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Strugging NQT

(149 Posts)
januarysunsetfire Sat 04-Jan-14 22:13:46


I've just had a message from the NQT in our department indicating they are hugely struggling with the workload: primarily marking but also planning and genera organisation.

Everything they are struggling with is pretty much the professional standards, and to be honest I don't know what to suggest!

Any advice? smile

SweepTheHalls Sat 04-Jan-14 22:31:23

Do you have an AST that could work with them?

januarysunsetfire Sat 04-Jan-14 22:34:34

I am the mentor assigned to them, so that is my role, but I am struggling myself in how to help them sad - underperformance has been an issue since they arrived, practically.

I have: marked alongside them, taken on marking load for them, joint planning, team-teaching, observations - I don't know what else to do!

funchum8am Sat 04-Jan-14 22:36:24

Maybe go through a week's work with them and make a plan to set aside time for marking and planning so they keep up with school policies etc? Can they use statement banks to mark rather than writing same comments over and over ?

What subject and what contact ratio do they teach?

januarysunsetfire Sat 04-Jan-14 22:41:43

It's secondary English; usual reduced timetable for NQTs. Plus, they have one very small KS4 class, so the marking workload really shouldn't be too bad.

Thanks for suggestions smile

ProphetOfDoom Sat 04-Jan-14 22:45:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

januarysunsetfire Sat 04-Jan-14 22:48:02

Truthfully Schmaltzing I think long term, that would be the kindest thing as they just are way out of their depth but in the meantime we're stuck with them!

ProphetOfDoom Sat 04-Jan-14 22:51:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

januarysunsetfire Sat 04-Jan-14 22:56:38

We don't use APP any more so it isn't that. Annotation is encouraged, I have to admit I just don't know what is taking so long, or why!

lougle Sat 04-Jan-14 22:59:00

Could it be that the NQT is concerned about his/her performance, and that is manifesting in anxiety about the quality of marking, so taking far too long considering the fairness/accurateness/usefulness of feedback and grades, leaving inadequate time for planning and organisation?

januarysunsetfire Sat 04-Jan-14 23:11:10

Lougle, the current issue with marking, from what they have told me, is that it hasn't been done - this has been an issue from the start. They spend hours at school doing elaborate and often bizarre things but the fundamental stuff like marking and planning just doesn't get done to the required standard.

They also make a lot of mistakes - all on their own, understandable and small, but when put together, create a worrying picture.

funchum8am Sat 04-Jan-14 23:17:48

Could you tell them half a set of books per day need to be marked, no excuses. Sixth form at weekends. So 12-15 books MIN. might seem more manageable? English marking is a killer hmm

lougle Sat 04-Jan-14 23:23:08

The elaborate things are displacement, though, aren't they? When you can't face something, you'll do anything to avoid it.

Poor, poor NQT. And poor, poor students having to learn under them. Do you think this NQT would come out the other side with sufficient support, or do you think they are going to fail?

It does sound like you need to step up the accountability. SMART targets.

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 04-Jan-14 23:24:29

Tell them to spend less time on elaborate and bizarre stuff and more on marking?

As a mentor I'd be wanting to see some sort of weekly time planner and checking that against what actually happens.

januarysunsetfire Sat 04-Jan-14 23:28:40

Funchum, his other mentor suggested that as a method but he was still struggling.

At present he has four classes (two year 7, one year 8 and a year 10 class with only fourteen students) - no sixth form - so theoretically at least shouldn't feel overwhelmed.

I have made suggestions and spent so much time going through stuff - I'm starting to wonder if it's a set-up, as he's had 2 weeks to do this marking: I know no one wants to work over Christmas, but I am honesty starting to wonder if it is because he knows I'll step in and do it for him! help.

But surely not, when you'd want to impress? confused It's just such an odd situation!

Personally I feel he's in the wrong career but ... we shall see, I suppose!

kickassangel Sat 04-Jan-14 23:53:06

Can you now refer this up to someone higher up than you? That sounds like an incredibly easy workload (as an NQT I taught all but 4 periods per week, and was up for providing cover on all 4 non teaching. I survived)

And I agree about the 2 weeks to catch up.

How late does he stay after school? Can you tell him he needs to do half an hour of marking, half an hour of planning, then do the bizarre displacement activities? I'm intrigued what they are.

