Very poor NQT(48 Posts)
Oh dear. We employed this NQT in July as a sudden replacement for a member of staff who left very suddenly. It was so late when the advert went in, we only had one applicant (I am head of department.) He seemed pleasant and he is a lovely young man.
He had to teach on interview, of course - his lesson started reasonably well and then just disintegrated into no structure, no plan, no sort of objective or aim. It was, if I am honest, a really awful lesson. I voiced my misgivings to the headteacher but the NQT interviewed well and so we decided to give him a years contract. The NQT had given the impression it was a one off poor lesson and I believed him!
However I observed him on Friday and the lesson was terrible. Again, the problems were identical to the initial lesson - no plan or structure, no challenge whatsoever to the children, behaviour was poor (and this is year 7 4 weeks into the term and they were shouting out and being silly.) I gave the lesson a '3' -requiring improvement - but really it was a 4, I just didn't want to totally crush him.
I went through the main areas of concern in his feedback - poor behaviour, lack of structure and aims that were task led (and didn't reflect on the subject area either, things like 'make a Greek mask' for an English lesson) and he accepted this. I had texts later on though apologising or his poor performance and telling me he is better than a '3'. Again it just seems too reminiscent of his interview!
Support wise so far I have arranged for him to observe me teach and also observe outside of the department. I also plan to make planning a priority on our weekly meetings but there's just so much support he needs - where to start! It wasn't as if it was a good lesson that went wrong in the delivery (we've all had those I think!) it was just a really poor lesson!
I think you need an honest talk you need to tell him you struggled to give him a 3 and that on OFSTED terms it would have been a 4 ask him where he thinks the problem lies and check his self awareness
Then you need him planning and giving you lesson plans in advance, following behavioural policies and team teaching because you're letting down every child in his class and there will be impact on their other classes
You need this documented well because he sounds like he isn't cut out for teaching and you'll struggle to get rid
SMT need to get involved because you have four teachers whose poor teaching could be preventing young people from getting that job, college course or sixth for, place. You also sound like you need some support .
I think rather than having him planning lessons it would work better to have him using the department plans - is every member of your department planning their own lessons? He can use those as a training tool to help him be things right.
A programme of trios or quads, possibly observing other staff and unpicking their teaching, then collaboratively planning a lesson and each teaching and unpicking that will show weaker staff what the features of a good lesson are and how to plan for good learning. It needs to be done time and time again along with collaborative planning as a dept but it is transformational for staff, non-threatening and manageable for you as you just set up and monitor the coaching groups. You can use any good staff in your dept, if they're m6 or ups it could be an appraisal target to help bring other staff on. If you're low on consciously good staff slt should be keen to help and bring in ambitious staff from across the school. Pm me if you want to talk it over. Good luck
May I just gently say that I deliberately posted this here, rather than TES, as I didn't want to be given a flaming. Thanks
Begin at the beginning. The department has actually done pretty well in terms of English (language) results - we exceeded our target for C and above, but that's the issue. Children get Cs who should be getting As or Bs. Lit results this year were dire (due to early entry language I suspect, the year 11s had the attitude that "oh well I have got my C, who cares about literature?' but also threw up serious concerns about two members of staff in particular who there have always been niggling doubts about (prior to my arrival) but these results really threw them into focus. Then there is one other teacher who has been on the verge of capability for years and still is. Then there is this new NQT who has tipped the balance. I was against employing him from the start, but we have him now so have to try to make the best of it.
Help will be provided for him elsewhere but what I posted for was for useful things I could do or say in our meetings and have had some - thank you - but the criticism directed at me is unfair. I didn't employ him or the others for that matter. The only one I DID employ is an excellent teacher.
I have no intentions of announcing my pregnancy yet, it is very early days. I won't be going off until May half term assuming I have a healthy pregnancy.
Oh dear lord! What an awful situation! I'm so glad I teach where I do.
I'm not criticising you at all. I am cross on your behalf! I have been a HOD in a struggling department and sorting it out practically broke me. I needed help from elsewhere, and fortunately got a great line manager who worked with me to make things better. If you were forced to take on someone who is inadequate against your better judgement, that is a bad start! I do worry a bit about the one on the edge of capability for years. This is where your line manager needs to be stepping in.
