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Stressed NQT

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by Scooby_786, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. Scooby_786

    Scooby_786 New commenter

    Morning folks.
    Long post ahead.
    NQT here. I'm doing my induction at a sixth form Academy (maternity cover). I'm the sole member of my department and have no subject mentor. After waiting for half a term for some sort of subject support, I have been given a contact from another sixth form with a sister Academy. I am getting on well with year 12s as I plan all my lessons. As for year 13s, who had just finished the content before I started (now only revision classes), I was given a strict outline to follow with no maneuverability to deviate from the scheme or resources. The year 13s haven't responded well to me at all - having a new teacher coming to teach them so close to the exams, finding the lessons I've been following repetitive and boring, and even made comments on my subject knowledge and marking tolerance. After low attendance, the acting head of sixth form held a meeting to give the year 13s a stern telling off and a reminder of the importance of attending lessons. However, from feedback from others, it seems like the meeting turned into a hot gossip session about my inabilities and shortcomings. One teacher even noted that some students who attended the meeting had her lesson straight after and they continued to talk about me and what was said in the meeting and that she had to stop them as what was being said was disrespectful. I've had a word with the year 13 classes yesterday about me being tied down to what was set and the difficulties for teachers following others' lessons, but after speaking to my line manager I'm being allowed to plan my own lessons for year 13s after the easter break, but most of them seem switched off and apathetic. Most members of staff in the faculty are aware of my situation and are on my side but it's not helping with my stress. I feel like the academy puts more emphasis on students than staff. I've always been praised on my diligence but to get any sort of empathy or praise from middle management upwards here is elusive. I put on a performance for students while teaching and feel drained afterwards. I'm stressed all the time at work and burned out but feel like I need to plough on to get my induction done. I've been signed off term 2 with already meeting some standards and on track to meet the rest. I'm conscious as to whether my year 13 classes, attitude to learning and behaviour will affect me going into term 3.
  2. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Have you thought of getting a job in an international school? It is a lot less stressful than teaching in the UK.
  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I did a maternity cover role, and some of my Y12 Literature students were really off with me for the whole year. The person I was covering had taught them for only two lessons before starting her maternity leave, and all she'd done was introduce the course and the beginning of the novel, but for some reason they decided I was doing something wrong or teaching the course wrong because I was not emulating her lessons, and also they had misunderstood some of the things she'd said about the course. It was very frustrating, and culminated in them moaning to my HOD that I was a terrible teacher for not giving them quotes to learn from our 300 page novel. My HOD was not impressed with them, and put them in their place. I don't know why the kids behaved like this, it's like they thought I wasn't a real teacher or something. I was in my late 30s at the time, so didn't look like a straight-out-of-uni 21 year old. Who knows. Half of them had only joined the school in the sixth form, so it's not like they even knew the teacher I was covering. Could your kids feel affecting for the teacher you're covering? Or feel messed about?

    This was a high-performing school, and I found the Y12 students very anxious in general, and with very poor levels of resilience, i.e. if they didn't get A for their very first AS essay they'd want to blame the teacher and drop the course - they don't get that there's a big jump from GCSE to AS/A level. Their parents were also very entitled. Is this like your school?

    The school was very supportive, thankfully. Contrast this with my previous school - if a kid said you did something, even something ridiculous, management would interview all the other kids in secret and you'd never even know. The first time this happened to me one of my hip Y10s said 'Don't worry miss, I've got your back,' which prompted me to ask 'Eh?' Which of these schools do you think I'd happily return to?

    As far as the kids moaning, if your school is supportive then all you can do is to try and show your competence and subject knowledge. If it makes you feel any better I was told my a colleague that 'You're not a real teacher until you've had a complaint!'

    I am curious why they want you to follow the lesson plan so strictly?

