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NQT is tearing us apart

(31 Posts)
PopTheRainbowdrops Mon 30-Dec-19 19:47:55

My husband is doing his NQT year at the moment. We have a one year old and a three year old. And it surely can't be right. He's having nightmares, sleepless nights, barely talks to me, has no patience for anything or anyone.

We thought his PGCE was hard, what with me being pregnant and a newborn and then him having two pretty rough schools as his placement (one of them kids were chucking chairs and it took three teachers to stop it). We thought that his NQT school would be better, hard work but better. It is in some ways, he's not up until midnight preparing lesson plans etc, the school actually has things he can use. But I can tell he's not happy. He's said he's not happy.

I don't know if I should be telling him to cut his losses or encourage him to stick with it. But if he keeps on like this and it keeps heading in this direction I don't know if there will be an us.

Oh, and we've just bought a new house with a massive mortgage so he'll need a well paid job to change to if he does cut and run...

Ugh. I came from a family of teachers, I knew it would be hard, but I wasn't expecting it to be this hard and have such an impact on our family and relationship.

OP’s posts: |
YourOpinionIsNoted Mon 30-Dec-19 19:52:55

If at all possible, cut and run. It will only get harder to leave as the money increases with time. I took three goes at leaving teaching, it was only due to a full on mental health breakdown that I finally got out.

If anything else was causing him this much suffering you'd get rid of it in a heartbeat. There's a very toxic mentality in teaching that it's normal to be mentally scarred by the job. It shouldn't be.

I wish you both the best. I wouldn't go back now for fifty grand a year, let alone the pittance paid to an nqt.

lavenderbongo Mon 30-Dec-19 19:54:16

It is hard. But for me it was worth it. Teaching can be the best job in the world for some - but for others it can destroy them. You guys need to decide which you are. It gets easier with each year as you build up resources and experience. But it is still a stressful career.
Can you get help from family (as you say they are teachers?) or get some advice from colleagues? Your DH needs to talk to his mentor at school and get some help. I would advise ensuring he makes time for life outside school or he will burn out.

PenguinMama Mon 30-Dec-19 19:57:51

Sounds hard for you both. Why is he unhappy? Has he spoken to his mentor/HoD/LA Nqt contact for help? Perhaps a course or being able to observe another teacher with a similar approach to him.

If it's something specific to the school (lack of support, poor mentor, all tough classes ...) then perhaps a different school would be a better fit.

The first years of teaching are really hard, particularly with all the paperwork and behaviour management but if he manages to find a school which fits him, that'll help.

YourOpinionIsNoted Mon 30-Dec-19 19:58:36

It gets easier with each year as you build up resources and experience

Not when they change the fucking specifications every other bloody year. Taught for twelve years. Don't think I ever got more than two years in a row without having to scrap it all and start again.

FeckaDecka Mon 30-Dec-19 19:59:04

It was my fourth school that I finally felt things were right. I would recommend finishing the nqt year to get the qualification under his belt, then take a career break and try something else. That way he can always go back to it.

pepecat Mon 30-Dec-19 19:59:13

I'd say to see the year out for a number of reasons: it does get easier after time once you have more experience, you understand the school's expectations more and are more aware of when busier times are and once he's secured his NQT year he can look elsewhere and see if another school is more for him. He definitely needs to discuss his workload with his mentor and any issues he's having and they are there to support and offer guidance. How have his observations and targets been going? Are there any issues? It can be a very stressful time and it sounds like he's working very hard to make it a success?

HoneysuckIejasmine Mon 30-Dec-19 20:00:25

He needs to complete his NQT successfully so he can teach in the future if he wants to. If he's struggling to manage it, it might be worth pausing or swapping to part time if possible. The last thing he wants to do it get overwhelmed and end up failing.

PopTheRainbowdrops Mon 30-Dec-19 20:18:29

Observations are okay, but he hasn't managed to get together any of his evidence for the teaching standards. He has a really challenging class that keeps knocking his confidence as he always has them on a Friday, lots of different SEN and has the kids that have moved school to avoid being expelled. He is getting support from his mentor he tells me, they've been giving him suggestions - end of term he was due to have that class and he was swapped to a different class with the HoD. So they are trying to help, but I don't know if it's enough.

He really struggles with the amount of marking required on top of the prep, and he is not organised at all. He never has been, it's always one of his problem areas (he is dyslexic which probably doesn't help in this either. Does help with the kids trying to use it as an excuse to not try though...) But I know he's trying, and I try to help as well.

He's finding it hard to put a finger on it, it's just everything is making him anxious, the constant pressure, always there being something that can be done but isn't, that blasted year 10 class...he said that it just hasn't been what he thought it would be. He worked as a lab technician in a private school before his PGCE, taught some science lessons to a level when their teacher broke a collarbone and the cover teacher was a french teacher and enjoyed it, which is why he looked into a PGCE and did it.

But since he started his PGCE he just hasn't seemed right, he's lost his casual relaxedness, everything is always on edge. Currently thinking about him dropping out and becoming a stay at home dad!

OP’s posts: |
UniversallyUnchallenged Mon 30-Dec-19 20:21:28

New school - start looking, will be advertised jan onwards

YourOpinionIsNoted Mon 30-Dec-19 20:28:10

Just want to say he really, really doesn't HAVE to finish his nqt year. He doesn't. It's just a job. He tried it, it's not for him, he can leave. There is so much pressure on teachers to "just" finish the term, "just" get to the end of the year, "just" give it another go in a different school. It's just a job! Job making you miserable = leave job!

IHeartKingThistle Mon 30-Dec-19 20:35:37

I'm mentoring our NQT at the moment. Has your DH really not got ANY evidence in his folder? I've already had to submit loads for my NQT. He really needs to get some stuff in there - hasn't got to be complex stuff and it doesn't matter if the class is difficult, he can evidence the things he has tried - phone calls to parents, use of behaviour policy, research on SEND etc. No wonder he's stressed - how has his mentor let this happen?

