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Stressed out NQT

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Honeybee88, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. Honeybee88

    Honeybee88 New commenter

    Thank you in advance for reading this post. I know it is long, but reading some of your posts and seeing that so many of you are in similar situations, has made me feel comforted that I am not alone in this.

    I started my first teaching post in September on a fixed term contract until December. I didn't get off to the best start, as my class' behaviour is atrocious. I have put everything I can into behaviour management as I felt their behaviour was impacting on my teaching, their learning and the quality of their work.

    In October I had my first observation, which was planned with the support of the maths co-ordinator. The lesson was too challenging, I realised this myself and I took the criticism on the chin with the intention of working on what was said. I felt the feedback was very negative and this really knocked my confidence. However, this was only the start of things to come.

    I had become behind on my marking due to lessons being covered by cover supervisors (and they are not paid to mark). I realise the importance of marking children's work and it was a genuine and honest mistake as I had forgot that the lessons had been taught by cover supervisors. A few days later I attended an interview (as my contract is only temporary) whilst I was on the interview my phase leader took this opportunity to trawl through my books.
    Instead of coming to me and asking me to correct this she went straight to the deputy, my mentor and the head. I returned from the interview to 3 rather nasty emails complaining about the lack of marking in my curriculum books. I was absolutely mortified when I realised I had not marked several lessons.

    The next day the head emailed me asking me to come to his office first thing in the morning, where he gave me an absolute rollocking. I knew where he was coming from and I apologised profusely. However, he then became very personal and said some really upsetting things. He told me he thinks I am in the wrong profession, said that it is unfair that I am earning the same as everyone else and told me that I am too 'fragile'. He then told me he was giving me a week to sort it out. The next day I was given a support plan by my mentor.

    Over half term I worked my socks off trying to get on top of my planning for the term so that I could concentrate on meeting my targets from the support plan. I also spent a lot of time working on my self esteem and confidence to help me become more positive. I returned after half term with a positive mindset and prepared to fight for my job. I worked late getting all my marking done and in detail, I prepared resources in advance and was feeling so much more confident and organised. The overall behaviour in my class was better and the quality of the children's work was looking 100 times better.

    Part of the support plan is that they are going to do a book scrutiny every week. At the end of the week my books had not been looked at, so Friday night after school my mentor asked in passing to see my books first thing Monday morning. Monday mornings being Monday mornings, I forgot about the books until lunch time. I immediately grabbed the books and ran over to my mentors office and once again apologised. The reply I was given was that it was too late, I had missed my slot and I would not be getting signed off on my support plan. This absolutely destroyed me as I was trying so hard to impress.

    I don't know if it's me being paranoid, but I am beginning to feel like I am being set up to fail. When I see my mentor in passing she fails to acknowledge me. Since starting this job I have been in tears every day, either morning, night and sometimes even during the school day. I often find myself choking back tears in lessons.
    Last week I started having panic attacks before the children came into class, and very often feel sick at the thought of the day ahead. I am literally counting down the days now until my contract ends because I am so miserable.

    Last night I got myself so worked up with the dread of monday morning, that I did not sleep, found myself having a panic attack at 1am and then throwing up till 2am. I went to the doctors this morning and he has signed me off for a week with stress and told me to go back to see him next week.

    I'm not even quite sure why I am writing this post, I suppose I just want some advice and questions answering.
    As I am only in my first term, will I be able to complete the first term if i have 2 or more weeks off?
    If not, will I be able to redo this term elsewhere? Or will this go against me in getting another job?
    Also will being off with stress affect my reference?

    This being said I am now doubting whether this is the career for me and at the minute I can bare the thought of teaching.

    I have been in touch with my union, who were so supportive and have advised me to contact my appropriate body (that being when I find out who they are, as my school have not told me).

    As I said, I know I am not alone in feeling like this, most of the NQT's in my school are feeling the same, though they are on permanent contracts and seem to be getting a lot more support through additional time out of class, being allowed to observe other teachers and getting support in their planning.

    Thanks again for reading this
  2. rachelcg

    rachelcg New commenter

    I don't really have any advice but I just want to say you are not alone.

    Your health is the most important thing and your main focus at the moment should be getting your stress levels sorted, even if this takes more than the end of the week.

    I'm an NQT in my final term. I passed my first two terms at my previous school and my current school are now saying I'm on track to fail. I've since been signed off for a month and now think I may leave teaching.

    So many people are stressed and breakdown because of the environment in education, so look after yourself!
  3. Honeybee88

    Honeybee88 New commenter

    Thank you Rachelcg. Sorry to hear about your situation too.

    It is very frustrating, especially after getting through the pgce without issues.

    I think it is so sad that so many people are entering the profession excited and enthusiastic after spending so many years working towards a career in teaching, only to be trodden down and forced out by members of senior leadership within a few months.

