New primary school teacher explains why he quit in tears after just one term

The Liverpool Echo reports that Eddie Ledsham, from Wallasey, was warned by university tutors that his first year in employment would be hard. But, after graduating, the 22-year-old landed a job teaching a class of eight-year-olds in Wirral.

However, he said he found himself crying due to the pressure of impossible hours and unrealistic targets.

There was only one class in the year group, which meant that Eddie said he was planning every lesson himself, rather than splitting it between other teachers in the year like some schools.

Although Eddie was taught on his university course how to plan lessons, he said they were impractical for the job.

At the time, Eddie was living with his dad and getting in from school about 6.30pm at night – usually after being the last person to leave the school. He would get up at 5.30am to do marking or planning and then do more planning in his classroom before the day started.

During the third week, he went to his mum’s house and cried his eyes out and said: “I don’t know if I can do this.”

He added: “I felt that what was expected of us was astronomical. I love working with children but the problem with the teaching is that there are so many expectations. I think we should have been given more on-the-job experience during the course of the degree, as it didn’t at all prepare me for it.”

Read more New primary school teacher explains why he quit in tears after just one term

Surprised? Has he given in far too easily or did you feel like this as an NQT, totally under prepared? Should on-the-job experience be for longer periods? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: Employment, Mental Health, Primary and Teaching.


  1. The first term IS tough – for every new teacher. It’s not at all unusual to be responsible for planning all the lessons you have in a day (and always the case in secondary) but there are plenty of teaching resources available. I feel for this guy because it is not what he expected – and it should have been. That’s a failure of the University and the course he was on. Even the Teach Again programme for returning teachers places them in school for 12 weeks to fully get to grips with being back in a school environment – and they are already qualified and experienced! It’s no easy job but if you’re properly trained and supported its a very, very rewarding one.

  2. It is too simplistic to point a finger at the nature of initial teacher training, especially as it has progressively become much more school-based, irrespective of the route followed. One suspects the critical factor is bound up with the expectations of the school with regard to its NQTs, its orientation towards work-life balance for the staff as a whole and the strategies it has in place to support new members of staff in particular. Of course, there are also wider pressures inherent in a high stakes testing culture which can work against teacher morale and retention and one also appreciates the particular problems generated in a one-form entry school for the NQT,especially with regard to lesson-planning. But at the end of the day, it is the ethos within the school and the quality of its support for staff which will make a difference.

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