No,I know you weren't, don't worry! I just a bit
very sensitive at the moment - a bit stressed out! I hate being in the position where I know I am the reason people don't want to come to work in the morning, if you see what I mean!
I have implemented some things, which have been a success, but in a department of seven which used to be three weak and four strong, the balance is now tipped the other way, and, one of my strong teachers has gone part time.
SLT are lovely - hence my response to englishteacher. Really lovely. Too lovely, sometimes. They certainly won't bully anybody out or make unfair or unreasonable demands on staff but the point is that someone still has to pick up the flack, and it's me!
SLT aren't there to be lovely - not all the time anyway.
With the removal of the spoken element English are going to have a tough ride this year, you need to get things right as soon as possible and that you is not just you but the senior team.
Then SLT are not doing their jobs properly, to be blunt. By not acting, they are placing unreasonable demands on you.
Best thing that ever happened to me as a HOD was to be challenged by a line manager who then went to considerable length to support me in driving through improvements.
Just that my department are lovely wasn't criticising just being glad that I haven't been put in that position.
I think the biggest issue with this NQT is subject knowledge. If he was teaching badly the correct information that would still be better than teaching badly AND incorrectly the core basics.
I think this NQT needs to have a test on basics i.e. literary terms, analysing a poem to highlight points that he needs to revise/learn.
Also if the department is under pressure, could he not be given lesson plans to follow? It would save everyone time and give him a format for good practice.
I would also get someone else to observe the NQT to give support to your analysis.
Subject knowledge needn't be an issue if he is following dept SOW & using dept resources. If planning is an issue, have you tried (do you know of) the 5 minute lesson plan - might be a good way to get him to focus on what needs to be done. I have an NQT in my dept and the development plan we have had to write is pretty specific and detailed - have you/he had to do this? Bottom line is that as long as you have evidence of your support, then no one can question/blame you if things continue to go badly & SLT ought to escalate it.
Poor you! Fellow Eng HoD here, you have my sympathies!
Oops - posted too soon!
I agree that you need to be straight with him. A list of targets, how to meet them, and what support he can expect is your next step, I think.
- meet with him with a list of things that were wrong with the lesson. Then 'show' him the correct process of the bigger picture (step A: look at all current levels and targets of the kids. Step B: look at the outcome of the unit and plan lessons backwards, etc etc before it gets on to the actual lesson plan)
Lots of NQTs have a focus on planning a lesson, rather than planning for progress over a period of time.
Is there another good/outstanding teacher who could team up an help him plan? What about him observing other people's lessons, not just yours?
We also have the resources to film lessons for coaching. Absolutely amazing the impact this has had with one member, as she identified her own tone/pace, etc without me having to point it out all the time!
Will post if I think of more. Sounds like you have a heavy stress load at the moment - and that's without Mr Gove being an asshole...
Just wanted to second the suggestion to find a strong teacher from any other subject to mentor this guy. I was mentored in my first year by a colleague who knew nothing about my subject (had not studied it at all ever) but she was the most fantastic mentor. You can treat the teaching/behaviour management issue and subject knowledge issues separately.
''I do have concerns about teacher training in some places. We've had some awful candidates who have passed SCITT''
exactly, never judge a candidate simply by references or a high teacher degree, for instance I myself am a very bad teacher and have moved from school to school as I always get fired and the irony is i graduated with a 2:1.
Puzzled as all hell here, because I was hoping that OP had come back to the thread to say that three years on, the NQT in question has turned out to be an exemplary practitioner.
''More so, I would say, than poor classroom management, which in my experience can be very hard to fix, as it can stem from fundamental aspects of the teacher's personality.''
ouch- nasty, blaming and biased statement that defines everything that is wrong with uk schools today and it is this wave of thought in schools could well be the reason why we have a teacher shortage and bad staff morale in the U.K today- because things like bad behaviour are blamed on teachers. Truth is that often bad behaviour comes back to how the school is run-if slt do not enforce school wide strict discipline policies that all staff stick with then students will pick and choose who they behave for and then established teachers or those in authority will delude themselves into thinking that the teachers having problems are to blame when often they are not been supported and left to sink. Please be very careful and look at the bigger picture before you [who is clearly an established figure by the way you are talking and are sheltered from the worst behaviour] point the finger of blame so quickly.
Join the discussion
Please login first.