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Another NQT thread

(14 Posts)
SawdustInMyHair Thu 13-Oct-16 21:47:04

I'm a primary NQT and basically I'm doing really badly. I had a bad observation, because I thought I would do a 'normal' lesson (to learn from :p ), rather than a sparkly 'observation lesson', and then it went a bit wrong so looked really bad! I keep finding more stuff I'm doing wrong, and have been doing wrong for 6 weeks. The school is great and supportive, but I feel like so much has been going wrong that their goodwill is wearing thin. My lessons are boring because I don't have time to plan/make interesting things to do. But I'm working 65 hour weeks. I plan my own maths because we are in levelled groups across 2 years, the English for the whole year and most of the topic because no one seems to do that.

The latest thing is that we do a lesson a week in maths where the kids are on a targeted session of maths computer games - I can set specific areas for them to work on. Now I've just got an email from SLT asking if that is what I'm doing 'for a whole lesson?', I've realised that I've never asked my parallel teachers if they do a 'whole lesson' of it - they just always refer to it as the weekly '[game name] lesson' and said it's 'one less thing to plan!'. I do a starter and a 'finisher' but that's it. I'm going to ask them first thing tomorrow how they do their 'computer' lesson, of course, but if they say they don't do computers for most of the lesson I think I might just cry.

I feel like they expect me to ask about everything, but I can't ask about things if I don't even know I'm doing them wrong! I'm getting worried I'm going to fail my NQT year, but I don't know what to do. Everyone is being supportive, but no one comes to see what I'm doing all day (no one even looked at my books until Week 5, clearly no one looked at my maths planning until just now!), so I could be doing even more wrong and not know it. It sounds pathetic, but there's so much to do, no one else has time for me to run everything I'm doing past them before I do it. It's such a difference to the PGCE because I'm just in my classroom and never see anyone, and no one knows what I'm up to until it's too late.

I don't know if advice can even be given, I just don't know what to do. I love the school and I love the class.

wobblywonderwoman Thu 13-Oct-16 21:52:58


Sawdust - can you talk to your mentor? Can you cut down somehow? Marking or whatever. 65 hours seems very high but perhaps that is the norm for the group you have.

If you love your class, the school and have good support - is there any chance it is your confidence holding you back? Maybe you ate going great. You are only a few weeks in. I cringe when I think of what I did in my NQT year but it made me a better person and definitely better than a know all type of NQT?

TeacherBob Fri 14-Oct-16 05:48:27

You are supposed to make mistakes, its an NQT year.

TBH you sound quite tired, no way should you be planning English across the whole year and then topic on top.

Speak to your mentor about planning imo

Perplexedicom Fri 14-Oct-16 06:08:41

Is your school one form entry? If not, are your in-year colleagues approachable? I spent most mornings (before school started), and after school, obsessively checking in with the other Y4 teacher's classroom. I was v needy as a new teacher as I wanted to get things right and it's so worrying to be stranded in a classroom, effectively winging it. I'm glad I did that - despite having been embarrassingly anxious at the time. It took me a long time to feel a sense of confidence and certainty about what I was doing. However, that period of time was crucial to my development as a teacher.

ellesbellesxxx Fri 14-Oct-16 06:33:49

How many parallel classes are there?
The fact that you are having to do all that planning is ringing massive alarm bells. In my nqt year, I was planning everything for my own class (despite 2 parallel teachers) and told in term 3 I was failing... Turns out in other schools, people plan together or plan different subjects... I was horrified when I realised that my actually it wasn't the norm for 3 parallel classes to all be doing different English planning!!!!
Even maths should be same objectives surely?
I would def get this sorted now.. I almost left teaching as my nqt year made me so unhappy and ill... Have a meeting with your mentor and your parallel class teachers... That amount is not sustainable and it's not fair either!!!!!!! Xxx

