NQT - Should I stay or should I go?(26 Posts)
I have nc for this...
Trained as asecondary teacher last year, loved it. New school for my NQT year, and I am hating nearly every minute.
I don't like the staff in my department, I don't like the school culture, I resent having to teach an unreasonable amount of Y8 and Y9 bottom sets.
My mentor is my HOD and all we talk about in my mentor meetings is the new GCSE spec.
I cry almost every day and ask myself why I neglect my own children to teach somebody else's who are not remotely interested in what they could learn.
I enjoy teaching the interested and/or academically able, but I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to build up any rapport with kids who couldn't care less.
Should I stay or should I go back to my old (and much better paid) job? Is it worth toughing it out during the NQT year and then find a nice private school asap?
I would say give it more time. Don't underestimate the feelings you might have later about not finishing your NQT year and going back to something that looked better in hindsight only to find yourself wishing you'd seen it through. What were the reasons you decided to train as a teacher in the first place? Would it help to revisit those?
I know it's tough and awful to start somewhere new, especially if you feel that it's at odds with your own ethos and you're feeling exhausted and lacking time with your own children. Do you think that you could have a frank conversation with your mentor and go to your meetings prepared with a list of things that you really need to discuss so that you get the most out of them?
If you still really hate it by Easter, then it is probably time to look for a different school. But regret is a horrible, horrible thing so I would say think really carefully before making any move at the moment. Good luck.
Really? Only interested in the more able? That is desperately sad for the vast majority.
What is an unreasonable amount of bottom/lower sets?
If you have no desire to build any rapport with kids who couldn't care less, then you are probably in the wrong job. If you can't be bothered why should they?
And there are plenty of kids like that in private schools too.
It's bloody tough as an NQT but your attitude isn't helping.
Sorry to be blunt.
Definitely speak to your HOD about creating time to talk about KS3. Are you teaching any GCSE classes this year?
The pupils you have no desire to build a rapport with can probably tell this about you. And so a vicious circle begins. Try to care. Some of my favourite groups have been bottom set because I can really see them make progress!
Just a standard secondary, btw, where I work :-)
If you have that attitude towards the less able children then no wonder they cant be bothered learning from you.
You sound like you want an easy ride tbh which will not help you become a fully functioning teacher! I wouldn't want someone with your attitude teaching my children.
Why is any of this a surprise to you? Surely you realised before training that not all children want to learn or are going to be receptive to your teaching? Did you think that all the children you would come across would exceed their targets? It sounds as if you had a misplaced idea of what a tough job teaching is. I don't think finding nice private school is going to be the answer to your prayers either. Not all private school students are interested your subject and if they aren't they have the ability to make your life a misery there as well. On top of that you will have their fee-paying parents demanding to know why you are failing their little darlings!
Bottom sets are fun! You can do lots of creative, hands-on activities with them, like cutting and sticking together a card sort, matching pictures with words, using them as models, experiments (I'm science) etc. Many of them have awful home lives, and don't receive a lot of kindness, so my goal for these kinds of classes, is to make sure they're happy, they have fun (within strict boundaries) and they learn at least one small thing every lesson.
Top set GCSE/A-level classes are good to teach as well, but it's all about grades and making sure the syllabus is fully covered and making sure they can answer every past exam paper question I can find, and there's a lot of pressure on teachers make sure those top kids get the top grades.
If you are only good enough at teaching to reach the easiest kids I'm not sure there are going to be many schools you will be successful in.
In selective schools there will be very able pupils who will challenge your competence and authority and there will be a 'tail' of pupils pretending they don't give a shit. In non-selective private schools there will be kids with significant SEN who have parents wealthy enough to have bough small class sizes. In public schools there will be disaffected kids who have been brought up by a string of nannies. ANY school will have challenges.
Either commit to genuinely learning to teach- which will be hard and will take time- or get out now.
Are you core? I'm sure of you make
it clear to SLT that you're thinking of leaving, they'll try to meet some of your timetable requests rather than lose you...if you're good.
You can always leave at Christmas then you'll have done a term towards your NQT year. Hand in your notice, take a break and apply elsewhere later on. Life is too short to be miserable.
I'd say do nqt and one more (in another school, start applying from jan) and if you still feel the same, leave. I'm 8 years in and want out, but it's almost impossible for me now without paying out to retrain and taking a big pay cut. If you've only been out of your old profession for three years in total, I'm thinking you'd be able to get back in?
I totally disagree with the 'bottom sets are fun' idea on an earlier post. Not in a core subject with the new gcses they bloody well aren't. No time to do fun things and no chance of passing. Miserable.
