Pregnant GTP trainee about to implode with stress!!

(13 Posts)
Phineyj Tue 09-Oct-12 17:00:26

Sorry this is so long.

I changed career last year into teaching, taking a job as an unqualified teacher rather than trying to get onto a PGCE course, as at that time there weren't any bursaries and I worked out it would cost me about £30k to train, which I didn't have.

The new job went really well & I discovered I loved teaching. It's a state grammar school, the students are great and my colleagues mostly really nice/helpful too. After a couple of terms I managed to find a GTP course that would accept my subject (one offered only in sixth form) and that I could complete in two terms on top of the day job. At my age (40) I couldn't afford to stay unqualified for long.

Now I'm pregnant - successful IVF after 5 years of various health and other struggles and pretty much when I'd given up on children. The pregnancy is going fine -- I'm about 30 weeks -- but I am so stressed! Basically I can just manage the day job and the training if I work 7 days a week but not as well as trying to stay healthy e.g. stop work at 10pm so I can sleep and not be too knackered for my commute (currently 1 to 1.5 hours each way and I am one of those people who can doze off at the wheel if I'm not careful). Public transport takes longer and would involve a lot of walking up hill.

There have been various problems with the GTP course - mainly I have ended up teaching a subject at KS4 I know very little about, I have had little support from any of the teachers who are supposed to be training me (one of them is actively hostile although she does get the observations done) and my visiting tutor caught pneumonia last summer so I only met her for the first time last week -- after having been on the course since April!

I think that my school must think I am coping fine as I did before I was on the GTP, despite being the only person who teaches my subject so I had no-one to ask whenever there were problems with syllabus content, marking etc (I managed all right by building up a network of helpful teachers at other schools who I could email, and anyway the types of jobs I've done before have been ones you had to figure out without help). My 'contrasting placement' means I go to another local school one day a week where they basically treat me like an unpaid supply teacher, and the placement feels endless doing it day release rather than in a block. Also it means my timetable is now squashed into 4 days instead of 5, so hardly any frees.

Anyway, when I finally got to meet the visiting tutor she only gave me a 'Good' for the two lessons she observed and said that one was borderline 'Satisfactory', when all last term I was getting 'Good' or 'Good with Outstanding features', and much more positive feedback. It has been made clear to me that 'Good' is the most I can get now and that this is because I have had to arrange the assessments earlier than would have been the case if I wasn't due to go on mat. leave a few weeks before the end of the GTP. I don't feel any allowance has been made for my pregnancy at all (I have had to get an independent midwife to do the antenatal appts as it was obviously to me in the summer that I couldn't possibly get extra days off to travel 25 miles back to where I live to see midwives and doctors etc on top of all the days off for 'training'/contrasting placement.

In my more rational moments I know that I will indeed pass with a Good as long as I spend all half term sorting the paperwork and that I need to get over myself as it doesn't matter a jot if Ofsted think I'm Outstanding or not, but the pregnancy hormones seems to have hit me all of a sudden and I'm feeling so depressed and tearful and unmotivated to work. I also don't understand how I can possibly make the progress I need to in the time available when I only have enough time (just) to write reasonable lessons for my existing classes -- the tutor woman said that I was being 'overly utilitarian' about the needs of my current classes and needed to focus on more important things like learning theory and my long term development as a teacher...but these are the very same students I'll need to teach in year 13 when I return from mat. leave so if they don't learn anything in year 12 I'll be picking up the pieces (which is exactly what I spent 2011-12 doing, after a -- fully qualified -- teacher messed things up).

I have tried to discuss these issues with various people at the GTP provider but they just brush them off. I don't feel I can raise them at school as it's too late, they're paying and I don't want them to think I'm a troublemaker.

To be honest I feel like jacking the whole thing in due to my stress levels, but that would mean when I return from maternity leave I'd still be unqualified, and then well more than half my post-tax salary would go on childcare and it really would be like paying them to work. At the moment I worked out I'm just about getting minimum wage if you don't factor in the travel....

Can anyone give me any tips about getting my stress levels down or motivational stuff I can say to myself? Any tips about how to deal with getting tearful when facing issues or comments which normally I would just brush off? What about my year 13s, who are beginning to get quietly hysterical now they realise I am ditching them a term before their public exams and school doesn't seem to have done anything about a replacement? I am getting a bit worried about my DH's stress levels too trying to deal with me!

Or should I just say s*d it and look for a job in an independent come next September?

BranchingOut Tue 09-Oct-12 17:09:48

Ok,...breathe.

That might sound less than helpful but, really, I have been in a very similar position except that I was pregnant and SLT, so levels of stress and feelings of scrutiny were pretty sky-high.

Take things step by step:

1) you need to care for your health. If not you will get signed off and may put your own health and your baby's health at risk. You don't have long to go now. Try to go home earlier, go to bed earlier - let some things go.

2) No one gives a flying fig what you get on your GTP placement. Just get through.

3) Consider asking to postpone your block placement until after your mat leave? If you come back at an odd point in time that might work quite well.

BranchingOut Tue 09-Oct-12 17:10:05

'term' not time

Phineyj Tue 09-Oct-12 17:25:29

Thank you BranchingOut. Just the fact you survived something like this cheers me up! I totally agree health must come first, but am mystified that I am the one person involved at any of the schools who seems to see any conflict between late pregnancy and getting this done (both schools are girls' schools and the agency is run by a woman...I could perhaps understand their attitude a bit more if I was dealing with blokes). I think the school and training agency do care who gets Outstanding/Good/whatever as they get judged on that?

ninah Tue 09-Oct-12 18:24:24

no one's ever asked me what I got on GTP
you're on track for respectable good, go easy on yourself! plenty of time to be outstanding ahead of you when things are less stressful

ninah Tue 09-Oct-12 18:26:01

and don't give up!

BranchingOut Tue 09-Oct-12 18:54:49

Seriously, it seems so important now but it is so unlikely to ever crop up in future.

The only questions I have ever heard a teacher being asked around their qualification are:

'Do you have QTS?'

and

'Can you show me your proof of QTS?'

BranchingOut Tue 09-Oct-12 18:56:20

Unfortunately I think you are learning early on that schools are not particularly family-friendly employers, with the big exception of the holidays.

Phineyj Tue 09-Oct-12 19:47:08

Thanks ninah, I won't really - too much effort already put in and not long to go.

I don't have any complaint about the school and the holidays are obviously a massive advantage over other types of work - or they will be when I get to the stage where I don't need to spend them working. The school has been perfectly reasonable about the pregnancy. It's the training organisation that's driving me to distraction.

bamboostalks Tue 09-Oct-12 19:52:59

The GTPs from local college are just passed or failed....no grade awarded so that's a new one on me.

Phineyj Tue 09-Oct-12 20:57:17

Bamboostalks - I would prefer that! (unless the grade was linked to pay or something) smile

AliceHurled Tue 09-Oct-12 21:03:51

A short reply but just to reassure you GTPs are indeed hell. But it will end.

And no one gives a monkey what grade you get. You get QTS and that is all you need.

Please take care of yourself.

Phineyj Tue 09-Oct-12 21:30:13

AliceHurled - thank you.

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