TeacherBob Fri 14-Oct-16 06:57:16

Also, for the record, I always think you are far better off doing a normal lesson. It is the way to learn.
Anyone can do a sparkly one off lesson. The skill is in making every lesson outstanding and the only way to do that is to get honest feedback about your normal lessons

teacher54321 Fri 14-Oct-16 07:07:17

I agree that it sounds like the amount of planning is untenable. Although I am a music subject specialist rather than a general primary teacher I know that in both primary schools I've worked in that there are very detailed schemes of work and resources on the intranet for each subject that just need to be modified for each year that you teach it. Therefore you still have 'planning' to do, but it is by no means starting from scratch. Also across a year group you should be sharing the planning. This is how NQTs flounder and drown in the endless workload. I have very detailed schemes of work on the system and my planning is in my planner as a few sentences per lesson. This has been approved by my head and line manager and is manageable. In your NQT year you are not supposed to cut corners, so a heavy workload is to be expected, but yours sounds unnecessary and demoralising.

wonderstuff100 Fri 14-Oct-16 21:53:25

Yep,also echoing what other people say. In your NQT year you should not be planning English and topic. I've found in the better schools I've taught in,they plan core subjects together and then topic is shared out. I was in one form for one term of my NQT with no previous planning so had to plan everything from scratch. I also was working 65 hour weeks,thinking this was just the norm for teaching and yes,you do work those kind of hours,but not with not support. You should be not be taking on that much work. I'd be contacting your union.

Also,when I was in your position,I always felt the SLT were being supportive but when it came to action,they didn't actually do ANYTHING to help. Then tried to say I was failing. Just think,what are they actually DOING to help you?

I hope things improve. Take it from me,NQT is not the be all and end all. I left and have just started my 3rd year on supply. I have been asked back time and time again by the same schools so must be doing something right.

Be kind to yourself,life is too short

fussychica Sat 15-Oct-16 08:01:02

It seems to me that many NQTs are treated badly by their schools, often being given the roughest deal with regard to classes and expected to do so much when they are still learning. Surely with a shortage of teachers schools should be kinder to their NQTS rather than driving them into the ground and out of the profession before their first year is out. I appreciate schools are under a lot of pressure and budgets are being cut but the way new members of the profession are treated is surely a false economy.

TeacherBob Sat 15-Oct-16 09:17:32

As a general rule I have found the opposite (I am in primary, don't know if that makes a difference).
When I was working as an unqualified teacher, I would get the hardest class because it was unfair to give to the NQT (though admittedly behaviour is my strong point).
Also, when there was planning time to be lost, I would lose mine and the NQT kept theirs because they were legally entitled and I wasnt

TheFallenMadonna Sat 15-Oct-16 09:25:20

What do you do in your mentor sessions?

SawdustInMyHair Sat 15-Oct-16 10:39:31

Thanks so much for all the advice!

Also, for the record, I always think you are far better off doing a normal lesson. It is the way to learn.
Anyone can do a sparkly one off lesson. The skill is in making every lesson outstanding and the only way to do that is to get honest feedback about your normal lessons

I know, I thought that too - but I think they're so used to seeing amazing lessons that it's a bit like the Queen going somewhere and they haven't re-decorated :p And to be fair it wasn't that great a lesson anyway.

Spanish and PE do have detailed schemes of work. I'm awful at Spanish, though, so it doesn't really help. I've put that as one of my targets to try and get some training (I never did it at school)

A lot of the problem is not knowing what I don't know - my parallel teachers are helpful when I ask, but they forget I think that I don't have the experience to know what I'm supposed to be doing in every aspect of the job. My class are very challenging, which also means more time spent on behaviour and following up issues, and two new children with no English arrived this week and last, who of course have to be planned for separately.

I asked about the maths game though, and it's what the other teachers were doing too. Although one of them has gone from 'one less lesson to plan!' to 'I was never happy with this' hmm But I'm less in a flap about that. Turns out I was actually doing more proper teaching that lesson than they were!

Johnstonbananas Wed 19-Oct-16 18:34:30

How is it going now Sawdust? Feeling any less stressed?

Yonosemanana Sun 23-Oct-16 20:49:14

Hi, I'm an ITT coordinator (secondary but don't think it matters too much) and I just want to assure you that you will not be 'surprised' at how they grade you each term. If your mentor was concerned about your progress for this initial term they should have already sat down and set targets and actions with you to try and support and if that didn't help then they have to contact your Lea before the assessment deadline so that they can support.
Are you having weekly meetings with your mentor? Make sure all your concerns are documented, dated and signed- bit of a back up for you!

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