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Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by SMK20, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. SMK20

    SMK20 New commenter

    hi everyone
    I am an NQT currently 8 weeks in to term and I am really struggling. I am doing well and keeping on top of workload however I just feel like I am completely lost and that I dread going in to school every day. Mostly everyone at school is nice, although my class is really difficult, and I don't feel like people are really helping me. I am not sure what to do and just want to leave. I enjoyed all of my voluntary experience and my placements but now just feel as though this isn't what I want to do. I'm not sure what I'm looking for on here, any advice from those in a similar position? Or has been in a similar position?
    Any help would be appreciated
  2. marcus0304

    marcus0304 New commenter

    ME, thank goodness. I am in a school all staff are grand but I just feel like I am doing a crappy job and I have no idea what I am doing or if I want to do this. No idea what to do.
  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    The first term is an uphill battle. It's such a long time from September to Christmas! You will feel exhausted, and you will feel that you don't know what is going on. This is normal.

    I'm in my 3rd year of teaching, and it's taken until now for lots of things to click. So, feeling 'lost' is normal too. It takes a while to understand the curriculum, to see how things fit together, to get used to being able to anticipate the students' ability and the potential elements they'll struggle with, and so on.

    Are you having weekly NQT meetings with a mentor? What is your mentor like? Do you get on? Are they experienced? Are they giving you suggestions and targets? If not, make sure this happens.

    If you feel that people are not supporting you, have a think about what support you actually want. Would you like to observe a certain lesson, or see how someone else deals with behaviour? Or do you just want some sympathy or empathy? You might not get get the sympathy/empathy at school, as your colleagues may not remember what it's like to be a new teacher. You can get that on here though, from most people.

    What aspects are you not enjoying? Making a list will help you to determine whether you are feeling the newbie blues, or if the school is not for you, or if teaching is not for you.
  4. SMK20

    SMK20 New commenter

    This is exactly how I feel too. That I am getting no where with the class and that I am doing a rubbish job every day. You can't get away from it either because you're constantly working on stuff for or thinking about the class. I can't shake the feeling that this isn't for me and i don't know what to do
  5. SMK20

    SMK20 New commenter

    Hi, thanks for your reply. I am having weekly mentor meetings yes, but everything seems to be "putting a patch on" rather than coming up with permanant solutions for things which is frustrating me. My mentor tries to be really helpful but there's only so much they can do, too.

    I have no idea if it is this "newbie blues" but I can't shake the feeling that I am in the wrong place. I am a very 'gut instinct' kind of person and my gut is telling me it's not right. I know that's no reason to leave a job that I've worked hard to get, but it's just how I feel currently.
  6. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    To echo Blue Skies many NQTs take time to adjust to their first professional post. You need to manage your expectations about what teaching involves it really is about persisting and making small steps towards where you want the class to be by next summer. Induction is 3 terms for a reason and don't write it off until you have a decent period of experience to reflect upon.
    If you do still feel that you don't fit then you need to look elsewhere but you need to be clear about what the new opportunity would provide that your current post does not.
    galerider123 likes this.
  7. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    What things are frustrating you?

    You may be in the wrong place - wrong school, wrong job - but you don't necessarily need to determine that in the first few weeks of term. Unless you are becoming unwell, or are having issues with induction, I'd say keep going. It's better to have completed the NQT year, even if you decide later on to move onto something else.

    I understand what you mean about gut instinct, but sometimes you need to go through a less happy time to get to where you want to be - if you finish the NQT year you'll have more experience, and a greater understanding of yourself and traching, which will help you find a school you really want to be at.
    SilverMayFall likes this.
  8. SilverMayFall

    SilverMayFall New commenter


    Fellow NQT here. I'm also feeling that I have no idea what is going on! Ha. BUT I'm not expecting to so early on. Please be patient and see it through, It's early days.

    My plan is just to take every day as it comes.... some are good, some are bad, some are ok. It's intense. I think you just have to reflect, sweep it under the rug and try again.

