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What a shame...

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by anon261, Dec 3, 2010.

  1. I just can't help feeling that people are thinking that NQT's are complaining about having to work hard and i really don't think that's the case.
    Most people i know need some sort of encouragement and praise to do well at something - even if it's just a couple of half decent comments after an observation and it comes across that some mentors aren't doing this. We're all teachers - we should be doing this to our students on a daily basis!
    Even worse, i don't think some mentors are even letting NQT's know how they can improve and just literally telling them that they are going to fail or that their teaching is sub standard.
    I don't know - this is just how it comes across in the posts i've read.
    Perhaps i started this post wrong - what i should have put was 'here is a thread for hints and tips from those experienced teachers who have been there and done that'...!

  2. Something that rarely happens in teaching.... you get used to it.
  3. But why?
    I've worked in a couple of different jobs - one in sales, and one for the LA in C&FS, and people have always given each other praise! It brings positive team morale and a sense of being appreciated as well as boosting confidence and encouraging you to aim high! We know all this - we do it when we teach, so why not to each other as teachers? Surely mentoring another teacher is also teaching? - You're teaching them to teach, teaching them how to be a good teacher?No-one starts off as the complete teacher - it is a learning process.
    I promise to myself that I will never be the kind of teacher who completely writes off other members of staff by not showing my support and appreciation for what they do - or are trying to do.
  4. In our school there is always appreciation and support between staff. It's the SLT who have a whole range of words missing from their vocabulary...thankyou being one of them.
  5. I have found this thread very interesting indeed! A true debate which has fractured the teaching community. I can see both sides here. I am an NQT and one which has been praised and supported well but even I can see why the statistic of 50% of new teachers leaving the profession within the first five years is a reality. This can be attributed to several factors, I have no doubt workload is one of them, now I am not a work shy person in fact I am completely the opposite... I have no family commitments, I have very few friends and I don't really have many hobbies, so I have the time to invest. I had no misgivings that marking, planning etc. Would not take time, however there are issues with this.

    Behaviour management now seems majorly focused on entertaining, sorry I mean 'engaging' children, fast paced lessons, lots of activities, high teacher energy and enthusiasm are just part of this...the cost of this is immense to an NQT who doesn't have a bank of lessons to fall back on and with schemes of work which are quite old (and not engaging). This then means maybe an hour (usually more) to plan a lesson which over the course of a week that's 23 hours+. Now this is unrealistic so teaching at the school I am at (you must entertain - otherwise bad behaviour) this means I have to endure some lessons which even though planned quickly turn to chaos as I don't have the time nor energy to plan and implement engaging lessons every lesson. This means more work trying to control behaviour... More detentions and more crowd control which is tiring.

    Moving onto behaviour... No matter how much a PGCE course tries to prepare you it really cannot get you ready for what an NQT must endure. At the school I'm at new teachers are put through their paces...children left, right and centre test you and classes will misbehave (especially year 11s - to them NQTs are fresh meat ready for digestion). And I seem to have been given bottom set year 9, 10 and 11s? Which I'm not complaining about... I have taken it in my stride as its good experience for the future (even though NQT guidelines state that I shouldn't have to deal with extreme behaviour...yet!) You may set sanctions but it is a rough ride which has also been tiring especially when if observed and the children misbehave this is reflected in the OFSTED grading... 'sorry that lesson even though extremely well planned and implemented etc was only satisfactory as two children decided to hit each other which was obviously your fault as they were not engaged'. Plus guidance on behaviour management is shady with help like 'yeah, that child is a known issue around the school' etc. Which is again all well and good saying that to ease the suffering of self esteem, but they are still in my lesson which is being OFSTED graded...so I need a little more than that please!

    Marking - I have no problem with this part of the job it takes time but must be done - but if you want all these other things done something has got to give. I won't complain here or anywhere else and so far my mentor and the head think I am doing a great job so I'm OK with that but obviously if comments came up about me not fulfilling my duties I would obviously explain my position and the fact that I am working so much time, and that I would need some support in time management.

