not all schools are the same. Start looking for other jobs but keep going. Stay positive. Take each day one day at a time. Use this time wisely. Try out different behaviour management things and see if anything helps. Experiment. Learn from these pupils and constantly remind yourself that it can never be worse than this. Keep talking to your mentor. It can take a good few months for badly behaved students to settle and treat you properly.
  8. old_dobbin

    old_dobbin Occasional commenter

  9. old_dobbin

    old_dobbin Occasional commenter

    It sounds a bit like a school I worked at once. I got through the first term and left at Christmas. Among the behaviour issues I experienced were: stones, earth and earthworms being thrown through classroom windows;door handles being spat on in the hope that I would put my hand on them; objects being thrown at me when my back was turned. In almost goes without saying that behaviour in terms of concentration, listening to others, etc was non-existent and I did almost no teaching. How I survived one term I just don't know now, but I'm glad I stuck it out because I got a reasonable reference that enabled me to find another job. I documented everything and followed the procedures-to no avail. Most of my notes were ignored and eventually , after I left, the school went into special measures. By the end of term , the entire staff of the department I was in had left. I lasted longer than many others: one poor woman left on her first day, before lunch.
    There are better places to work out there.
  10. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Go, and quickly!

    It's a pretty crappy job these day. Conditions and pay have been changed drastically by acadamisation, the workload is horrendous, and you are only one falling out with the wrong person from being put on capability.

    I wouldn't touch mainstream teaching with a bargepole if I were you.

    If you need convincing, just read these forums
  11. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter


    Sorry. That link doesn't work. It was meant to link to The Clash- Should I stay or should I go?
  12. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Here you go nuts, sorry @Lascarina
  13. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    @Lascarina - to get a link to Youtube to work, instead of just pasting the link you need to click on the two little bits of film icon - next to the picture icon - and paste the link in there.

    Best wishes

  14. Lascarina

    Lascarina Star commenter

    Ta to Scint for putting up the link and to Theo for telling me how to do it myself. It's odd because I've posted several youtube links lately and they've worked.
  15. Bsprout

    Bsprout New commenter

    It sounds like you are in the school I was at this time last year! I had handed my notice in by October half term and then managed to make it through to Christmas.
    I really feel for you because it made me feel as though I had lost all ability to teach..
    I was lucky - I got another job in a lovely school and on the first day all my confidence and love of teaching came rushing back.
    As awful as the experience was I am sure it made me a better teacher and it certainly made me realise how much I love the job (when I am in the right school!)
    Hold onto the fact that it is the school that is the problem, not you. Good luck with finding a new school where you will be able to be the teacher you want to be.
    JosieWhitehead likes this.
  16. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I realize that I was lucky enough to have chosen to work in Colleges of Further Education where students came because they wanted me to teach them skills that would give them well-paid work when they left - and it was up to them. If they didn't work then another person could easily take their place, and they also had the big incentive of knowing that they had an important exam to pass if they wanted that job. No problems at all for me with students and I taught for more than 30 years. I would go mad if I had to put up with what you're putting up with and I'm afraid I would have to leave and find other work. What a shame that something isn't done about this awful situation within your school.

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