Worried about family member(16 Posts)
Hi all, hoping someone can offer some advice for a worrying situation.
A family member is 4 years post university with a degree in Primary Education (he finished with a 2:2 after it was strongly suggested by tutors that the subject wasn't for him as he had issues with coursework, etc). However he has not yet finished his NQT year due to various factors, predominantly due to leaving 2 FT positions part way through the year, then doing supply work for a while. He is now in a PT role (2.5 days per week) and is coming to the end of his first year so still effectively has another year PT before completing the NQT. He had the opportunity to go FT in the same school as of Sept but teaching a different class but did not apply as he is struggling with the workload as is.
He has come to me for advice on several occasions as he got a few knocks to his confidence, such as HT at previous school saying that he wasn't up to the job and was basically asked to leave, NQT raising concerns with organisational skills, lesson planning quality etc but I'm honestly starting to worry about him as he has become really withdrawn and snappy lately.
His latest plan is to finish his NQT by June next year (staying on PT hours) and then work FT as a TA for a year (as it earns more money than PT teaching wage). Then do a psychology conversion course with a view to doing an Ed Psych government funded degree after that. He seems to think that the workload as an ed psych will be much easier.
I don't know anything about teaching or educational psychology but I have a horrid feeling that he is mistaken about the workload but he is so adamant this will solve all his worries and problems.
Does anyone have any experience in this kind of thing? I don't know what to say to him without it sounding as thought I think he can't do it either
It sounds like all the way through people have had doubts about his 'fit' with teaching. Sadly, unis are under pressure to pass students and schools pretty desperate to recruit, so it is easy for the messages to become a bit mixed. Teaching really is a very challenging job and it is not for everyone. The trouble is when your confidence gets knocked, the job becomes even harder because you over think everything, lessons don't go well, you have to re-teach stuff, get behind - whole vicious circle. But when your confidence is low, you also feel trapped in teaching because you can't imagine you would be capable of anything else.
He needs to avoid failing his NQT year as the consequences are serious. He could step away for a while - the only time limit is that you can't do supply teaching if it's been more than 5 years since you qualified but you still haven't passed NQT. Maybe getting him to think about aspects of the job that he has enjoyed might help him identify some transferable skills. Perhaps he has enjoyed the contact with parents and would therefore be suited to something with customer contact. Or maybe he has enjoyed teaching PE and could find something in coaching or outdoor activities. Also, reminding him how immense the drop out rate is - sadly, especially among young male teachers - might help him think about the fact he really has given it the best he can for now, but it is not right for him right now. Ed psych is competitive and cuts mean fewer and fewer jobs, so if you can encourage him to develop a different string first that might avoid a repeat scenario.
Thank you so much for responding. I think I'm just really worried he has now got his mind completely set on the ed psych route that there is no plan B and he's not even willing to discuss a scenario that doesn't involve him getting accepted on the course or being accepted and finding that he doesn't enjoy it. He enjoys working with 2 particular pupils who have additional learning needs hence the desire to be an ed psych. He's not interested in any sort of Senco role, and if I'm completely honest I worry about his maturity level which may be unfair of me as obviously I don't see him at work but several people have exclaimed surprise at his actual age and i believe a couple of parents have mentioned this too.
He near on had a breakdown at uni and ended up with pretty severe alopecia due to the stress of it all and it would break my heart to see him go through it again. I just don't know what to do for the best, I guess all I can do is sit back and keep everything crossed it goes well for him and if not just be there for him.
Since he was very young he told everyone he was going to be a teacher and he's so stubborn a bit of me wonders if he just doesn't want to back down and say actually this isn't for me.
I've seen comments from Ed Psychs on line about how stressed they are. All the cut backs mean that they have a much bigger caseload than they used to and so can't support children in the way that they want to. Also, Ed Psychs are, in effect, the gatekeepers to additional support - an application for an EHCP won't stand a chance unless the supporting documentation includes an EP report that says the child needs an EHCP (we still had one turned down recently, despite the EP saying it was necessary). That puts extra pressure on them too. So I would be very wary of thinking that the grass will be greener as an EP. Also, who's employing them these days? According to our SENCO, apparently our large LA doesn't have any EPs at all at the moment.
I have tried to show him that there are absolutely no adverts out for EPs at the moment within 60miles of his home but he thinks that's because it's the wrong time of year? I have tried to ask him why he thinks it will be easier and he seems to think he won't have to take as much work home with in and thinks he will find it more fulfilling. He had no doubt at all (seemingly) that after going back to uni (5 years with psychology conversion course I think he said) there will be loads of jobs out that.
