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Training Year(18 Posts)
I’ve just done my first 8 weeks as a trainee teacher (School Direct, English). For context, I’ve been teaching 10 hours a week since day one and don’t have a host teacher/anyone in lessons with me.
People at school seem to think I’m doing well, but I’m starting to feel like I hate it. The things I’m struggling most with are:
- Behaviour: I have a very challenging Y9 class that I often struggle to control. They usually reduce me to tears at least once a week.
- Workload: I get to work for 7.30, leave at 6. I grab something to eat when I get home, then carry on working until I go to bed. I only get chance to read at the weekend. I hate that. I don’t know if this is what I want from my job. I fantasise about having a job in an office that stops when I leave the building.
- Pressure: The expectations are so, so high and I feel like I will never be able to achieve them.
At this point in time, I can’t imagine doing my NQT year. In fact, I fantasise about just quitting my training year...
I don’t know what I’m asking from this post. Just views on your training year/teaching in general, I suppose. What would you do if you were me?
Thanks for taking the time to reading. I appreciate it.
What experience did you have of teaching before starting your training year? Are you salaried?
10 hours a week and no one in with you from the start sounds utterly bonkers and unsustainable to me, but I did a PGCE which is a far more gentle introduction. For comparison my PGCE student taught 3 hours last week and will be building up to 10 by xmas, yet will finish her training year earlier than you and start next year as an NQT the same as you.
What you should do is tell your mentor exactly how you’re feeling. If you quit, they’re screwed so it’s in their interest to be giving you more support, especially with your Y9 behaviour.
The hours though, that’s the nature of the job and the training route.
You’ll definitely find that none of the above changes but you will get better at coping with it and prioritising things. I’m a primary teacher so possibly different but I rarely get more than 10 mins lunch and do 8-5:30 at school. Work a few hours in the week too but not loads.
It’s demanding but I enjoy my job and love the teaching aspect of it (which is smaller and smaller compared to data and admin!)
You need to decide if it interests you enough to put up with the crap side. Like most other jobs.
@noblegiraffe I was an LSA for a few years. Yes, I’m salaried, so the school is not obliged to give me a host teacher (though most people on my course have a host teacher even if they’re salaried). I will talk to my mentor about how I’m feeling. Thanks for replying.
10 hours a week? Is that two lessons a day?
It sounds like it should be manageable- what other tasks do you have in your timetable?
@reefedsail It is manageable, if I put the hours outlined above in. I know it sounds ridiculous that I’m finding the workload a struggle, but tasks take me much longer than a qualified teacher. Planning one lesson, for example, can easily take hours. I obviously have all the normal admin of teaching and then my uni tasks and assignments as well.
My worry re workload is more long term though. It’s a case of not being able to imagine working like this for the rest of my life.
10 hours a week is roughly what I did in my first PGCE placement when training. I didn't think it was unreasonable, but some ITT providers near us seem to be increasingly reducing ITT timetables in every term.
On behaviour you need to get a copy of the behaviour policy and follow it to the letter. Have set routines for simple things and take the time for them to be embedded. Eg. Entry routines are good for that.
Lessons shouldn't be taking hours and hours. What scheme of learning do you have access to? Are you reinventing the wheel? Are you keeping your lessons simple or are you spending lots of time making 5 differentiated worksheets and cardsorts? How much time is going into making the PowerPoint look nice?
Salaried routes are usually without a class teacher but you should still be having regular mentoring.
My question was around whether you have a lot of additional responsibilities such as tutor time, duties etc that could be scaled back?
If you are spending those hours just on the teaching, could you ask an experienced teacher to help you streamline how you are planning?
If you stay in teaching you won't work that way for the rest of your life. Eventually you will be able to look at the scheme of work, write three words in your planner, pull up a couple of resources and be ready. However, by then you will be fitting teaching in between endless management tasks.
I didn’t do school direct but if no one’s in the lesson with you how do you get feedback? Who’s teaching you and giving you guidance on what to do? Doesn’t sound like much ‘training’ is going on and that’s not really fair on you.
Your mentor isn't supporting you. You're spending far too long on planning, and your mentor needs to sit down with you and go through how to plan lessons quicker. He/she also needs to provide more support for the Y9 class. Even experienced teachers need some support with behaviour occasionally.
This is the nature of the beast with workloads though.