    You have come so far, don't forget that. If you want to share experiences of being an NQT please get in touch.
    galerider123 likes this.
  9. SilverMayFall

    SilverMayFall New commenter

    I love your posts!
    blueskydreaming and TheGentleman like this.
  10. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    Agreed. @blueskydreaming has such great advice.
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  11. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    And it's not just NQTs. Many experienced teachers take time to adjust to new jobs in new schools and some will be feeling just as lost and useless as you may be now. Not saying this to scare you, just to let you know that in no way are you the only one feeling this and IT DOES GET BETTER!!!

    Hang on in there, you'll be feeling miles better and much less lost by Christmas and by the end of the year might actually get to like it ;)

    Good luck.
  12. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    That's so sweet! :)
  13. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    If you are still feeling like you are struggling at half term why not go have a chat with your gp about the options for support with how you are feeling. I'm suggesting this as a bit of proactive monitoring of your mental health not that you are at the point of being signed off. It's easier to get support and make it more effective if it's before breaking point and if you do end up genuinely struggling with that too (as it does happen to many teachers) you might find the recovery is easier if you prempted it.
  14. Sanz1981

    Sanz1981 Occasional commenter

    Same. Apparently we have assessments next week I didn't realise and haven't covered 2/3 of the content
  15. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    You need to write all assessment dates onto a calendar or similar, in order to be organised. Try to get these dates as soon as possible at the start of the school year - they might be on the SOW, or a departmental calendar. Doing this will help to ensure you've taught everything you need to, and that you don't have too many assessments in the same week (too much marking!).

    Are you not following the SOW? Or are there none? What content have you not covered?

    Talk to your mentor if you think the students will perform badly in the assessment because you haven't covered everything. The students might blame you if they don't get the grades they want, and it will affect your relationship with them. It might be possible to push the assessment back by a week to make sure they're well prepared.
  16. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    It is "putting a patch on" but that's what happens to most teachers at this point in term and certainly to new ones. This is your first year of teaching and planning and assessing your classes - you're not going to get everything right first time! The first term as a teacher is the toughest. By Christmas you'll be seeing the possibility of some permanent solutions and by March you'll be feeling more confident and happier.
    tinalouisegriffiths and Alice K like this.
  17. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    The NQT year is a very challenging time and even the most talented trainees that I’ve worked with come t on how different / difficult the move from trainee to NQT is, so, you are most certainly not alone.

    During my NQT year I seriously considered getting out of teaching - it was all I’d ever wanted to do and nothing like I expected. However, things got better, I settled and 16 years on I really do love my job. That’s not to say it’s been easy and after 13 years in my first school I moved to a new school and experienced the uncertainty and challenges of being new again! I’m now (nearly three years in) settled and content again.

    Give it time; be patient. If your gut is right and you’re in the wrong place - try another school before quitting completely.

    Be realistic, initially solutions to challenges will be sticking plasters to hold to give you time to find the permanent fix.

    Sometimes in teaching you have to fight the fires before you light the fires!

    Good Luck & ask for as much advice as you need - there are plenty of excellent sources of support on these forums!
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  18. tigi

    tigi Occasional commenter

    Keep your chin up, it does get better. But it might get worse first! You'll be fine though, organise, prioritise and eat healthy.
    galerider123 likes this.
  19. ElizaMorrell

    ElizaMorrell Occasional commenter

    I was once advised to write down one thing each day that made me smile and stick it on the fridge so you can always see it. You could've had the worst day, but there will be always be one kid who made you giggle, or who remembered a vocab word, or who used a full stop correctly without being told to, or who accidentally let out a gigantic burp mid-sentence.

    In my NQT year, I started keeping these small things in a notebook. No matter how long you teach for, you will still have times where you feel like you're doing a crappy job and you spend a week searching for non-ed jobs because you can't take it any more. You need to have something that brings you back to the best job in the world.

    Keep reading, keep researching, keep asking questions, keep trying new ideas. As your knowledge base grows, your confidence will grow. You'll get there!
    blueskydreaming and welshwizard like this.

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