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So unhappy in new job

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by flibbertigibit, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. flibbertigibit

    flibbertigibit New commenter

    I left my first teaching job this year, in a school that I loved, so that I could relocate and be with my boyfriend. I was so excited to not be long-distance anymore (my friends and family live here too) but having now started my new job I feel completely deflated. It’s the most disorganised school I could imagine, timetables still aren’t finalised and we haven’t had a single English lesson yet because the highers up are still sorting out a scheme and we aren’t allowed to do anything off-scheme. I’m not given any information but then get told off (often publicly) for not doing things I didn’t know I needed to do. I’ve been told about a number of evening and weekend events that I am expected to attend, the first time I only got 1 days notice that I needed to be in school until 9pm. SLT speak to me like I’m 5 years old, they’re not interested in hearing how all their initiatives are actually working in the classroom. I am shocked by how low the levels of achievement and behaviour are here but am made to feel like I’m too strict and not understanding enough of the children’s young age. I’ve taught this age group before and I know that this class are far below average. The school is obsessed with iPads and everything being digital, most of my KS1 class can’t hold a pencil correctly and they don’t have any exercise books so how will they ever improve? My classroom is completely lacking in proper resources and I can’t afford to fit it out properly myself.
    I don’t really get a break during the day, I have four duties a week but I have to eat my lunch and supervise my children in the dining hall every day. The little ones only get 20 minutes in the morning and the whole of lunch time is 40 minutes, including eating time, so many of them don’t get to go outside at all by the time they’ve finished their meal.
    I haven’t signed a contract yet and my offer letter that I did sign didn’t specify a notice period, nor is it mentioned anywhere in the staff handbook. I’m so tempted to cut and run but I know that’s look terrible on my CV and be unfair on the children and the colleagues that I like. But I really can’t imagine staying here much longer without going mad. I dread coming in in the mornings already and it’s only week 2. My year group’s partners advice to me was ‘keep your head down or you’ll get hauled into HR.’ I know someone got called in ‘for a chat’ the other day because they complained, informally in the staff room, about arranging childcare around short notice events. I’m really not sure what to do for the best.
    Bombart95, agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi flibber

    All you can do is your best.

    Nothing is forever and what you in need to do is find out what notice period you need to give. Call your union and they will know the legal position.

    As your colleague says ' keep your head down'. There is no point in creating conflict or pointing out faults as it is clear from what you have written that the SLT have NO CLUE what they are doing and it is bordering on the negligent.

    You will find another post.

    Usually people might say give it time and things will improve, but not in this case from what you write.
  3. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    You’ve been there a week! It is a great learning experience, how chaotic some schools are even when they are allegedly ‘good’. If you went for an interview at the school now knowing what you do, what could you have asked, who could you have asked, that would have let you see the ‘truth’? Probably nothing. The school has done a great job of covering up their failings.

    Chaotic schools give you an opportunity to show how good you are, but change like the iPads and pencils thing is often slow and some people are so dumb with their pet projects - they don’t monitor effectiveness properly and everyone suffers and iPad use is a classic. You have to be professional, calm and objective. Talk through things with your line manager, everything, and make notes. Try to make suggestions, be positive, and be honest too. Where is the school calendar? Have you asked for a copy? Explain how last minute requests for evenings are problematic, just so you know you have pointed this out.

    Give it a few more weeks but there is nothing stopping you looking around meanwhile.
  4. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Well it does sound rubbish but I wouldn't advise walking out at this stage. You could start looking around though.

    I went to a school that was rubbish and started applying out after the first term but didn't get another job so stuck with it. Quite quickly things changed - the head left, new staff arrived, I was promoted and ended up staying for 10years and had some of the best times in my career. It was upsetting at the time though but made me stronger in the long run.

    I don't recommend this but just give it as an example. I was flat broke and really wanted the money. Can you afford to leave without a job to go to?
  5. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    From your thread title, I was prepared to say that two weeks in is not enough time to really know whether you will be happy in a school. I’m not sure that works on this occasion though.

    You’ve signed the offer letter, you’ve started the job, so there will be a notice period. As everyone says, you need to find out what that is.

    It might get better. The first few weeks at a new school can feel chaotic, when routines are different. If you really find it impossible, resign at half term. By then you’ll know whether it has improved, or whether your first impressions are lasting.
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Everything everyone else said.

    Plus. For future reference.

    1. Join a union
    2. Familiarise yourself with the STPCD
    3. Always find out if a school follows the STPCD or, if it's part of a MAT or an independent, has other contractual obligations
    4. Don't expect a written contract - your word is your bond etc etc - just by turning up and setting to work you have indicated you have accepted the job - contracts don't have to be written down
    BioEm, phlogiston, 8sycamore and 3 others like this.
  7. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Good advice already given above.
    I agree it's early days yet and as people have said, just because you haven't signed a contract doesn't mean you can leave anywhen soon.

