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Demotiviating PGCE Interview - work load

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by ml01omm, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. ml01omm

    ml01omm New commenter

    I had a PGCE inteview a few days ago for PGCE (Secondary Modern Languages) and the course tutor seemed to do everything she could to seemingly put me off.

    First she told me the nearest placement school would be at least 1. 5 hrs from my house (the University itself is only 35 mins by train/ 40 mins by road from my house - which is why I applied, as I figured I could live at home).

    Secondly she told me that I should be prepared to be up at 6am and work from 7am through until Midnight, 5 days a week and all day most weekends for the next 2 to 3 years, and that there would be no real 'quiet' times on the course.
    I am not adverse to hardwork, but I know from working in industry, ( I graduated in 2005) that working crazy hours such as 7am tilMidnight consistently without any real down time to follow, is completely not sustainable for a long period of time and I will burn out.
    I guess what I am asking is - what is the PGCE secondary workload like? Is it possible to get everything done to an adequate standard by working hard during the week, ( say 8am through til 8pm) and may be 3 hours on a Sunday? I am quite an organised and diligent person, so probably wouldn't slack off during these hours.
    I'm now really demotivated now as all I keep focusing on are the negatives.
  2. whapbapboogy

    whapbapboogy New commenter

    Don't be put off, if it's what you want to do! There wouldn't be any teachers around if it were impossible! It's never a boring job, it's secure, most of the time it's a delight to be with kids, and we get great holidays- go for it!!!!!!!!
  3. jaimexuk

    jaimexuk New commenter

    I'm currently on a secondary PGCE, and yes, the workload is heavy but 7am until midnight?? ... I haven't stayed up past 10pm any week night yet (I like my sleep) and got to school at 8.30am and left around 4 depending on after school meetings. I do do work every Saturday and Sunday (I may have had 1 or 2 mornings/afternoons off) but I never do work Fri/Sat night as that is my time. It is currently half term and I have two essays due, one 4000 and one 2000 and need to start preparing work for my final placement, but I'm hoping to have one afternoon of just snoozing and relaxing all being well :)

    Many people start their PGCE and realise that it is harder than they thought, quite a lot have dropped out from my uni already. The interviewer has perhaps got pressure on them to ensure that they only have people on the course that definitely won't drop out so may be making you aware of the worst case scenario.
  4. I wouldnt take this as a demotivating interview, rather an honest interview which gets you to consider if this is really what you want to do. When I had my interview in November, we were told that many applicants would have rose tinted glasses about the PGCE and that these needed to be dispelled so that only candidates who really want understand the workload will be successful to reduce the chances of someone dropping off the course.
    In my one on one interview I was also told about the long hours, the stress and the travel, and I didnt take it as trying to put me off, rather getting me to consider these elements to the course to make sure I am prepared for September.
  5. Every year we get a few PGCE students who quit saying they didn't realise how much work they'd have to do. This tutor is just being completely honest in saying you'll be expected to work your socks off. If that's something you feel you can't cope with, fine - go and do something different.
  6. I found Bedfordshire were a bit like this about placements when I interviewed ... Me quizzing them about the.best possible location to live in to get to.placements and the ones on offer would be impossible by public transport. Under no illusion I would have to travel or work hard but was making sure I'd have time to bloody work rather than.constantly travelling to and fro.

    I immediately withdrew my application and got feedback.from then (very good feedback) and quickly sent my app off to my second choice. I was much happier with the sound of the course when I interviewed and fortunately got a place. It is a hard course in general so I wouldn't accept a place or wait on their outcome if you're not happy with the course ... You clearly are motivated and capable or you wouldn't have applied. I don't know your situation or the timings on secondary for applications but I would be tempted to explore other options if you felt like that at interview.... Or talk to another person there about the course to get another perspective ? Maybe try and fond a current student on these forums ?
  7. whapbapboogy

    whapbapboogy New commenter

    Try posting your post again in the subject forum that you teach. I'm sure plenty of people fresh out of PGCE /during PGCE will answer you. I've been teaching for 18 years now, and it's great- don't be put off.
  8. I agree with the others- definitely did it to make sure you really want to do the PGCE. Mine did a similar thing, not quite so harsh. But they told us on one of our first days that they did it to ensure that they got the right people in who wanted to be there as they had quite a few drop out last year. And you know what, only one has dropped out this year, and that wasn't really the fault of the course.

    I suppose our workloads would be differently timed as it's different courses but there's no reason why you can't take Saturdays off at least. I have to get up at stupid o'clock to get to school and don't get back until 5 at the earliest so my working day is extended in that sense, but if I went to a closer school I would probably be done with work by 9/10pm.
  9. She probably just wanted to try and get across the workload so she knew you weren't going into it blind. If you're organised I'm sure you won't burn out and plus nothing worth having is ever easy to get. Don't focus on the negatives, just remember how much you want to do it [​IMG] It will all be worth it.
  10. Goat2

    Goat2 New commenter

    Sounds honest with a slight hype! Yes as ITE providers we get slated by TDA and Ofsted if you drop out so we do make the message about it being tough! Even worse for Secondary as you have an extra 30 days in school so have long essays at the same time you are teachng.
    This year we had a bright trainee, brilliant references from a school they worked in, fully active on the course and then two weeks in to school placement dropped out citing the massive weekend workload. Bet it was more likely their partner moaning that they were not off to the pub or away for a rave but then you have to have a partner committed to this course too.
    As fo expecting a walk to school on placements dream on! We only give local ( and that's a radius of 30 miles!!) to matures with a young family, there are just not enough schools offering places.
    The opposite side to the coin is how many seem to survive this trauma and come out bright cheerful happy teachers
  11. jaimexuk

    jaimexuk New commenter

    Like you, I read forum after forum and got myself in to a tiz last August worrying about the PGCE course and the workload, placements etc. Having read all of the online horror stories and still deciding that the PGCE was for me was the best thing that I could have done. I was fully aware of what the absolutely, worst case, nightmare scenario could be, so now I'm actually doing the course nothing surprises me.
    I was wrong to have worried, I can walk to my first placement school (but drive, too many books to carry!) and my second placement is a ten minute drive.
    After reading online stories, I also worried that I would have a 'bullying and unsupportive' mentor, yet I couldn't have received more support if I tried.

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