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Welcome To Teaching!

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by HobanWashburne, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    Feeling a bit down again after a few OK weeks!
    Teaching really is a rollercoaster ride. However I feel that across the board reading what I see on here new teachers are being let down and I feel it is more widespread than thought.
    I came into teaching to actually try and make a difference and help people progress and learn, however with the behaviour currently as it is in most of my classes this is very difficult to do so. I have tried constantly to attempt to gain control however being given a bottom set heavy timetable with quite a few characters, I am still fighting a losing battle. I attempted to use sanctions, but having 29 children in detention at lunchtime (from different classes) almost everyday and the same children to boot as well as phoning home and setting school sanctions in the past few weeks has taken its toll and I have started to let things go as I grow weary. I have kept records of all this as evidence.
    Just the other day I was thinking... since I started this career (PGCE and NQT) I have only taught a top set class for less than 5% of my timetable this year (PGCE I never taught a top set) - 2 lessons a week.
    I feel let down but more so this year as I towards the end of my PGCE year I was getting Good to Outstanding grades and this continued at the beginning of my NQT year...I seemed to have slipped down into Satisfactory lessons and I fear soon maybe an Unsatisfactory may be on the cards (apart from an OFSTED observation which was a Good).
    Now obviously behaviour is a major issue for NQTs and for Mentors and grading lessons - however I feel I have been given an impossible task of getting 4 bottom set classes into line - logistically speaking just issusing the detentions, making sure that they attend, keeping the paperwork, monitoring their unsubmitted homeworks has become a nightmare and one that I feel I cannot keep up with.
    Need some advice on what options I have at this stage.
  2. Also I must add that there seems to be culture in which pupil misbehaviour towards new staff is accepted.
    Speaking to a great deal of staff they all seem to state something along the lines that 'It is very difficult if not impossible for new staff to win over year 10/11 students' for example and that they recall the same experience when they started and that if they moved school the same would occur.
    Frankly I find this amusing, surely more should be done in schools if this is the case and maybe if it is the case its not fair to give an NQT two bottom year 11 groups and 1 bottom year 10 group!
    I expected a baptism of fire entering this profession having gone to a tough school myself, I just didn't expect this!
    As I said - Welcome To Teaching!

  3. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    Top sets are often not given to NQTs for various reasons. If you get one, it's more likely to be KS3 than KS4. There are good reasons for this. That's not to say it should always be done but, when it is, it's often to maintain results and to guard against parents' complaints. You should see more top sets on your timetable when you've proved you're staying around and can manage the workload.
    Behaviour aside, bottom sets tend to be smaller and generate less marking so it's not all bad. But, yes, behaviour. I've always found that hard work in a new school but, by this time of year, it's usually better and soon, you'll be thinking about new classes for September.
    Detentions often work but yours don't, if you have repeat offenders. Can you suggest to your HOD that once you've done two detentions, the students are referred up to him/her? There should be something like this in the school behaviour policy.
    Don't worry about lesson gradings so long as they are satisfactory. PGCE isn't 'proper teaching' is it? You must see that it's not possible to work in the same way when you have an NQT timetable? And next year, it'll be more lessons. Worry about keeping on top of everything. Set work that doesn't need marking - oral presentations, writing that can be peer marked etc. I don't know what subject you teach but for me, in English, marking's a killer so I plan speaking and listening for times when I have a lot of KS4 coursework etc. Don't set homework that will cause problems. Worksheets rather than extended answers etc. Think about lessons that run into break and plan homework to be handed in then so you can keep them back rather than chase them up.
    Y11 classes are difficult to take over. I've done it several times. One group loved me because I rescued them after a disrupted y10. The rest resented me to some degree for various reasons. Y10 bottom sets often come round in y11. They struggle with the demands of GCSE and will blame you. Next year, they'll be older and used to you. Hang in there - it gets better!


  4. As an NQT you will almost certainly have higher expectations of behaviour than a lot of experienced teachers. I once sat in a class (observing as a potential teacher) at a high performing comp (middle set) whose teacher was quite content for the pupils to quietly chatter, doodle, mobile text, etc while she was addressing the class. Children will naturally ?push? a teacher that appears to be too tightly wound, and if they can push them over the top many of them will see that as victory. (Nothing personal of course)! I took over the classes of one such NQT who left the school without completing induction. Are you the sort that demands subservience from your pupils? If so then a lot of bottom set Y 10/11?s will be resentful of you. Gaining their respect can be hard work and goes beyond just the normal class contact, such as talking to them individually after lessons perhaps with a view to understanding their problems in life. Some of them will be living in hellish conditions. The trick is unwinding just enough that you are seen to be empathetic towards them, but at the same time keeping some semblance of discipline and distance. I suggest, however, that you will end up lowering your expectation of behaviour. It must be remembered also that higher sets present their own problems. I had a top set Y7 pupil who already had GCSE Grade C due to gifted and talented acceleration at primary who became disaffected and very troublesome because he felt that he had nothing more to learn in the subject. I remember as I was going through my GTP training how, when I complained about the behaviour of certain pupils to experienced teachers, they would put it down to my lack of experience. The funny thing was though that they complained about certain pupil?s behaviour in the staff room and some of these pupils were fine in my lessons! As regards to detention I suggest you are over-using them and they have lost their impact. I never thought that lunchtime detentions were very effective anyway. Although after school detention is a pain to organise, including the obligatory letter home (which I gather Michael Gove would like to see waived) it seems to act as a stronger deterrent IMO. Depending on your school policy, I would perhaps be sending the worst offenders to the cooler/HoD/Dep Head. An experienced teacher would do that so why shouldn?t you as an NQT? At least that will give you a breather.
  5. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    This is what makes them easier in y11. You need that discipline and distance when dealing with whole class but be able to lighten up when dealing with them as individuals and small groups. While I wouldn't let a class talk while I was talking, I try to minimise chalk and talk with lower sets and break it up with short activities. Some of those kids will not be able to give their attention to something for more than ten minutes and need tightly structured lessons. Unfortunately, when you're struggling with a group, it's really difficult to keep up the pace. You can only do your best.

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