Overwhelming response to my last post.

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to the over whelming response that I have had since I posted last night about failing my final NQT observation. I have read through every single comment and got so much advise. It is great/ upsetting to hear that I am not alone. some of you have had horrendous times and as a whole my NQT year has been tough, but not soul destroying (until yesterday) and I have genuinely enjoyed my year. Yes, I am pleased that I have passed my year, but as one blogger posted, it’s a shame that an NQT goes through so much stress only to dread year two and be put under more intense pressure.

I have had 24hrs to think about what has happened and unfortunately, I am still not fully over the ‘blow’ and I found myself quite down and unenthusiastic today in school. When I was teaching I almost had a ‘what is the point?’, it has really knocked my confidence but most importantly my drive. At the moment (and I hope this will change) I feel like it has dampened my spirit and they have dimmed a little bit of my light. My mum rang me at lunch time and when I answered the phone she commented on how ‘disheartened’ I felt. She too said get the union involved, but I agree with Toby when he said getting the union involved would ‘mark my card’, my card has already been marked somewhat because of me speaking up to the TA who was belittling me. (She just so happens to be best friends with the teacher who did my observation. Petty coincidence? Friends sticking up for each other? Getting their own back? Maybe. But I don’t want to start going down the paranoid route).

I have reflected and spoke to lots of people regarding yesterday. The facts are, I have never had an ‘outstanding’ observation this year, although I have had good, positive ones, and until my final observation, I was making progress. I have only had negative observations when my mentor observes with another higher level member of staff. I personally don’t respect my mentor as a teacher, I have seen her teach and it was one of the most shockingly bad lessons I have seen in my life. At the end of it she said ‘sorry, I’m so embarrassed. I’ve not taught RE for ages…’ Anyway, it seems to me that she just goes with whatever someone else says. It is annoying that to save her own back she has put the blame on me. I am also kicking myself because she offered to look at my planning for the lesson and I said it was ok (HUGE mistake) as in the slating she said ‘I mean, you don’t even want advice, I offer to look at your planning but you refused.’ I didn’t refuse, I just said I would have liked to try myself and see how it goes, so now she is scott free on the responsibility front on that account. I still think my lesson was not a fail. The children were engaged, loved the lesson and learnt something. I don’t agree with the intense planning scrutiny and observations that are to come, but I have come to realise that it is all a game and if it means three months of hell to get them off my back after Christmas, then so be it.

As the eternal optimist I will now state the positives:

*The first, most important one is that I PASSED. I have passed my NQT year. I survived. My salary will increase and I don’t need to go into the new academic year with unfinished business, so to speak.

*I am still in year 2 next year with the same TA. We work together well, she is extremely supportive (my school rock), and I have all my planning and will have a better idea of what to do.

*My headmistress has been so supportive, to be honest. I went to see her this morning. She told me that she had heard about my bad lesson observation (that’s just great, isn’t it?), but she is going to have a meeting with me tomorrow afternoon to go through how she is going to help me come September. (A bit embarrassed about this- but pleased with the support). As my TA said, she wouldn’t be putting all this in place if she didn’t want to invest in me.

*My children have made progress and moved up the appropriate APS points. Not everyone is on track, but they have made great progress and a few have made huge jumps.

*’What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.’ All this pressure next year will make me the strongest teacher I can be. I will be a ‘better teacher for it.’

I know it will be hard work. I know it will be tough. I know that there is no chance of trying to get that elusive work/ life balance come September. But the positive thing is, I’m ready. I’m expecting it. And I am going to prepare for battle in the summer holidays.

I can and I will do it!


Wow…. failed final observation

The thing about the NQT year is, you just get used to things, you feel like you’re getting the hang of things, slowly getting a work life balance and then WOOOOSH! The rug is literally pulled from under you. This happened today.

With only two weeks left to the half term, I had my last observation. I have my class for next year, I’m excited to still be working with my TA who I love and my class next year is a brand new one with all new mod cons. I just had to get through my last observation. And I failed. Well to put it bluntly by my mentor, ‘that lesson was a bit wobbly…. no, actually, it would have failed.’
‘Can I do it again?’
‘No, I’ve just told Miss X (Headmistress) how… how it needs more work and you’re going to be observed weekly from September. And we’ll need to see all your short term planning by Monday mornings. But the good news is that you’ve passed.’

I asked her why/ how/ what? Panic rising inside me, but more than anything, just a really big feeling of sh*tness. It feels sh*t to be told that you’re just not good enough. It feels low to be told ‘you’re just not where you should be.’ And there’s only so many times you can hear ‘if Ofsted saw that… if Ofsted looked at that….if Ofsted were here today.’ You know what? Ofsted can p*ss off.

My results are good. They speak for themselves. I had all children making progress, only four didn’t pass their SATS. I am in school at 7.30am every morning and leave at 6pm. I work at weekends. I plan for 5 sets of differentiated work per lesson, I have numerous interventions in place, I try to be ‘sparkly’ and ‘shiny’ for each lesson and I mark books on time and do displays. I have had no sleep properly since September, I have had no real social life (or sex life, to put it bluntly) since last summer. And to then be told that I’m just not ‘getting there’ and that this change can only come from me, it’s what I ‘have to work on’ is just devastating. I. Don’t. know. What. Else. I. Am. Supposed. To. Do.

Maybe, just maybe I am not a very good teacher? I need to face the facts that, in all honesty, maybe I’m just not a good teacher and that I will most likely always ‘require improvement’. I’ve seen the outstanding teachers at my school- and I don’t want to be them. One is going through a divorce with her husband of 2 years because she is never there for him and doesn’t have time for anything that isn’t school related and another one looks like she is ill, has had a mental breakdown and resents her job. That’s what I’m really scared of- that thus job will break me. It will batter all confidence and enthusiasm out of me until I am one of ‘those’ teachers who hate thier jobs and the children and the curriculum and the lessons and the life!

Phew. It actually feels good to get it off my chest. I am going to have a hot bath, get a really nice outfit ready to wear to work and have a good night’s sleep, not thinking about anything. And yes, I cried in school today, but I think crying for the first time in July with two weeks to go during my NQT year is outstanding.