Learning to teach is a difficult and challenging process for beginning teachers in the national curriculum contexts due to several pressures that the centralised system presents for school and classroom contexts. This study investigated the difficulties beginning middle school mathematics teachers faced in the Turkish national curriculum context without any structured beginning teacher support through the experiences of six beginning teachers. They were interviewed after their first year teaching and after the fourth year or during the fifth year about factors in the national curriculum, school, and classroom contexts that affected their learning to teach. Findings revealed that the national curriculum context interfered with the school and classroom contexts, often by presenting many additional difficulties. The teacher education period seemed to be ineffective in preparing beginning teachers for the difficulties arising from the national curriculum context. Teacher education programmes in centralised systems should provide pre-service teachers with knowledge of possible difficulties specific to these contexts that they might face in their first years.