    Focus on finishing your maternity contract and NQT induction.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    On the plus side, you're getting on well with year 12, and year 13 was always going to be difficult. A decent school will put more weight on the former (and the year 13s will be off your hands soon too).
    One of your colleagues put a stop to the year 13s complaining in their lesson; it sounds as if the acting head of sixth made a judgement that it might be worth hearing what they had to say. It sounds as if there is a result in that you are going to be allowed to make changes and teach your way - and perhaps that came out of that meeting and the students saying the lessons were boring.
    Perhaps start next term with a run-up-to-the-exams pep talk, and mention that you've been given the freedom to plan as suits the group best, rather than following anything prescriptive. You could offer them some choices (not free choice, but things like what order you do things in, how best to use practice questions, etc).
  5. lilyflower18

    lilyflower18 New commenter

    This is utterly unhelpful and completely untrue.
    MissGeorgi and blueskydreaming like this.
  6. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I am sorry that you think that I am "utterly unhelpful". Lots of teachers from the UK have got jobs overseas. Some of them have taken the time and the trouble to write to me, to thank me for my help and my advice. As for the TES, they have acknowledged the help that I have given over many years and I suppose that is why they I have decided that I am a "Community helper".

    As for the idea that it is "completely untrue" that teaching in an international schools is less stressful than teaching in the UK, I would have thought, lilyflower18, that the only person who can really comment on that is someone who has done both. I have. How about you, lilyflower18? How many international schools have you taught in? And in how many different countries around the world?
  7. topquark

    topquark New commenter

    Mmmm Lily flower, your comment has got me thinking back to the dim and distant past.
    I remember being bored in the library during my PGCE. I picked up one book - it was basically a list of British international schools by the European Council for International Schools. It had a profound and life changing effect on me.
    Since that visit to the library, I've taught in a number of beautiful and exciting countries. I'm now bilingual - as are the rest of my close family. It has also been very rewarding financially.

    However, my worst teaching experiences have been in UK schools and I am 100% sure that I would not have sustained a teaching career past my 45th year had I not made a move abroad.

    Of course I completed my PGCE before the internet revolution and it's strange forum ramblings.

    Time to hit the swimming pool and the tropical sunshine that awaits me outside my beautiful house. ........
  8. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    What an arrogant response.

    Why do you think that this poster has not worked in an international school? Why do you think that your opinion or experience trumps hers?

    Get over yourself, hippo.

    Whether or not there is less stress completely depends on the school and how it is run.
  9. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, I agree that with blueskydreaming that well-run schools usually have teachers who are not so stressed.

    In my experience, teachers in international schools do not have a lot of the stresses that teachers in the UK have to put up with. I am sorry that you think that I am "arrogant" for mentioning this, blueskydreaming, but if you were to go to the "Teaching Overseas" TES forum, then you would find that many of the posters there are teaching in international schools around the world. Very few of them have posted on the forum to say how stressed out they are at their international school and how they want to return to the UK asap.

    Yes, it is true that some teachers do return to the UK, usually for personal or family reasons, not because they think that teaching in the UK means less hassle and stress. I have known several teachers who have left international schools and returned to the UK. All of them have said that they found teaching back in the UK to be much more difficult, stressful and exhausting.

    If lilyflower18 has had some experience of international education, then perhaps she could share it with us. If she has never taught outside the UK, then I would politely suggest that perhaps it is difficult for her to make meaningful comparisons.
  10. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Now that you have retired you seem to be having some memory problems - perhaps you should take up Sudoku? I am on the Overseas board all the time, particularly in relation to China. You and I have had private 'conversations' on here, and you even emailed me photos of your wife and home in Shenzhen when I was enquiring about the school where I currently work. I'm sure that other people may appreciate your advice, but as lovely as your wife is, her photo was not especially useful for me, being someone who had already told you they were married to a Chinese man and had lived in China for 4 years.

    I don't think you're arrogant for mentioning overseas teachers having less stress - you are arrogant for presuming that the poster you were responding to has not taught abroad. Why did you make that assumption? What was your reason for thinking that she had only worked in the UK and was therefore not qualified to comment on overseas schools? You are also arrogant for trying to pull rank with regards the number of countries you've worked in. Again, why assume that your knowledge and experience is superior? She also uses the overseas forum, by the way, so that should tell you something...

    As for stress, I'd say stress overseas is generally due to different factors in the UK, but it can still be there, and could even be worse because you do not have the protection of British laws, the standards in education, or the support available in the UK (unions, family etc.).
  11. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Yes, perhaps you are right.

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