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Struggling NQT - Could I have some advice please?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by didau, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Yes. I have felt that stressed and miserable. My NQT year was hellish also. My mentor went from lovely to livid so quickly I barely had term to take it in and to this day I'm not sure why. My first term was great and everything was going swimmingly and then some time after Christmas it all began to go wrong.

    I would dread every day exactly as you describe and Sundays were a very special kind of private hell.

    Unsurprisingly, I was ill a lot. And unsurprisingly that didn't help matters. I got so would up during the Easter break that I snapped. I had a nervous breakdown and eventually, after some negotiations, I quit.

    It was without doubt the best decision I ever made. I started supply teaching in September and got a series of short term contracts which allowed me to complete the NQT paperwork.

    I have now been teaching for 12 years and am Head of English at a great school. I'm even considering applying for leadership positions.

    My advice would be to get yourself referred to occupational health and to speak to your union for legal advice - the position may well be very different now. But get out of there. You don't HAVE to put it on your CV.

    Good luck
  2. Before you resign you should talk to your union and ask them to help you with this so that you have a negotiated exit that covers things like leavingdates and a reference that will not stop you from progressing. The thing to remember is that not all schools and jobs suit all teachers - this is an issue that is not talked about enough. There are assumptions made that anyone with QTS can work in any school, wrong. Different schools suit different people and finding the right one is important. If you can complete another full term then you would have two completed terms - the terms are not passed or failed, just completed.
  3. cazzielou

    cazzielou New commenter

    I had a similar problem in my first teaching year. I went into a school having finished my degree getting good with outstanding features for most of my teaching and was very confident and bubbly. As soon as I started I realised that it was a very tight bunch of teachers who didn't much appreciate new teachers coming in with new ideas, there was no way I could have an idea which was in any way useful to them as I was an NQT.

    I got very ill and developed stress arthritis and when it got so bad that I could no longer walk or lift my arms to write on the board I decided that there was no way I could carry on. I looked into long term sick leave and my head basically told me that she couldn't afford long term sick in the budget and if I didn't quit she would fail me for my NQT year so I could never teach again. I spoke to the union but they weren't much help and as I had been struggling to get anywhere, finding I was now getting inadequate lessons for every observation I decided it would be best to quit anyway. There was no way I would ever go back there, the Sunday night panic attacks had become a regular thing!

    It totally knocked my confidence and I vowed to never go back into teaching, I had just decided that I was obviously not cut out for the vocation. I went to work in a shop and a year after my niece asked me to go on a school trip with her. I went and met her teacher (who was the deputy head) and got talking, he invited me back on a few school trips and got to know me and the way I was with the children. Last September one of the TAs had to go on sick leave so he asked me to cover her for 4 weeks, that turned into a permenant PPA cover position (as a TA) and then after Easter I started to get offered supply cover. I am now doing regular supply plus I am also the PPA coordinator for the school.

    The head is brilliant and is trying to find a way for me to do my NQT year with them as she has seen how much my confidence has grown over the past year and she is confident that I can pass an NQT easily.

    It is absolutely a case of the school, not a problem with your teaching ability. Think long and hard about whether you can stick it out longer and if you will be able to pass your induction at that school. But if its really that hard you are better off saving your health and trying something else. Just do your best to get a foot in the door at your local schools (volunteer if you have to, they always want extra hands in the classroom) and you will find something, you can explain your situation, any decent head will understand and as long as you have shown how good you can be they won't care about your past problems, its likely that they have come across this before or even experienced it themselves (it happens a lot!)

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