    Good advice to start looking around to see if there are actually other jobs available in your new area.
  8. flibbertigibit

    flibbertigibit New commenter

    Thank you all for your replies. I know that it wouldn't actually be a good idea, or even possible, to leave. I only did a year in my last school so my CV would look awful if I only lasted a term in this one. Today was really tough though. My year group partner has been in tears on and off most of the day because of stress so I don't want to press her about things, but we are meant to plan together and it's not really happening. I don't have anyone to talk to about it who is actually in a position to help. I was an NQT last year with a mentor and close friendships with colleagues who I could go to for advice. Now I am facing behaviour that is totally new to me (lots of physical fighting, children running out of the building, bad language) and nobody seems bothered. I have a girl who can't speak in full sentences, draws squiggles instead of letters and doesn't seem able to understand simple instructions but the SENCO suggested that my expectations are too high (I teach Year 1.) And even approaching the SENCO makes me feel nervous because the SLT are so hard on us. In the first staff meeting of term they demonstrated how all the apple software we're made to use is linked up to an app so that they can monitor what we're doing at all times, just as they do with the children's ipads.

    I am just venting I suppose, there's not really much I can do about any of it. It's an independent school so they can do what they want. I am in a union but I am not sure they could help me. Thank you for all the kind advice.
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    You need to get out. Sounds dreadful. Do whatever you can to get out.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If you want to stay in teaching you will need a reference from this head. One which says the candidate cut and run after a couple of weeks isn't going to get you a new job.

    Look for and apply for a new job and then hand your notice in to leave in December.
    agathamorse, pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  11. thefutureisalreadyhere

    thefutureisalreadyhere New commenter

    Hello, I’m so sorry to hear you are suffering and not enjoying work.
    I have had a very similar situation myself the last two weeks (new School, children’s poor behaviour etc).

    For most state schools resignation will be Christmas now as long as you resign before end of October. It may be worth asking for an early release of contract if you cannot tolerate it any longer? I did and it was granted.

    Only you know if you are able to put up with working there. Perhaps write a pros and cons list of staying/leaving, that always helps me make decisions.
  12. thefutureisalreadyhere

    thefutureisalreadyhere New commenter

    As it is an independent school your notice will likely be one full term. I was at an independent last year and had to resign in March to leave in July.

    If the stress is too much perhaps consider seeing your GP for some help.

    Try to be kind to yourself OP this situation may only be temporary and you can decide to leave and find new work.
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Your union can certainly help you, speak to them as soon as you can just to inform them of problems in case you need them in the future.

    If this is an independent, you need to find a new post as soon as you can. There is no way parents will continue to pay for this kind of standard, which means pupils will leave and the school will have to close as it won't be financially viable.
  14. PE_Factory

    PE_Factory New commenter

    I was in this position this time last year. I'm a secondary teacher, but every morning I would drive to work crying... I'd teach and spend the working day like a zombie - I don't remember much because I'd been crushed and battered into the ground and felt so low. I lasted 4 weeks in that new school until eventually a trip to the doctors who deemed me unfit for work on the basis of anxiety and work related stress. I never went back!

    I know people say to give it time... But when you know it's not the right school for you, you know!

    Don't drive yourself into the ground... Your sanity and self worth is far more precious! Do what's right for you... Not what's right for your CV!!!
  15. flibbertigibit

    flibbertigibit New commenter

    I’m not sure leaving is an option. It’s so hard with the whole terms notice, it’s already too late to leave for a January start elsewhere and the same will probably be true when it comes round to April vacancies. I can’t afford to leave with no job to go to, my partner and I already struggle enough as it is. I feel completely hopeless. I cried the whole drive into work today and I’m not sleeping very well.
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    This is not only bad for you, it is illegal. You are entitled to a break of at least 20 minutes if you work for six hours in one go. I suggest you consult your union. (By the way, you are also entitled to an 11 hour break between working days, which having to stay very late might breach if you are told to arrive early the next day.)

    Do we assume from your post that you are in a private school not following STPCD? It would be helpful to know. Under STPCD, you could not be told to attend weekend events and the number of directed hours is limited. If your school is supposed to be following STPCD, then it is breaching your contract in a big way.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. flibbertigibit

    flibbertigibit New commenter

    Sorry, I replied but for some reason it didn’t get passed the moderation process. Yes, it is an independent school.
    Lara mfl 05 and agathamorse like this.

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