How did he cope with teaching practice? Unless he's teaching each class twice a day, I had more classes than that as a trainee.

Seriously, I think it is time to escalate this. If he isn't getting the hang of it by now, it's unlikely that he ever will. Do you want him as a permanent member of your dept?

januarysunsetfire Sun 05-Jan-14 00:08:34

Truthfully angel, no sad

He stays REALLY late! This is what is so difficult to understand: he does a 13 hour day most days! In at 7, out at 6! I obviously don't monitor what he does at home, but he says he works there too.

The books aren't marked in a huge amount of detail.

I have raised him as a concern but there are worries about his health and wellbeing (stress) so people are "going in gently."

funchum8am Sun 05-Jan-14 00:18:04

I am lead a dept with a teacher a bit like this. I plan to start popping in to say hi and just ask what he is doing and whether I can offer any support at random times before and after school. Then I should be able to spot patterns in how he uses his time and hopefully point out what is necessary and what is a bizarre displacement activity (totally know what you mean by that!). Your NQT has a very small timetable compared to my colleague so it is a worry that they cannot keep up hmm

funchum8am Sun 05-Jan-14 00:18:33

Duh! Am leading, not am lead

kickassangel Sun 05-Jan-14 03:33:46

Are you sure he is working though? I know there are times I waste on mn or some such.

If he isn't coping on this timetable he will not cope next year. If there are concerns about stress at this stage then he really is in the wrong job. Unless there is something you're not telling us, like he runs 15 extra clubs, then he's on about 60% of a timetable.

I think you should start putting in writing that he isn't coping. I have seen what happens to people who try to keep going when really they are in the wrong job. It is not kind to keep them limping along. It really does make the whole situation worse for everyone, and how will he cope when the parents start baying for his blood making comments?

Honestly, being behind before term starts is inexcusable ( unless he's been in hospital). If he's too stressed to face the thought of marking books over a 2 week break he should be looking for another job. He is not cut out for this, and it isn't fair on the kids he is teaching.

januarysunsetfire Sun 05-Jan-14 09:35:47

I'm not sure - I THINK he's working! Hard to say!

Let's see. We have 5 1-hour lessons a day, so 25 hours of teaching in a week.

Year 7 have 4 lessons a week so 8 hours, two of which are spent in the library doing accelerated reading with a TA so just supervision: no planning/marking (he seems to have a real issue with these, though confused - has been the subject of much angst in mentor meetings!) He also does 2 other library lessons with other year 7 classes, so 10 hours of year 7 but only 6 with marking/planning.

Then 3 hours with year 10, and 3 hours with year 8. One PSHE lesson a week as well, with his tutor group so - 17 hours.

Year 10 are a small group; I made it so on purpose as there are a lot of EAL students in that particular class.

So all in all, it certainly isn't an unreasonable timetable - effectively he only has three classes to plan for. The other issue which has been raised a few times is lack of work in the books: this has improved lately but in his early weeks at the school there was next to nothing in them - some lessons with the date and title and nothing else. He has improved since joining us but he's still barely a 3 in terms of lesson observations.

AntoinetteCosway Sun 05-Jan-14 09:42:26

So he only has 13 lessons a week to plan and mark? It sounds like he really isn't cut out for teaching...sad

Is there a member of SLT in charge of NQTs that you could talk to?

januarysunsetfire Sun 05-Jan-14 10:05:10

Yes, but because there were concerns about his health and wellbeing they're being very gentle with him and he has improved sad

I am just sick of it, what about my health and wellbeing!? There is absolutely no way he hasn't had time to mark over the holidays, I think what has happened is he has ignored it (which is fine) pulled it out for the first time this weekend when reality hit and panicked. I don't have a problem with that, BUT, I'll end up stepping in and being confronted with a big pile of marking on Monday morning.

I know that I could say "stew in it, sunshine!" but that wouldn't be very supportive so I am wondering what I could actually do to make him do the work that supports rather than criticises.

I think I'll have to give him a "get out of jail free" card this time, as otherwise he's never going to get it done. But this sort of thing has happened constantly since he arrived, I just do not know how he's going to cope!

januarysunsetfire Sun 05-Jan-14 10:05:35

Sorry for that rant blush - feeling a bit stressed myself!

Would he be receptive to keeping a timesheet for a week so that he can work out what he is spending time on and you can help sway him towards more productive ways of using his time?

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