I wonder if tutoring would be more his thing? If he has an SEN interest, there are courses that will qualify him to work with, say, dyslexia. As a private tutor he could work 1:1 and manage his own workload.
Two further thoughts. Sometimes it comes as a relief to have someone else make the decision. Maybe his current school can free him from the burden of always having been on that road. Might feel brutal and awful at the time, but if he could ask the straight question ' am I going to make it as a teacher?' they might give him a straight answer. If he loves the 1:1 work, Ed psych is probably not the role for him. in most Ed psych roles, it is more advisory, you don't really build relationships. LSA work could be far more satisfying. The pay is crap, but the hours and workload are very manageable and leave open the possibility of other sources if income - eg holiday clubs, tutoring or something part-time not in education.
With regards to tutoring would he be able to set up on his own (I'm thinking about cost implications of insurances etc) or are their companies he could go through?
I will mention to him about seeking advise from the school, or would his NQT mentor be better?
LSA seems like it could be a really good option, will suggest that too him.
Thank you both for your input it's much appriciated
If he's finding it difficult to hack it as a teacher, he'll find it difficult to hack it as an ed psych. It's really hard to get into as well
If a twenty something, presumably with no ties, is having problems with the workload of a half time job, I think he seriously has to consider that teaching is not the job for him. I'm not sure where he gets the idea that TAs earn more than a PT teacher. Apart from anything, it will depend on the band they're in.
I think the best thing you can do is support him one step at a time. There's alot of steps before he can become an EP, and during that time he could change his mind and/or grow up.
The first thing he needs to do is to pass his NQT year, if he can. It would be a shame to come this far and not pass.
Then he can decide what to do next , it's possible that after so many knock backs his confidence is dented and passing could help build his belief in himself as a teacher, after all his current school offered him a FT position so they must rate him.
One thing he should consider when weighing up PT teaching vs TA is that whilst a TA may earn more than a PT NQT, once a teacher moves up the scale that changes, and the teachers pension is probably better than the TAs.
That's the other part foxy - no commitments, his partner works FT as a teacher also. He basically feels as thought he is hard done by in life, that he doesn't feel he shouldnt have to work FT as he wouldn't have to life outside of work. He gets pretty pissed off if anyone mentions that's the case in a lot of industries these days. I've tried to have a word to say he needs to make sure his GF is in full agreement with these plans as financially it will impact her too.
Worst case scenario and he fails his NQT, what happens then? He isn't able to teach?
I believe if you fail NQT year you can't teach 5-16yo's. You can still teach Early Years, Post 16 and overseas. You can appeal if you fail as well. I think you pass each term so he should have passed the first term already and have an idea of how well the second terms is going. Is he getting support from his current school?
If you fail, you cannot teach any age group in a local authority maintained school. In theory you could teach in an academy, but a decent recruitment process would see you had failed induction. Individual terms are not passed or failed, it is just an end of year call. Appeals do sometimes succeed, but his contract would be terminated on failure, and not automatically reinstated if the appeal succeeded. Generally, the advice to NQTs at risk of falling is to quit before the end of the year to leave open the possibility of completing elsewhere later on (after building experience through supply, getting over whatever external issues are causing problems, or simply growing up)...
It sounds like he has an awful lot of growing up to do more than anything. There is no doubt teaching is hard work but plenty of us manage it full time with families and other responsibilities. His apparent lack of maturity may be the barrier to his successful completion of his NQT year.
For tutoring...yes, plenty of agencies, fronting websites, advertising in newsagents Windows, leaflets to local schools etc etc. Word of mouth would, if he's any good, soon follow. But he will need some 'get up and go' to make it work and it sounds like that is lacking.
He really needs to work out if he's depressed (and treat accordingly) or just lazy. I can't imagine his girlfriend will put up with this for the foreseeable.
I've decided to just let him get on with it, there was a ridiculous row this weekend because I'd asked him to help me support a family member with a disability abit more as currently this was falling to me. He spewed the most amount of vile personal things, without acknowledging his own part in the situation. So Ive decided not to worry about him anymore, not my problem if he's failing but apparently I would never ever understand because his (PT) job is soooooo much harder than my (FT) job. For a 25 year old he does a very very good job of acting like a child, certainly not the attributes of a good teacher one would assume.
Thank you all for all your advise anyway, hopefully he pulls his socks up and sorts his life out.
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