School wasn't what I thought. Want to leave but need advice.(6 Posts)
I think I've made a mistake with my career and I need help.
I've taught for 4 years. I was in one school for 2 years and really liked teaching. Moved to another school when I moved house which unfortunately went into special measures. For various reasons to do with unstable management and being in SM, I left at Easter with a lot of other teachers after being there a year and a half. I left on good terms, with good to outstanding observation grades and tutored for the rest of the year. I thought about leaving teaching but wasn't sure. In June, I saw a job advertised at a school nearby that had a very good Ofsted and looked like a nice place to work. I got the job and started last week.
In short, it is terrible. I have really misjudged the kind of school it is. During my interview lesson with my current class (year 5), all the children with behavioural issues were taken out. With them back in, it's very different. It's virtually impossible to teach as the class constantly talk, answer back, refuse to work etc. Three boys keep getting into fights and one tried to strangle the other on the second day. One boy in particular has been in isolation for most of Key Stage 2 but now he is back in class. He has serious behaviour issues that are recorded daily.
SLT do not seem bothered by the whole thing. I've asked for support but they seem to put it all on me and expect me to 'deal with it'. I had to phone the boy's mother to tell her about the strangling incident and I received lots of verbal abuse and accusations that I was picking on her son. When I reported this, SLT said "she's always been like that, she's not very nice." That's it.
There are learning walks daily. I have senior managers observing in my classroom at least 2-3 times per day, which is very stressful as it's taking me time to settle in with the class and it's only day 4 of term! Everything the staff do is micromanaged and I feel like I'm constantly going to get into trouble.
I want to leave teaching as I'm fed up with everything about it. I'm planning to go back into education myself and do an MA. I want to resign and leave at Christmas but I'm worried about the consequences of that in the future, especially as I left the Special Measures school at Easter. I don't want another teaching job in the future, but I'm worried employers will be wary of me for only staying somewhere 4 months. I can't see how I can last the year in a school like this. I've been in tears every evening with how stressful the class is. Would appreciate any advice.
Are you part of a union? Can you talk to them?
What about another member of staff, can you ask them
I have moved kids out of my class and out them next door, with a colleague? Divide and conquer?
What's the behaviour policy, do you follow it to the T?
See this as a challenge, rise to it! You're an outstanding teacher, you can do this, you have it in you!
Reach out to external support services- ed Psych, Speech and LNag? EAL?
I am part of a union. I'm not sure what I could say though, I'm new and I don't want to fall out with SLT because I contact the union.
I've asked a few of the staff for advice but many of them seem to be having similar problems. There is a whole school culture of misbehaviour (the children do not even sit quietly in assembly or walk around the school quietly.)
The behaviour policy isn't very effective. I follow it as best as I can but when the behaviour continues and needs the next step (such as a time out in a paired class or time with the SLT, it's unavailable as we have no paired classes set up and SLT are never free.) It seems as if the policy was written a long time ago and forgotten about. There is a behaviour book which I fill in daily but it doesn't seem to be checked.
Thanks for the encouragement but I just feel lost and don't know what to do. It's so different here.
Not sure how helpful this is but ...
I would make email my best friend (firm believer in keeping a record and putting into writing!).
Email key members of SLT setting out your concerns re individual children and asking for specific support. Suggest ideas inc which class you think would work for the paired class. Reference the behaviour policy and your attempt to follow it when asking which member of SLT you should send children to. Recap the incidents you mentioned above and play innocent. Ask if that type of behaviour warrants following the steps or should you escalate it; if so, ask what they suggest. Mention safeguarding/child safety here - trigger words for (ineffectual) SLT looking to pass the buck!
Use the (ridiculous) daily learning walks. Go and ask for feedback if it isn' t forthcoming. Ask for suggestions re managing behaviour. Recap any advice/support or lack of it in another email - thanking them for suggestions or asking if they've any other advice following your earlier chat. Be explicit in stating what you want/expect but very professionally/politely.
Refer children to SENCo - again by email - and ask for their advice.
Try to focus on the other children wherever possible. I know it's hard but they will help you keep your sanity! You are a good teacher who was appointed for the right reasons but the school are not keeping up their end of the bargain. Professionally 'force' them to do their bit.
I'm a full time teaching member of SLT in a RI school and we would be ashamed to think we were 'supporting' our colleagues like this.
I agree with IguanaTail
I have lived to regret staying in my current school. It's become much worse, and is going downhill fast for similar reasons to those you've listed.
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