Where do I start?

Sara Bubb offers advice to students and NQTs

I've had lots of problems completing my induction year, and live in a part of the country with few teaching vacancies. I qualified in 1999 and obtained a one-term post in a school. I passed this first term of induction.

But I worked on supply for four terms as I found it difficult to get a post. Then I worked in three schools for a term each. In the first school I was teaching groups with especially bad discipline problems, in the second I was teaching subjects for which I had not been trained, and in the third I taught classes that were out of control. I have not passed the induction year as the two most recent schools said I was not making satisfactory progress with classroom management, but the LEA has granted me a term's extension. I can't find a post, and I've been told that I've used up the four terms an NQT may work as a casual supply teacher. I'm in the situation of turning down supply work, although, as a single mother, I am desperate for the income.

Your story makes my blood run cold. The time limit on supply work was brought in to protect new teachers from doing a job that is difficult and requires experience and resilience. While supply work helps you develop some aspects of teaching, it is not good for getting better at other things, and is hell for someone with classroom management problems. As this was your main priority for development, your various experiences have served to hinder rather than help your progress.

However, the time limit is stopping you from working and denying schools a much-needed supply teacher. You can only do induction on supply if you have a term's contract. This is a crazy situation and the law needs to be changed.

I would urge you and others to write to the Education Secretary. Keep looking for a term's post using every contact you have, including the local education authority. Meanwhile, though you are forbidden from working as a supply teacher in a maintained school, you can work in independent schools, sixth form and FE colleges, city technology colleges and city academies. These are not deemed to be maintained schools.

When you do get a job, make sure you get all the support to pass induction. If you fail induction you will need to appeal so make a note of all contraventions of the NQT entitlement in all schools where you have undergone induction. Good luck.

Are you a student or NQT? Email your questions to: susan.young@newsint.co.uk. Sara Bubb's A Newly Qualified Teacher's Manual:how to meet the induction standards is published by David Fulton, pound;5

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