Finishing his NQT year is definitely a good idea. Organisation was something I struggled with too but leaving this stuff to the last minute isn't an option. Hope it all works out OK.

PopTheRainbowdrops Mon 30-Dec-19 20:36:22

Oh and he asked to go part time, but that was refused...

OP’s posts: |
IHeartKingThistle Mon 30-Dec-19 20:36:51

@YourOpinionIsNoted but QTS will mean he can work as a tutor, for example, and will open the door to many other jobs that aren't directly teaching but require QTS.

Neptunesgiraffe Mon 30-Dec-19 20:40:47

A huge amount of the evidence for the teaching standards should be from the observations. So he needs to talk to whoever is observing him and ask them to concentrate on certain agreed standards before hand.
On a separate note, I too, like a PP, have tried to leave teaching yet I'm still doing it. In fact I've taken on more responsibility from January. It's been like a shadow over my Christmas.

Daisydad Mon 30-Dec-19 20:46:35

I recommend that he completes his NQT year before they extend it to two years.

Frlrlrubert Mon 30-Dec-19 20:57:50

Has he 'passed' his first term or is he on an action plan?

I was on an action plan this time last year on my NQT.

My year 10 class started a witch hunt including a dossier if evidence on every single 'mistake' I made to show I was a shit teacher - every time I told one off for talking and not the other, etc. Their parents phoned the school weekly in turns to complain.

I had a Year 9 class so awful they rearranged the timetable for January so I didn't have them any more.

My mentor told me to do minimum marking and focus on planning.

I then had SLT in some of my other tricky classes to 'support' my behaviour management.

I ended up on antidepressants (not just the job, probably should have had them years ago).

The only way was up, it was hard but this year is 1000 times better as an established member of staff with a handle on what the hell I'm doing!

As for evidence, he should have observations, lesson plans, and stuff from training days, identify all the standards each can apply to, photocopy however many times, stick in a massive folder - honestly, no fucker ever looked at mine properly.

noblegiraffe Mon 30-Dec-19 21:00:41

As an NQT he shouldn’t have been given a very challenging class - has he spoken to his HOD about switching him out of them permanently? (He could also ask his union for advice here).

What he also needs to know is that the run up to Christmas is the longest, shittiest time of year and he may well find things a bit easier in January.

Schools are unlikely to allow part time requests mid year, BUT if he is seriously considering packing it in, the school may do more to make his timetable easier rather than having to hire at Easter.

The resignation deadline for leaving at Easter is 28th Feb so he has some time before needing to decide.

dootball Mon 30-Dec-19 21:08:41

I couldn't have done my PGCE or NQT year with 2 small children - it's would have just been too much work. Now I have been teaching a number of years so many things are so much easier, easier than I ever thought they could be .

OneKeyAtATime Mon 30-Dec-19 21:18:09

I would definitely finish his NQT year to get QTS under his belt and reassess then whether he wants to keep on teaching in this school,move to another, or quit teaching. He s already invested a year and a term, he might as well finish. I quit after my NQT year and vowed I would never teach again but through a series of circumstances ended up teaching in further education, which is a million times better. You never know what is around the corner so keep your options open!
Good luck to him and to you!

PopTheRainbowdrops Mon 30-Dec-19 21:23:52

He said that he passed a few bits and failed a lot more and has lots of targets for next time. But he doesn't think he's been given an action plan? And that it didn't go well.

One thing has come out of this whole stinking mess. I've realized that I am not stable enough to be without my antidepressants, and him not talking to me about problems just made my brain decide that he didn't want to be with me any more and that's why he wasn't talking, but actually he was trying to shield me.

OP’s posts: |
Babyfg Mon 30-Dec-19 21:26:19

Nqt year is hard. During mine my mentor said it's like learning to drive a car. At the beginning of your lessons everything is overwhelming and seems madness and then at some point things become second nature. You're basically keeping plates spinning. My nqt year was definitely my most stressful year. I felt like a fraud who shouldn't be in the job. But a lot of things like behaviour management, the curriculum and the schools policies become easier to manage and remember. And you pick up tricks that make your life easier like peer marking and keeping on top of assessments. Teaching is a hard job and your nqt year is definitely the hardest. I would suggest he finishes his nqt year, even if he went to another school. Has he spoken to his mentor? They should be supporting him.

nespressowoo Mon 30-Dec-19 21:48:13

My SIL has just left the profession after 25 years. It took a massive mental (& physical really) burnout that nearly split her family up to make her leave. I would totally leave.

Frlrlrubert Mon 30-Dec-19 21:59:21

Ugh, I really feel for him, it's horrible. You feel like everyone is picking on you and making random suggestions and you don't know what to do.

My mentor and the head of the NQT program would always say different thing in observations, the latter even criticised where in the room I stood.

If at all possible he needs to lead what support he thinks he needs (I was very passive for fear of getting more wrong and it didn't help). I would say, if possible: a fresh start with new class to remove most challenging; and observations by one person (frequency may increase if they have given him lots of targets) so that targets and comments can be consistent.

Also, it's a bit like having a baby, no-one talks about it, everyone else seems to be doing fine. It can feel very lonely, and people that did it a few years ago seem to have forgotten just how awful it was! He isn't the only one, and some that really struggle do go on to be great teachers (not me yet, I'm still getting there, but I am so much better now).

Spacecudet Tue 31-Dec-19 08:26:50

My husband was an NQT when our children were a similar age. The NQT year was hard and has never really got easier. The anxiety and stress has never gone away. Look into alternative jobs now, it is so hard once you're dependent on the wage.

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