    I would say that there are systematic failures in the system of bringing in new teachers into the profession. With 50% leaving within 5 years or less it is obvious. The advertising campaigns do not paint an accurate reflection of teaching, neither does the PGCE in which you are given nice classes which are needed to learn the craft, but leaves trainees in much dilemma when in their NQT year they are having to deal with not so nice children, with literally no idea on how to tackle extreme behavioural issues. This year has been made tougher as last year I only had to deal with low level disruption whereas now I some lessons in which multiple children must be removed due to their inability to accept the authority of a young new teacher.

    I love this profession, and I love teaching the children who come into my classroom enthusiastically ready to learn, and if I'm prepared well are fully engaged and make great progress.

    What would make me quit is the opposite to this which is the nervous feeling I get just before teaching classes which use the lessons with the 'new' teacher to mess around , do no work and happily take sanctions knowing that in the end it is just a detention...which they will not be attending with their parents permission.

    Oh and to top that off get an unsatisfactory observation because of the Childs actions. In summary I am prepared to work hard and do but it is the continual sabotage of my lessons by badly behaved children which is frustrating me and even though I have been told to persist, when you have girls trying to intimidate you and boys beating each other up in your lessons if this continues into next term I think that I may have to consider my sanity and obviously as people have mentioned whether or not this career is for me.
  6. I'm an NQT who qualified through the GTP route. I was a TA for quite a few years before that and I went into the job with my eyes open, knowing that it was demanding, time-consuming and, at times, stressful. I also knew that it could be really good fun, rewarding and enjoyable.
    I found the first few weeks quite hard: even on the GTP where I'd taught 80% for nearly two terms, it was still in somebody else's classroom and they had established all the routines, timetables, seating plans, rewards, guided reading.... looking back, I wasn't required to do much else beyond planning and teaching. So those first few weeks were difficult, but I never thought of giving up because of the work load. Now I have those routines in place, it's getting easier and I can see how next year, I'll do some things slightly differently.
    My biggest gripe is lack of support in school. I am expected to be a fully-formed teacher and to know all the school's routines and expectations (I'm at a different school to where I did my GTP and it's VERY different). I have some real behavioural problems in my class, and despite asking for support, I'm being made to feel as if the problems are my fault. I'm expected to do some things to the same timings and standards as the rest of the teaching staff, despite having had no training on them (APP for reading and maths, for example), and I've come across a few situations where, after the event, I've been asked why I haven't done something: ("Oh, your class haven't written a song for the Harvest Festival? But Class X always do that!")
    If I knew about all of these things, I'd do them. I can't ask if I don't know what I'm asking about. In return, if I ask for help, which I have done, I'd quite like something to be done about it.
    It has taken me a lot of work, many years and a lot of money to get where I am. I am not a quitter, and I'm looking forward to my teaching career getting better and better as I gain experience, confidence and years under my belt. But, the lack of support is a huge problem. If I was thinking about quitting, the complete lack of help, understanding and empathy in my school might just tip me over the edge.
  7. I think teaching is more of a cut-throat profession than people realise. I know the world can not be a nice place generally some of the time. However, in some schools, there is a sense that it is every class against the other. Whoever gets the best results (or display/ assembly etc) wins. You just have to look at some of the comments on this thread to see that.
    We are all in the same job and hopefully wanting the same thing. We want the best for the children. I just get the feeling that some people are in it for their own status and benefit.
    I think some NQTs are quitting because they went into the job for the right reasons and have been demoralised by what they have found!
  8. Having thought about this a little more, I have a theory (and it is just a theory).
    NQTs come into the job keen and wanting to give of their best and realising that they will have to work hard. They soon realise that it is impossible to give of your best in all areas (planning, marking, assessment and whatever else) because there just aren't enough hours in the day. In other professions, people work long hours but they may be working on a project. They are giving their best and, in the end, feel fulfilled having achieved what they set out to achieve.
    Teachers work long hours just to do what is required to keep going. This can be demoralising. Rewards come from seeing a child improve and this may not necessarily be down to you!
    Also, working long hours makes teachers, particularly NQTs tired which, in itself, is not a problem. However, having to perform as a teacher and 'entertain' (as some people put it) the children you really need to be 100%.
    I am not sure if I am making sense here but what I am saying is that teaching is a job where you work on lots of little projects and achieve very little. There are other jobs with similar pay and similar hours where you work on one project and achieve it. Is this why we lose new teachers?
  9. I would beg to differ with the opinion that we 'achieve very little'.
  10. Edu, you make a good point here.
    I don't have an issue with the number of hours I have to work (the holidays serve to make up for the long weeks during term times) but the job can become very demoralising at times.
    One of the problems is that the goalposts often shift and so your measure of success, for yourself and for the children, is difficult to pin down.
    There are a million balls to juggle, plus people come along and throw in flaming torches, chainsaws and anvils every now and then just to complicate things.
    I came from industry and am used to having targets to meet, percentages of this and that to think about and the pressure that this brings but those targets etc. only changed once a year, in consultation, which meant that one could feel satisfaction (or not!). In teaching, I find it frustrating that things change so regularly - at school and dept. level, not just government. Things like, 'you have to show xxx in your planning now' or 'everyone has to line the children up outside every lesson' or 'no-one is allowed to line the children up outside lessons'...surely it is OK for certain things to be decided by the teacher and the children because every class/teacher/subject is different.
    Having said all that, I love the job and will definitely not be leaving!!
  11. So THAT'S what I need to do! Thanks for that! ;)
  12. I totally agree. I don't mind working the long hours but unfortunately especially for new teachers there are not enough hours in the day.
    Therefore after the first 3 weeks I decided to prioritise planning and development of resources as these directly effect the quality of learning over marking and summative assessment. This has made my behaviour management easier as the lessons can be engaging. And in my mind I back up everything I do to USB drive (twice) and have a well resourced lesson avaliable for next year.
    However my marking is the bare minimum that needs to be done...and this now has come under scrutiny from SLT meaning that I now have re-assign time to this from planning meaning an increase in lessons which won't be as engaging. I feel like I cannot win as there is always something more that needs to be done and I understand management is there to create pressure to get the most from staff members but I think NQTs could deal with less pressure and less expectations to be able to do EVERYTHING an experience teacher can do especially as sometimes we are starting a lesson plan/prep from the beginning whereas experienced teachers have a bank of resources and lessons to fall back onto and in my experience are unwilling to share such gold with other members of the profession.
    I would agree that we know that we achieve a great deal, but this can be a thankless job. SLT seem determined to always state your weaknesses ahead of any strengths you may have and there is very little appreciation for the extra things that we do that seem to do e.g. extra curricular clubs for instance (at least in my experience). Nowadays especially in my experience children are now becoming more determined to assess teachers performance and at some schools are encouraged to do so and especially at such an early stage of your career this can also be demoralising.
    As is dealing with the behavioual issues which stem from not being able to plan engaging lessons EVERY lesson and exhaustion from dealing with such issues.