10 hours a week is roughly what I did in my first PGCE placement when training.
Probably not from the first week though? If you’re given that from the get go, you’re constantly going to be playing catch-up, simply trying to keep your head above water.
OP everyone in schools is busy, as you will know, so if you are quietly, desperately getting on with it, people will leave you to it. If you’re sinking, you not only need to speak up, but you’ll need to be clear that it’s not just a generic moan about workload (everyone has these once in a while) but a specific request for help.
Ask for support with your Y9 - someone to come in and observe for more than one lesson so that they can give suggestions after the first one, then observe you implement them and suggest tweaks/give reassurance. Also ask for support with your planning - are there teachers teaching similar classes who could share their stuff?
And follow it up with an email so these requests are documented - you are a trainee and they have responsibilities towards you.
The expectations are so, so high and I feel like I will never be able to achieve them.
I feel like this after 20 years. Honestly I feel it’s a miserable, never-ending slog of a job and I am seriously looking to leave. I found my pgce year hard, NQT year harder and the year after NQT even harder!! I’ve seen other people on here say the same. Then it got easier for a few years, but then Gove and the Tories happened and it’s been awful ever since.
When my kids are out of primary, I will go.
It sounds like you're having a tough time. I can empathise. My training year (and the first few years after it) were tough and I was working all hours but it does get easier. You become more efficient, planning is quicker etc. I've been teaching for 19 years now and I love it. I would advise asking for some support. I probably wanted to quit in the beginning (and a few times in the years after) but I'm very glad I didn't. I would give it a bit more time if you can as it can take a while to find your groove.
From when we started teaching it was.
We had 3-4 weeks at uni a couple of days a week and the rest in school doing part lessons and by the end of September we started teaching our first placement timetable.
I liked it actually and find it preferable to how some of our local providers work.
I agree with you on the mentoring support front though. The OP should be getting more targeted support, especially with the y9 group.
I'd also query if they're a challenging class overall or being challenging for the OP because if they're a known tricky group then the school should never have timetabled it for a trainee.
School Direct is like being thrown in at the deep end!
You need to speed up your planning and start cutting corners like we all do. Does your department share resources? Tes? Facebook groups? Don’t aim for the perfect lesson - “this will do” is good enough.
To be honest during my School Direct year I did nothing but work - dh took over 100% at home and I could not have done it without his help. NQT year was slightly better, but I still went part time in my RQT year as I couldn’t achieve an acceptable work life balance otherwise.
I am HOD now, still part time and reasonably happy. Still thinking about career change, though, every time I see my payslip!
I trained last year via a PGCE, so it is different. The workload is mental- I put more hours in last year as a trainee on a 50% timetable, compared to this year as an NQT on a 90% timetable.
Is your uni/training provider making you do a lot of extraneous stuff? Strip back as much of it as you can. Is anyone reading your lesson plans? If not, don't bother putting too much effort into them! Are you being asked to do loads of extra paperwork? Find out exactly what you can cut down and reduce.
Save time making resources too- don't make anything you can steal, and don't make from scratch anything that you can re-purpose another resource into instead! Does your department have a good scheme of work or at least a shared resource drop?
I also agree about asking for more support with the Y9 class. I also had a really tricky Y9 class last year, and in the end it was decided I shouldn't have been given them as a trainee, and I was swapped to another class. I would ask for more support with the Y9 class- and keep letting everyone know the issues you are having with them, speak to your mentor, the in school head of ITT, and your training provider!
It can be easy to feel like you should be hiding any issues you are having- but in your training year you should have people to help/support you, even if you are salaried.
@fedup21 out of interest, why are you hanging on until your DC finish primary?
I was salaried last year - it does get easier! Ask for support, they probably think you're ok and leaving you to it if there is nothing glaringly obvious that they can see in observations.
Behaviour will get there as you build relationships over the year, if you're spending a year in one school this is a real advantage and by Spring term things should improve. I'm NQT in a new school and my year 9s have been horrors last half term!! But they are settling down now.
Workload is a killer this year, make sure you have access to shared resources and schemes. Talk to the other trainees - they are probably feeling the same as you and completely overwhelmed.
Do you have 1 day out of school for training? The night before that I would have off from doing any work, as well as Fri and Sat eves. Worked all day Sunday but it made it more manageable and this term is by far the most difficult. Get to xmas and you'll be alright!
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