I think you're getting some quite harsh responses here OP. I can see you said you prefer teaching the 'interested' and 'more able' NOT that you are 'only interested in the more able'.
Of course many teachers would agree with what you said. You put your heart and soul into making lessons. If they throw them back at you, it's heart breaking! Especially if you have neglected your own family in the process.
I think you need to try to get a bit more support. Is there a member of SMT who has overall responsibility for NQTs and PGCE students? Could you go to them? Or maybe another member of staff like head of year 8/9? Get them all on board. Lack of support in schools for NQTs results in so many potentially good teachers giving up.
I think you should stick it out but start looking for somewhere else for September as soon as you can. That way, you will know that this year is a means to an end.
Not everyone is suited to teaching in rough schools. It takes a special kind of person to succeed in a place like that. It doesn't mean you're not a good teacher. I think you'll be a different person when you find a school that suits your needs as much as you suit theirs.
Seriously consider going back to your old profession. Teaching is very hard and demoralising profession. I've retrained and left teaching and it's really clear to me how unpleasant it is.
Thanks for your answers, I knew mners wouldn't hold back.
My head says to stick with it for the NQT year and then find a school that is a better fit, it's going to be a long year.
I just read your OP to DD, who is in her NQT year, and who is having similar thoughts to you. The school she works in is very challenging. Her department and HOD are lovely and supportive, but she is already totally disillusioned by the huge number of kids who have no interest whatever in learning anything. The only advice I have is what we've given her - don't give up yet! If you still feel the same at Easter, that is the time to start looking for somewhere else to work.
I had this problem ... NQT year 15 years ago. I did the NQT year and left. They weren't best pleased but I never looked back.
I don't think the school is for you -but to be honest no school is a picnic and the hod takes the pick and then patronsies you with 'ooh its a steep learning curve my dear'
I have since worked in a much more challenging children but in a more supportive environment and that's the key.
I'd say stick at it. It's tough, but it's only for a year. After that you can do what you like.
If you're only interested in teaching those willing and able, I'm surprised you went into teaching in the first place. However, maybe you live near many private schools or in a country where this is the norm?
Even willing and able pupils can be challenging though.
It sounds like you want to teach Stepford type pupils! These are few and far between.
and for the year ahead...
It is tough and it sounds like the allocation of sets is unfair, from what you are saying. Same thing happened when I was training and it is better to have a mixture of sets, in order to practise differentiation of work and adapting your teaching accordingly. I would probably make this point when discussing this with your HOD and SLT.
Sorry, I don't think it takes a particularly special person to work in a challenging school. I would say an incredibly patient person who is willing to adapt. It can be very frustrating when you have pupils who are not willing to learn, for some reasons beyond your control and I experienced this during my training.
I would suggest the following - be absolutely clear with discipline. Your school should support you in terms of sanctions etc. Clear rewards such as postcards are good as well.
Perhaps you could have a session where they give their input, in terms of the class activities they would like to do? I've sometimes done that, so they have more of a say. There's a few other things I've used with classes that I am happy to recommend.
It is most definitely worth it - but if you feel teaching is not for you, I would probably resign as soon as you can. Get the best advice before you do.
Sound really tough, but I'm with everyone who says tough it out. When you apply for your next school you'll be much more able to pick up clues about what the school culture is like, and you'll know to ask the right questions about management style, pastoral system etc that you now know doesn't work for you.
And private schools are full of low ability kids too, but you also have their parents to contend with.... Hope you find what works best for you.
See your classes as a challenge. If you can reach the disaffected then any class you have in the future will be a joy. If you aren't interested in teaching them why should they be interested in you?
You need to start seeing the lower sets as a challenge and aspire to build relationships so that they can learn (and you can teach).
I had the opposite experience in my nqt year, outstanding school and only given middle and top sets. I much prefer it where I am now (a "good" state school with the mixture of kids to make life interesting!)
As you are an NQT do you have the opportunity to go and watch the classes with someone else- th st can be really interesting. If you can stick it out- do. If you dont- you will have to find somewhere else to do it, or retrain.
Those bottom sets can be intimidating alright! Due to the complex nature of their education needs, emotional needs and socio-economic backgrounds, it can seem impossible to build a rapport.
However, it can be extremely rewarding once you've cracked it. They need to feel they know you, that you like them, are not scared of them, and that they can trust you. Their self esteem is probably pretty low as they are bottom set for your class, and for other subjects too.
BUT, and I'm saying this is a non-judgy way, ultimately, you've got to want to put the effort in. If there's no desire on your part to work with children like this, maybe it's not the school for you... or perhaps not the job for you. You'll need to be honest with yourself.
There's no half efforts as a teacher, you have to give your every fibre to it.
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