    Plus on top of that I have discovered that being new to children means they will constantly test your ability to deal with their behaviour...which is tiring...and an unwelcome addition to your first year of teaching.
  13. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I spent hours in my NQT year making all-singing, all-dancing IWB files for every lesson, including the LO on every page, adding pictures and links etc. It took a lot of time; I was doing all day sunday and half of Saturday, as well as 2 or 3 hours every evening.
    This year, I decided I would only do that for observations and lessons where I was explaining particularly tricky Maths methods or something. I will locate websites or video clips, add an LO or create a quick plenary activity in break, lunch or before school. This has not adversely affected my teaching or the children's learning, and means I have more time for myself and less stress. I have also taken to using a flipchart to show questions for that lesson's activity, which saves on photocopying, and using the stash of books that are hanging around in cupboards and on shelves to find ready-made resources that will fit the tasks, rather than making everything myself.
    My PPA time is for planning the Lit/Num for the following week alone. Spellings for the whole term are photocopied at the beginning of term and medium-term plans for Foundation subjects are created in a day or two of the preceeding holiday. Any other resources I need during the term can then be done before or after school on one day a week. The rest of the time I have for marking/assessing.
    It does get easier after you've been doing it even a year, but I agree that no matter how much work you put in there is always something you haven't done. SLT, I found, are slow to praise, but as long as everything they ask for is done, they generally leave me alone. I prioritise any paperwork for them, on two mornings before school a week, and find they are less likely to ask me about anything else if that all gets done. It's hoop-jumping, but at least doing things for them quickly mean I can concentrate more on what's happening in my lessons.

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