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Thinking of quitting- help?!

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by thetapdancingteach, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. thetapdancingteach

    thetapdancingteach New commenter

    Ok, so I'm an NQT and I'm obviously about to finish my first term.
    I really struggled on my first placement last year as I had a really difficult mentor and just felt like I couldn't do anything right, but then started my block B and things were a bit better. I ended up passing with an outstanding and I got a job in my second placement school. The problem is, I'm now finishing the first term and I absolutely hate it. I'm dreading going back to school tomorrow, and I don't feel like I can face even the next three weeks up to Christmas. I feel so down and depressed, and I've been ill this week as well and didn't feel able to take a day off as I couldn't face catching up when I went back.
    The thing is, I love some of my classes and I don't want to leave them in the lurch. Some of my classes are awful, and their behaviour makes me dread going to class some days, but even in those classes there are one or two students that I have a really good relationship with and I think I'd feel awful if I left them.
    What do I do?? please help! :(
    agathamorse likes this.
  2. teselectronic

    teselectronic Occasional commenter

    Be 'positive', you need to focus on your good points, you obviously have ability and potential.
    I would suggest most, if not all teachers are subjected to negative experiences during their NQT period.
    You need to ask for appropriate support and recognition for your contribution.
    We have all been subjected to criticism, indeed, it's part of your initial journey!
    Turn the negatives to the positives, you will succeed with exemplary positive teaching.
    If you have not already done so, read a GCSE in Psychology, I would suggest this will help you to understand inadequate mentors', we are here to help.
  3. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Breaking your OP down into two parts:
    1. You hate your job and it's making you ill.
    2. You feel guilty about leaving some students 'in the lurch'
    You are an NQT so I assume you are in your early twenties. You have about 45 years of working life left. You are a new teacher so many of the students view you as fair game, continually testing your limits. As you become more established within the school behaviour may improve as you lay down and enforce your classroom discipline but it will take time. You must make a decision whether you want to weather the storm for a few more years or would it be best to look for an alternative career now while you are still quite young.

    As for your students with whom you have a good relationship, they are resilient. Their education and learning will not collapse because you are not there. These are the students who will probably form good relations with most of their teachers because they want to learn and make the most of their education. In years to come they may look back on you and vaguely remember your face and remember that they liked you but you are unlikely to be a huge lingering influence on them. In all probability they have had a number of short term teachers in various subjects (I assume you are secondary), That's just the way things are in schools. You cannot let your loyalty to certain students determine issues that is affecting your health and by implication your family and loved ones.

    Breaking my response into two parts:
    1. Decide what you're going to do, stick with teaching or find another job.
    2. Don't let loyalty to students hold you back. They'll cope.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. nqtDramaTeach

    nqtDramaTeach New commenter

    I'm in the exact same boat as you, I cry almost every week because of how miserable teaching is making me. I constantly find myself scrolling through job sites and hoping to find one that pays just as much. I talk to other NQTs and they feel completely different so then I dont know if it is just my school or the performing arts department. Theres three weeks left until christmas and I honestly dont think I can do it.
  5. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    You passed with an outstanding and got the job you wanted - you clearly have potential. Only you will know if the job is really for you, but I'm sure the majority of teachers will tell you that they had similar feelings during their NQT year - exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed and swamped, feeling that they were running just to stand still and would never, ever be able to cope with it all. This is all normal!

    Everyone is tired, it's been a long term - and you've been ill as well, which has undoubtedly made you feel even lower and less able to cope. Can you talk to your NQT mentor? Decide what the most pressing problem is and ask for help - perhaps some support with behaviour management in the trickiest classes. Try to get through the next three weeks then you'll have time to think things through over the holidays and decide what you want to do. Don't make big decisions when you feel the way you do at the moment.
    agathamorse and ViolaClef like this.
  6. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    As @sunshineneeded says, this is all normal! Your first term - your first year - your first few years in teaching - are tough. There will be times when you feel you can’t cope and times when you are ill. I am sure we have all been there. Teaching is a job where you build skills, competency, resilience and respect. You get better at it, but it takes a while. I wouldn’t advise making a judgement after only a term. That’s like putting on your swimming costume, standing on the first step of the swimming pool and then deciding that you don’t want to learn to swim. I think you need to give it time.
    Have a chat with your mentor and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. Take things a day at a time. The Christmas holidays are just around the corner and I imagine every teacher is looking forward to the break!
    agathamorse and sunshineneeded like this.
  7. bigt40404

    bigt40404 New commenter

    Hello, I finished my NQT last year. Classes and students were generally good and I did enjoy the teaching. My mentor was aggressive and unpleasant but you cant win everything.

    What I couldn't tolerate were 70+ hour weeks. I have a family, hobbies and I value my mental health. So I got through the year and quit.

    I'm now earning substantially more for half the hours and comparatively no stress. The point is not to say oh hey look at me now, but it shows there are alternatives out there.

    Quitting teaching made me appreciate life, the free time I now have and puts everything into perspective.

    Your happiness must ALWAYS come first. Consider whether you wish to sacrifice your 20s and 30s (your prime years, in my opinion) in pursuit of a teaching career, it's great highs and abysmal lows.

    I weighed it up and simply went with common sense.

    In conclusion, I say get this year done and weigh it up at the end. Finishing will give you a sense of accomplishment, perspective and resilience which you can take forward in whatever career you choose. I sympathise greatly with you and wish you the best.
    AlwaysAdaptable likes this.
  8. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    A great post @bigt40404. What are you doing now? We'd love to know and you may inspire other prospective escapees. Good luck in your new career.
  9. bigt40404

    bigt40404 New commenter

    Kind comments! I'm essentially an International Account Manager for a Stairlift company close to home. Thankfully able to use my qualifications (languages) regularly.
    Shedman likes this.

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