1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice


Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by BobbyBobaFett, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. BobbyBobaFett

    BobbyBobaFett New commenter


    I am an NQT in desperate need of sound, impartial advice.

    To put it plainly, I am working 11 hours a day in school everyday and always taking work home. This would be bearable if what I was doing was up to scratch, however I am constantly being told that everything I do is substandard.

    My NQT mentor is also my year group partner, and head of department, so we work very closely together.
    I find him unapproachable and frankly, nasty.

    Whilst I am happy to take constructive criticism, I find that it is often pedantic (things such as cutting out etc) and unrealistic. I am trying hard to focus on planning and teaching quality lessons, however I am repeatedly told that my classroom needs improving, and without TA support before and after school, I struggle to improve my classroom to the high standards that they insist upon.

    I feel as though my head is in a noose, as we have a department inspection soon and I know that my work isnt up to the same standard as my counterparts. I have found the SLT to be intimidating and unreasonable, so do not feel that I can request support or ask for advice. To make matters worse, the lead NQT mentor is best friends with my mentor, so I do not believe that she will be impartial or objective.

    I feel anxious and sick whenever I think about school and I have spent all weekend working (yet again). I have had the same pot noodle in my bag for the last two weeks, as I haven't had a lunch break in all that time. There have been days when I haven't even been able to get to the bathroom. I know that this is unsustainable and eventually I will have to stop. I am sure that if I wasn't an NQT I would either be off with stress or I would have resigned in the first term.

    I am aware that as an NQT I am in a vulnerable position and I don't want to ruin my future prospects, as despite this horrific experience, I still want to work in education. I am sure that my training school would take me back to finish my NQT year, and I am aware that they are hiring. I hate to quit, but I feel that my confidence is being knocked on a daily basis, and honestly, I feel that my mentor wants me to fail (a comment reinforced by colleagues).

    If you have any advice then I would appreciate some help.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. opalfeet

    opalfeet Occasional commenter

    Go back to training school if you can, perfect opportunity!
    pepper5 and slingshotsally like this.
  3. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    There was a time when new teachers were nurtured and supported through their early years. They learned much from colleagues and developed.

    Nowadays you are expected to be 'instantly outstanding' which frankly is ridiculous.

    You only have more of the same to look forward I am afraid. If I were you I would look at getting out of teaching. It really isn't worth it.

    At this stage in your career you should be able to gain employment at a similar wage to what you are earning now.
    TCSC47, johnberyl, JRiley1 and 5 others like this.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    True. Sad. But true.
  5. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    It's a shame isn't.

    There are many times when I sit in my new job thinking about how much I miss the kids, the interaction with them, the awful jokes etc. I also miss many of my colleagues.

    But then I am reminded of the relentless stress, the long hours, the sleepless nights, the culture of fear and realise I did the right thing.
  6. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Hi BBF,

    In summer I started a new school with 5 other new members of staff, one of whom was an NQT. So far 2 resigned by Christmas- one NQT. She has a job already, her training school gave it to her and didn't even bother to ask for references as the HT had already seen her teach.

    Current HT was very miffed- they did an exit interview. Apparently her colleagues had not been given any mentor training, or SCITT training in how to support NQT. Guess what- they have another NQT starting this term but now those staff are getting proper CPD with regard to supporting NQT's.

    My advice is this-

    1. If you did your PGCE training at a university or college, email right now. You need to let them know and seek further advice. They will need to know about your current colleague and their treatment of you for no other reason than to avoid sending any other person for training or whatever to such misery. Explain absolutely everything to your tutor.

    2. Union fees for NQT's are very small- join one today. IF there are issues with observations then you may need help later on.

    3. You do have a choice- there are other schools out there which you can apply to in order to complete your NQT year. You can resign, like my colleague did and find a new school, or sign up with an agency.

    4. Photocopy children's work before and after to show progression in learning, get any evidence you need.

    5. Make sure you have copies of any observations for your NQT file, to see which standards have been met. I am pretty sure that the NQT documentation has a box which asks if your tutor has been contacted (to be filled in by your NQT mentor)- make sure that the document is accurate, if they have not contacted your tutor, make sure that the box hasn't been ticked.

    I wish you all the best, BBF. It's miserable working with sadistic bullies.

    phlogiston likes this.
  7. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Sorry to read your post Bobby.
    It sounds grim.
    Some suggestions.
    Lunch is important; pot noodles take time to hydrate., maybe if you have something you can just grab out of your bag and eat on the go, your blood sugar levels will be better and you'll have more energy at the end of the day.
    Ask your HoD to give you a hand sorting the class room, as you're sure his support will make it much better. Failing that, talk nicely to the site team / caretaker. (Always get on the right side of all support staff in school).
    You are not quitting if you move to another school. You are moving to a healthier working environment and moving your career forward.
    Loo breaks are essential - five minutes in the cubicle will enable your subconcious to help you sort out the impending tasks, as well as avoiding bladder or colon problems.
    Make sure you get out at least once a week with people who are nothing to do with school and do something a bit physically or mentally challenging to get your head out of school mode. It will then work better when you re-engage with school.
    This job may be beastly - it is a phase in your career and personal development, and is not the be all and end all of life (even while you're in post there). If you work all the hours there are and they don't appreciate you, you might as well work fewer hours for the same effect.
    best wishes
    wanet likes this.
  8. indusant

    indusant Senior commenter

    I've been there... You have to make the time for yourself. It's unhealthy otherwise. I recently posted this in the Health and Wellbeing forum, but I think it's pertinent here:

    I find that the problem is that when you feel overwhelmed with work it becomes counter productive. You then end up doing less work than you would do normally, as your mind is simply overloaded.

