#1: Kathie Ferrars as an NQT Author: Sarah-D, Location: CambsPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 5:07 pm I re read New Mistress recently and was struck by how the Chalet School treated its NQTs (Newly Qualified Staff.)
As well as teaching her subject she is given immediate charge of Inter V a form which is described as " a bit of an experiment for us". They're a transition form (which is always difficult) and include Emerence, Heather, Francie etc and seven unknown new girls. Surely they should have given Inter V to someone with a bit more experience?
Then on her first afternoon with her new class she is sent out for a walk with them on her own in a strange country. You'd have thought they could have found another member of staff to go along just for the first time ( though they did send OOAO who probably counts as about three staff... but Kathie didn't know that... )
She has to spend a lot of her free time in the first weeks coaching Yseult Pertwee.
And again at half term she has to take a party of prefects on her own to the glacier...
The school seemed very keen to throw her in at the deep end...
(Though having written this I remember that half way through my first term the two other NQTs and I were told we would be producing, stage managing and wardrobe mistressing the school play in time for the end of term .)
#2: Author: Katherine, Location: London, UKPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 5:22 pm They do seen the throw rather a lot at her although I suppose it's as much a plot device as anything.
My friend was an NQT last year and she had the equivalent of Inter V, I suppose; a class witha lot of tricky characters. This year her class are much 'nicer'.
#3: Author: Clare, Location: LiverpoolPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:11 pm I couldn't read New Misstress last year - although Kathy does get a lot thrown at her she coped an awful lot better than I did!
I too had an 'experimental form' and received little support, and had so much stuff thrown at me! However, I survived to tell the tale and my job has been so much easier this year
#4: Author: Squirrel, Location: St-Andrews or DunfermlinePosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:04 pm Hmmm - in some ways, it's EBD wanting new material to work with, and treating her in some ways as if she is someone who has been in the school for years.
It's as if she sometimes remembers that this is a new staff member, and sometimes forgets it as well - when it becomes inconvenient I suppose! (harsh view of it all possibly!)
#5: Author: skye, Posted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:38 pm Or maybe EBD just expects her to do as much as the other staff? Within the context of that school she had lots of support and access to senior staff for advice. It would only be a problem if she tried to deal with everything by herself rather than asking for help when she needed it.
#6: Author: Mel, Location: UP NORTHPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:28 pm In the time the book was written there was no such thing as an NQT, young teachers had to cope on their own and volunteer for extra-curicular activities. I agree that the excursions are a bit daunting.
#7: Author: JayB, Location: SE EnglandPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:26 pm A friend who started teaching in the state system in the mid '70s was reminiscing yesterday. She said that looking back, she doesn't know how she got through her first two years of teaching. She had virtually no support. She was visited twice in her first year, the second time the person didn't actually observe her teaching, just told her she'd passed her probationary year.
At least Kathie, being at a boarding school, has the opportunity to approach other staff members informally out of school for advice - eg when she consults Rosalie (?) about Yseult. And we do see Miss Annersley et al being supportive.
#8: Author: Cath V-P, Location: Newcastle NSWPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:34 am I was given a first year form, as was the other NQT. Talk about the blind leading the blind......
#9: Author: Tara, Location: Malvern, WorcestershirePosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:08 am Life was very different in 1970 when I started teaching, and much more like Kathie's experience. I had exactly two thirty-five minute 'frees' per week in my first year (which I ended up giving up to work in the 'Remedial Dept'), and I've never been so tired in my life. I remember once sitting at a table in the staffroom, leaning my head on my hand - and going clean off to sleep. I, too had a Year 7 form, and had to do extra-curricular stuff, including taking kids to France, though not alone. There was no support with discipline etc unless you asked for it, which felt like admitting failure, and I had two visits from the Deputy Head to confirm that I'd passed my Probationary Year, and nothing more. I felt envious of the very good support for the NQTs in my last school - but we survived as, indeed, did Kathie!
#10: Author: jennifer, Location: TaiwanPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 9:30 am I'm suprised at how little time she had to get prepared for the classes, and how little training for the things peculiar to the school she gets, given that it's an aggressively multi-cultural school in a foreign country.
The excursion/walk part is particularly daunting. She's never been in the mountains before, has no hiking/mountaineering experience and doesn't know any of the hazards of the terrain, and hasn't even hiked the route before. Then, she's got seven new girls, plus a bunch of discipline problems - in the classroom it's one thing, but up in the Alps it's another. If I were headmistress I'd send her out with another mistress for the first half semester or so, until she's familiar with it.
Thowing a teacher in the deep end in the classroom sounds like par for the course in those days. It's the additional hiking/multi cultural student body/lots of frail girls/expeditions on glaciers part that seems unwise. Add Joey and OOAOML to the mix, and I'm suprised she didn't run screaming off.
#11: Author: Lesley, Location: Allhallows, KentPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:09 am Can just imagine her outraged letter to the Times after she fled home!
#12: Author: Woofter, Location: Location? What's a location?Posted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 11:55 am Lol, never noticed before but as you say she was thrown right in at the deep end. NQTs at my school weren't given register classes 'cos they might only stay for one year.