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What to do

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by HunkyDory73, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. HunkyDory73

    HunkyDory73 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I'm not sure what I want from posting this. Maybe just solidarity. Maybe some tips. Maybe I just need to vent.

    I am still an NQT despite finishing my PGCE in March 2014. I started working a free school straight away. I loved the ethos of the school and got on well with staff. Over the next few months though, it got extremely difficult for various reasons including workload, being given management responsibility without the support OR pay, constantly changing goalposts and becoming the target of a bully in the SLT. I became quite unwell and eventually left with 2 terms of my NQT completed.

    I went on supply and found this much less stressful but poorly paid and insecure. I took on a long term position but when I was asked to stay for the year I turned it down as I had seen yet more evidence of bullying/catty behaviour in this school and also didn't feel it was fair to be getting my same rubbish daily rate on a long term job with a lot of responsibility.

    Now I have a contract on a part time jobshare. I am in a year group that I have little experience of and find the curriculum a struggle at times. Jobsharing is very hard. I can only account for what happens on my days but that's not how it works out in reality. We had a book scrutiny the other day and some days weren't marked. I know that wasn't me but it feels petty to say so. The marking is insane and takes over my life. I have a high level of SEN with a big class and little support. One boy is supposed to get 1:1 all the time but doesn't get this in the afternoon. TAs don't always do as I've asked and come back from dinners and breaks late and stand about chatting at the back of the class. I feel like I am failing children because there just isn't the time or support to help them all as they are a very poor, needy class. Apparently my TA is going to get pulled in the afternoons and I feel that with the level of need in my class, especially as one is supposed to have 1:1, it is unsafe and is further failing the children. My timetable is such a squeeze that I already don't have time to teach what I'm supposed to. I am contracted to 16th December but am tempted to just walk away as I don't feel like I can achieve anything in this situation.

    I don't know why everything I have tried in teaching has been such a disaster but now I feel completely at a loss. I really try my best and spend so much of my time trying to make things work for all of the children but there is always something that comes up or goes wrong. I just don't think it's for me as I just cannot make it work.
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Unfortunately it is a sad truth that there is a lot of bullying and nastiness in schools. I experienced this during my PGCE and NQT year last year, and left as you did before completing induction. I managed to get a maternity cover in a lovely school this year, and so far have only encountered one unpleasant person who reminded me of people from last year's school (I am staying well clear of him). I have actually found it very hard to cope with the niceness and support in my new school. I honestly feel like some poor dog that was kicked and beaten by its owner, dumped at the RSPCA, then adopted by a nice, friendly family. By this I mean that I always expect some kind of criticism, or to be 'told off', or talked down to. My mentor understand this, fortunately- she told me that when I started the role she could see how defensive I was, and that I need to learn to trust them because they won't treat me like my old school did. Easier said than done! So I understand why you are reluctant to take on a long term role, and why you need to get the feel of a school before committing - it's the safest thing to do.

    I also understand why you think you're doing badly in your current role - it's because you're so used to being told you're doing badly that it has crushed your confidence and self esteem. But let's calm down for a minute - sharing classes/jobs is hard anyway; it's nothing to do with you per se. I think it's especially hard when you are inexperienced and your co-teacher is more experienced, when there is no/limited schemes of work or resources available, and when there is limited communication between people (for whatever reason). You mentioned a book scrutiny - what was the upshot of that? Was there any criticism? Has there been any comment on any other aspect of your teaching or marking? Your timetable is a squeeze, but how is it for other teachers? As I have been reminded recently, you may think you're the only one struggling to get through, but if you talk to other teachers you will probably find they are either in the same boat, or have used their wisdom and experience to decide which parts to miss or hurry through.

    What are the needs of this boy who is meant to have 1-to-1 support? I am secondary, not primary, and it's unfortunately true that SEN students do not have the provision they need because of the costs. I'd love to have a couple of TAs in every class, to poke certain students with sticks (not literally!), but I don't even have TAs for my bottom set Y10, who are mostly dyslexic and entitled to readers/writers for their real GCSEs, but not for any of their assessments in the years leading up to the GCSEs! You have to find ways around things - for example, in their assessments I act as reader for the whole class! They have to be their own scribe though, I can't do that for 19 students at once! It depends on this boy's needs as to what you can do for him though...

    Why do you feel your current role is a disaster? You need to ask for positive feedback. As the role is ending soon, could you ask someone to provide that? In light of the fact that you'll be needing a reference when the role ends.
    Shedman and sabrinakat like this.
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    sadly, your experiences are pretty much universal, across all regions, types of school, year groups, and years of experience.

    Lots of love and sympathy. finish your NQT year if you can, then maybe reevaluate what you want to do with it.
    Shedman likes this.
  4. HunkyDory73

    HunkyDory73 New commenter

    I haven't been in since the book scrutiny. I've just been told via text from other staff but I'm sure something will happen on Monday. It means the TA has to spend the time she would normally spend helping children on my days, sorting out unmarked bits of books. There are other children who find the timetable a squeeze but that doesn't really make me feel any better as the problem still exists. The governors want the children to do a load of PE so it means other things suffer.

    When I say my contract is to December, I have been told it will probably extend to the rest of the year but I am so unhappy. But saying I don't want to stay now would let so many people down. I know everyone has an issue with lack of TAs and resources but my children literally can't do a thing on their own for the most part. If someone isn't with them they will not have done anything. I come to mark books and I am completely disheartened by it. I'm worked so much and I feel like it's a total waste of time.
  5. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    If you are not happy then do not extend the contract. You are not letting people down - it is management who are letting both you and the children down.
    HunkyDory73 and yellowflower like this.

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