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Depression & PGCE

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by pavot, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Hi,

    I started my secondary PGCE in September 2011. To be honest it was never something I wanted to do, after I graduated I spent some time abroad - the bursary was the main factor.

    Due to significant life events I was diagnosed with depression in November. I have been seeking counselling and been taking medication since then.
    My first placement school was fantastic - I actually thought teaching might have been for me! (Apart from all the pointless paperwork/jumping through hoops). However my second placement (a notoriously difficult placement at our University) has been a complete downer.
    I now realise that teaching is not for me (I have a job abroad starting in September - it relies on me completing the PGCE, so I can't quit). I find the endless reams of paperwork and planning tedious and pointless. I think Learning Objectives are a waste of time and AFL is a farce. As you can see, I'm not in good spirits - my mentor at my school and the staff are very negative and pessimistic. I have not heard the words 'Q Standard' been muttered at all. My mentor even told me that it is impossible for a student teacher to be more than satisfactory. The head of department is just waiting to retire and has no enthusiasm at all. This isn't personal, it's how it is.

    Anyway, I have told my university tutor about my condition. He was very unsympathetic and didn't even acknowledge my special circumstances form, which was sent by my GP as she was concerned. Ironically I'm doing very well on the PGCE, getting 70% in my assignments and delivering good lessons, but I just can't cope with the negativity and the constant put downs. I try to be creative with lessons and come up with new exciting ideas, but I am constantly told that they are a waste of time. The department in the school is also the worst in the school - 70% of students are below target.

    I now only have 22 days left teaching however I'm not sure much more I can take. The Easter holidays have been a nice break but now I dread going back... I just want to crawl into my bed and sleep until it's over!

    Are there any rules out there about how many days I can miss? I've missed 2 due to a throat infection over the whole placement. I don't feel like I can take much more. This school makes me hate teaching, something I never thought I'd say.
  2. MizUnderstood

    MizUnderstood New commenter

    Don't allow one bad placement to ruin the hard work you've put in so far. Sometimes as student teachers we are all guilty of trying to focus on the 'creative' planning of 'wow' lessons, but often it could have been done better had it been 'plain'. Yes, kids love to have creative lessons but creativity should never be to the detriment of their overall learning, and maybe this is what is meant by 'they're a waste of time'. On my course we are allowed 10 days in total before we have to be bought to the panel for a 'chat', but my course runs from the 1st of September to the end of July so is several week longer than most PGCEs. I wouldn't suggest 'skiving' at all as it will just look bad on your record, you have to declare any days off to new employers and it just won't look good, just go in, grit your teeth and count down the days, it will fly by!
  3. Notwithstanding

    Notwithstanding New commenter

    Please be kind to yourself, first and foremost. If you have been diagnosed, please keep consulting your doctor and attempt to address the cause of the depression through a counselling referral either through your doctor or uni.
    It is an unfortunate situation that the job abroad is relying on it, but again I stress that without good mental health, you will not be able to take full joy from anything, it is at your core and should be put first. Depression, when left to spiral can lead to breakdowns, and it's not something to be dismissed. Feel free to inbox me, I left a PGCE in the new year after difficult family circumstances coupled with knowing I didnt want to teach (they were linked I guess)
  4. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I too suffer from depression but love teaching, so that keeps me going a lot of the time.
    If you don't want to teach, leave the course. It's silly to train to do something you don't even want to do that's making you ill. I can't imagine why anyone would put themselves through the rigours of a PGCE course if they didn't at least have the overwhelming desire to be a teacher to see them through.
  5. You did the PGCE mainly because you would get paid to do it - so treat it like the temporary job you took it to be and just get through another 22 days of teaching. It costs taxpayers a fortune to train a teacher and you aren't planning to put that investment to use in this country. Please at least put in 22 days more effort.
    Depression is horrible, I've been at rock bottom a few times myself, but you have an escape route planned, just grit your teeth and see the placement out.

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