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Struggling NQT

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by ellie_rose, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. ellie_rose

    ellie_rose New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I'm an NQT who is teaching Year Six in a school in special measures. I have only been working there about a month but I'm feeling like I'm struggling. I had a really good PGCE year and got good to outstanding in every observation, never felt too stressed and enjoyed my work. At this school I'm feeling the opposite.

    Firstly, I was observed teaching by the Headteacher last week and I felt he was a bit harsh on me. He only came in for the first 10 minutes (when I was explaining the task) and left, then came back in the last 5 minutes so he only saw 15 minutes of an hour long lesson. I had planned something interactive, with the children working in groups on an activity I'd spent ages thinking about. He didn't see any of it, then in the feedback told me it was satisfactory but he had concerns about the pupil engagement. I felt this was a bit unfair as he had been out of the room during the main part of the lesson.

    As the school is in special measures, I am now being targeted with the SMT telling me I have to get my lessons up to good - making me feel like I've been labelled as a so-so teacher when they've not really even observed me properly. I was told I'd have loads of support (with the deputy head team teaching with me) as Year Six is tough for an NQT to take on, but instead I've been left completely alone. As the school is in special measures, HMI is constantly being mentioned and I feel very panicky about it as my confidence is low after the negative comments I've received about my teaching. They are due this week and I'm dreading it.

    Every day I dread going in. My class are also difficult as their old teacher (who they loved) was 'let go' after a bad series of observations and they are finding it hard to accept me. She also keeps coming back to visit them and is regularly talking to the pupils on Facebook, which is making it really hard for them to move on. They are disrespectful and constantly talk about her.

    I'm feeling very down as I was really looking forward to my first job and it's been a nightmare so far. On top of this, my PPA and NQT time is often being taken away from me with my mentor making me attend meetings or do jobs for her so I rarely get any time to plan in the week and am overworked at weekends. I am so worried about the HMI visit as well. Does anyone have any advice for me?
  2. Hi Ellie,

    Am not going to lie to you, Special Measures is a very hard experience and you will constantly wonder if you can actually do this job! Having worked in this kind of environment for 2 years I've found there are times where you feel like giving it all up but there are also times when you realise that all you've done is worth it.
    My experience of HMI has been very positive. They aren't there to make the judgements that an OFSTED inspector would, in that you don't get a 'grade' for your lesson. they are there to help the whole school make improvements.
    One thing that helped get me through was talking to my colleagues. When we first went into Special Measures our team became very fractured; other colleagues putting the blame for our situation on other teachers and washing their hands of the situation. We lost some colleagues and gained some more and eventually grew into a team that were determined to get out of the category. We succeeded last 1/2 term, but it has been a hell of a slog filled with a lot of self -doubt (even from some of the teachers who appear to be most confident and in control) and an awful lot of tears. My poor husband has worried about me lots during this time!
    I'm on maternity leave now and I expect that when I go back to the school it will be a different place to when I left, all for the better. Special Measures is a slog, but honestly it really is worth it.
    Stick in and if you ever need to vent, feel free to come on here and leave a message
  3. v12


    Ask her not to. Ask the Head not to allow her to.
    Tell the Head. Tell the Police. That is a real no-no. It is hugely irresponsible thing for any teacher to do - especially as the children are seriously underage to have Facebook accounts, anyway. It may even be illegal.
    Remind her next time you're showing her the door!
    Keep you pecker up, ellie_rose - you sound as if you've just had a slightly wobbly start.

    Good Luck.
  4. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    It is not illegal for a 13 year old as such in the UK (It is illegal in the US), but it's certainly against the Terms of Use for Facebook which are, of course, based around US law. Their account could be shut down if Facebook is made aware.
    The school should have an Internet Policy that spells out how communication is conducted with parents/students and almost certainly includes Facebook or personal e-mail communication as a significant breach of it (Staff school e-mail to student school e-mail or parental e-mail are about the only acceptable ways). The Head should be informed about this and could, of course, take it further.

  5. nemo.

    nemo. Occasional commenter

    Hi there seems a lot wrong! Firstly you should be judged against the relevant stand. Outstanding as a PGCE student means making outstanding progress towards the Qs not that you are outstanding. That is plain silly. Same as an nqt. You are judged against the Cs. A good at nqt is roughly equal to satisfactory from ofsted. Basically to be honest I think both your PGCE tutors/school and current one are not good at observations or very prof. One gave too high one too low and you are feeling down. A satisfactory is all you should be. I never believe anyone who is outstanding in their nqt year! Even a naturally good teacher would just be good as it takes a while to make a good teacher even with natural flair. Basically I would make sure you are assessed against the Cs not as a qualified teacher. You should be assessed with reference to meeting these standards not whatever the emperor (many heads have adolf hitler syndromes to be honest) says!
  6. v12


    Ellie_rose stated Year 6. That is 10 or 11 years old. That is illegal.
  7. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    It's against Facebook's terms and conditions.

    Why do you think it's "illegal"? Under what Law in England & Wales is it illegal for an eleven year old to sign up to a website?
  8. v12


    It's not Facebook's terms and conditions which are the main concern.
    It's the blurring of boundaries between school staff's professional and private lives.
    Or in this case, ex-staff.
    Adults who befriend 11-years-olds and chat to them on social-networking sites, are at best acting in a highly inappropriate way and at worst criminal.
  9. v12


    N.B. I reckon she'd have a very swift visit from the local plod and her computer and phone confiscated instantly if a complaint were made.
  10. If the school was already in special measures when they took yuou on then they should have had permission from the HMI to do so, normally a NQT cannot be taken on in a school on special measures. They should also have the backing of the LA. I would advise that you contact the LA person in charge of NQTs so that they can also provide extra support. Normally the LA sits with the school todiscuss the support plan for a NQT in a school on SM.
    If you have been promiseed support and it is not forthcoming then you ust make this known to your mentor and trhe LA. In a school on SM there are so many things that need to be taken care of a NQT can be overlooked and, as you are seeing, pressure applied to make that person exceeed rather than just meet the induction standards - that is a difficult thing to do with no help.
    Make sure that you document any and all matters relkating to your induction and that you rceord in writing any concerns.
    The Sage

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