    I've found that the little gaps in between work are actually essential to working efficiently. It could be anything from having a cup of tea, to having a quick walk outside, or a nice chat with a colleague. Do these things every so often, one thing at a time. I find that this helps keep the mind refreshed. Many schools (and other places of work) do not seem to value this, and pile the work on to people as if they are machines. But we are not, so you have to find the time for yourself.

    We live in a culture that is transfixed on being 'on' all of the time. Working relentlessly, ignoring the gaps between the work. I believe these gaps are the key to keeping positive, and to avoid burning out. In a hectic school environment it's even more important to make the most of these gaps. So, make sure to have a cup of tea and enjoy it. Make the time to eat lunch. When you go home, relax with a nice hot bath and keep doing your hobbies regularly. Anything that helps you to unwind.

    There is a zen proverb that says 'it is the silence between the notes that makes the music'. If we didn't have spaces in between the notes, it would just be discordant noise. Similarly, if we don't have gaps in between working, we burn out. Teaching will do this to you, so you have to make those gaps yourself.

    Then, when you're in a better frame of mind you can take stock about the future. But, I'd say it's best to at least get the NQT finished by hook or by crook. You CAN do it. Best wishes.
    hayley_bopp, rouxx, JRiley1 and 3 others like this.
  9. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    My advice?


    Get out... you are still close enough to the entrance to find something where you'll be appreciated.

    Not very helpful I know... but honest.
    johnberyl and Compassman like this.
  10. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

  11. Resolve

    Resolve New commenter

    It sometimes helps to take a step back -- and realise that some unpleasant people in management (yes, I know they exist) have a deep desire to be ... significant; indeed, we all need to feel there is a point to our lives, professional or personal. Some people can develop social connections that are warm and endearing. Others, at the other end of the continuum just need to feel they are significant. If you detach a touch - and 'let go' any feelings of emotional reaction to perceived criticism -- it helps to imagine them wearing a Mickey Mouse costume -- you can sometimes see them for what they are. People who need to feel significant. That lessens the power they yearn to project. Don't react overtly, of course. Just say how grateful you are for their professional insights and for their feedback, which will, of course, inform your professional development. Have some fun with this? :)
  12. katykook

    katykook Occasional commenter

    Remember you are an NQT, the Q means you are qualified. I know you have to pass a probationary period but if you didn't have the skills to teach you would not have got this far. I don't think times have changed that much. Zillions of years ago when I was at your stage I felt like I'd been thrown into the deep end and there were a lot of experienced staff who would be happy to see me sink, there are those out there though who will encourage you to start swimming. Some older staff can feel threatened by NQTs who seem to be brimming with enthusiasm whereas their shiny gloss has worn off. Remember these people had to start from your position and have had years to hone their skills. Only a very few people are brilliant straight away, for most people it's a hard slog. I think you are suffering from a lack of confidence, try to remember the good lessons you had on teaching practice. Ask if you can observe your mentor's lessons - show them you want to learn. Keep at it and look for other positions. I nearly gave up teaching after my first two years with an unsupportive HOD, I changed schools and rediscovered my love for teaching. Remember you can teach.
  13. josienig

    josienig Star commenter

    Far far away in another universe..teachers just out of college weren't expected to be perfect, they were expected to be far from it. They were idealistic, enthusiastic and were going to change the world. When needed, the more experienced staff in schools looked out for them, supported them when their ideals collapsed but encouraged them to hold on to their enthusiasm. This support gently carried them to the point of being confident teachers.
    That was my experience c.25 years ago and I am grateful for it. I am lucky to be in a system where this still pertains and I can support new teachers.
  14. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi BBF

    I agree that trying to get back to your training school might be best.

    Although I do understand why people suggest you leave teaching altogether, if you can get your QTS then that is a qualification that can open many doors to you later and it is always a skill you can use to work on supply until you can get established in another career if that is what you want to do.

    I am so sorry to read of your experience: teachers are expected to nurture their students and help them in any way they can often asked to do the impossible, so why would trainee teachers be treated so badly by their teachers/mentors?
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  15. maud1901

    maud1901 New commenter

    I have a student teacher at the mo. She's learning so much from me (so she says) but in return I have learnt so much from her.

    You are of the generation of teachers who will, one day, teach my grandchildren. You were a school pupil when pressures on staff and children were less than they are now. I believe children and staff were happier, more enthusiastic, less pressured, more rested to face the next day, etc. than they are now.

    You have chosen to teach because you have a very special gift with young people (amongst so many other things). I wish you well in teaching.
    Caligraphy, grumpydogwoman and rouxx like this.
  16. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

  17. thenorris

    thenorris New commenter

    I had a HOD like this. Everything was wrong, I was constantly told that I had failed everything and it totally knocked my confidence.

    He was doing it deliberately.

    When I went off sick the occupational health report was basically a pack of lies designed to make me look bad; the school had already decided that I had failed and fitted the facts to suit their needs.

    I got a job doing supply, I phoned up on the Tuesday and requested my contract release for the Friday.

    Two years later: my phone keeps ringing because agencies want me to work for them in schools and I have to turn down work on a regular basis. Sorry if that sounds arrogant, it is not intended as such, just the reality. I teach a shortage subject (aren't all subject a shortage subject these days I hear you ask?) and because of my experience agencies simply do not have the staff.

    Leave, go and work in a better school.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.

Share This Page