    Hope it all works out for you, and look after yourself too.
  4. drek

    drek Star commenter

    That is an all too common experience these days. Unbelievable! But having experienced it myself and seen it happen to many many staff, I believe every word.
    A lot of teachers not just NQTs are in the same boat. So if you pass that year, you can still be hauled over the coals in exactly the same ridiculously ruthless degrading manner. 5 years or 10 years down the line, as if you are a person with absolutely no rights once you become a teacher.
    The only people with rights are those that announce it to loudly to everyone else, usually those that take away everyone else's.
    What a system!
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi honeybee88

    You don't need to put yourself under the extreme stress you describe in your post. Find out who your supporting body is and find out what your options are regarding finishing your NQT and the other matters you raise. From reading these posts it appears that whether people pass or not depends on how supportive the school they are in are. You might have an entirely different experience in another school. Keep in contact with your union as well since they will be able to advise you on other matters like references.

    It is so upsetting to read your story and the other teachers who are treated so badly. Education is supposed to be a caring and nurturing environment - not a place to bring people into the ground.

    I will be thinking of you today.
    Honeybee88 likes this.
  6. ellephantf

    ellephantf New commenter

    I felt the need to reply to this - it sounds like you are a hard working, conscientious teacher and any school would be lucky to have you.
    I don't think that the problem is that TEACHING is not for you...it sounds like your SCHOOL is not right for you.
    I had an awful experience in my NQT year - 3 parallel classes, but yet we all planned individually? And the only "support" I got were observations?! When I look at NQTs in my current school, they pretty much got given most of the planning in their first year!!!!!!!!! I actually almost left teaching after that year - they almost failed my NQT year. The county came in though and reading between the lines, they realised that there was more going on in the school. My contract came to an end and I went to a LOVELY school for a year, then been at my current school for 6 years. That school was placed into special measures and the head left teaching.
    I would call your union for sure... write a log as evidence.

    I would get the hell out of there too. I look back and wish I had left that school earlier.
    Hope it gets better for you xxx
    Dragonlady30 likes this.
  7. old_dobbin

    old_dobbin Occasional commenter

    In my humble opinion, a lot of marking is futile and even counterproductive when a lot of errors are corrected. It can make children feel overwhelmed by the volume of mistakes they have to learn to correct. Most children-and adults- look mainly at the grade at the bottom of the page and are encouraged/discouraged by it. At one school I worked at, I had an impossible marking workload because I was given a large number of short literacy classes. One Christmas I went home with several milk crates filled with sheets of work on A4 to mark. I ended up throwing a lot of it away and no-one even noticed.

    Now, the system has gone stark raving bonkers and managements don't know it. There is no way I could work in such an oppressive and stultifying environment and am bewildered to hear that so many young teachers apparently manage to do all or most of the pointless sh1t that is demanded of them. Eventually, no doubt, it will dawn on those in control that everything needs to change, that teachers have to be given autonomy, respect and enough time to teach without pointless micromanagement. Automatic pay progression will one day be reintroduced because it gives teachers at least something of a career to look forward to. Teachers' job security will -one day- improve and it won't be possible to sack a teacher in one term. One day there will be independent, external moderation of teaching observations done for appraisal.

    I can't tell the OP what to do, but if I were just starting my teaching career and this happened to me, I would GET OUT NOW and do something else for a living. For what they're paying you, it's just not worth it.
    petenewton likes this.
  8. Alldone

    Alldone Senior commenter

    Have a go at applying to Private schools - when I first started teaching it was in a large private school on a one year temporary contract. The support I had was brilliant. The Head of Science said I could plan my lessons with his help, or I could just use his lesson plans, worksheets, homeworks and mark schemes! My next school also provided detailed support to all NQTs. They usually stay for many years, and the only reason they leave is if promotion is offered at another school.
  9. Honeybee88

    Honeybee88 New commenter

    Thank you all.

    Same thing has now happened in our school elephantf. We've gone from sharing planning across our year group to all planning individually, which has increased the workload once more.

    I couldn't agree more with you old_dobbin that all the hassle is not worth the money, I've completely lost sight of why I want to be a teacher.
  10. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    Is it any wonder that there will soon be a shortage of teachers if what the OP wrote is an example of what is happening to new teachers?
    Make a chart in your diary and count off the days. This school is NOT for you, or any other new teacher.
    Good luck in your next position.
    petenewton and Honeybee88 like this.
  11. Mrskeletor

    Mrskeletor New commenter

    My NQT experience wasn't too far off this. Some people just love to see others suffer. I personally had a sociopath as a mentor, but saw through as I am a good judge of character. This didn't sit well with her and she began to lie about me and make obscene rumors to make me feel uncomfortable. In my opinion, I would leave that place STRAIGHT AWAY. You will feel the stress levels drop immediately. Look for another place to continue your NQT year, but be selective. Only go for a job if you think you would be happy there. If you can't find one, then maybe think of something else to do. However, this isn't the be all and end all. Just get out of that school and think again!

    Hope this helps!
    petenewton likes this.
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    What a difficult time you are having, totally off-putting for anyone keen to be a teacher!

    It might be worth looking for another job, perhaps even for Easter, as you can finish your NQT year in another school, even an independent one.

    Doing NQT induction in an independent school

    If you need help and advice about the applications, come over to JobSeekers and see me there.

    Best wishes

  13. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Such wonderful kind comments and help for you honeybee from above posters...it is encouraging to know there are decent schools and leaders about if only you can find them.

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