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Does anyone have any positive PGCE stories?!

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by jaimexuk, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. jaimexuk

    jaimexuk New commenter

    It isn't,t always bad kmc1378. Both of my placements have been 15 mins or less from my house. I'd got a job lined up for sep byJanuary and have already got the Masters side of my PGCE done. Both have my mentors have been lovely and supportive in every way ( mainly, I think, because they appreciate the amount of work I put in for the pupils and department). I haven't done any work on a Friday or Saturday night since being on the course, and I've taken the whole day of today to relax in the sun. Organisational skills and discipline are really important.. If you have those skills you will be fine.
  2. EcoLady

    EcoLady New commenter

    Yes, it's tough.Yes, you will work harder and longer than you ever thought possible. But ...if teaching is the career for you then you will also have the most FUN ever!
    I am exhausted, but love what I'm doing. I quit a very sucessful career to fulfil my long-held dream. I'm juggling two children with the course and regularly don't get to bed until 2am when I'm on placement ... but I really do love it! The buzz from the pupils is amazing. The first time that you see the light bulb suddenly go on inside their head when they 'get it' is worth every second of slog.
    The essays were hard going, having your practice criticised is hard to take until you get into the habit of reflecting positively, but your coursemates will be great support and you will realise that you are getting better and better in the classroom as you apply what you have learned.
    It's great. Go for it!
  3. My PGCE year is almost finished.
    I seriously cannot believe how fast it went.
    I had so many sleepless nights. In bed as late as at 3 am and up three hours later. Planning and marking have been the toughest part.
    But I don't feel that it has been the horrific year some people talk about.
    I had time to spend with my family, I had week ends off and some afternoons as well.
    Both my mentors have been great and I enjoyed every minute, even late hours on silly PowerPoints.
    The secret is to do as much as possible in school. Teach/plan/type your lesson plan. Spend your free hours doing that and not sitting in the staff room glued to the couch having a laugh with experienced teachers that have it all under-control. Some PGCE students struggle because they do not manage their time in a smart way. You can do soooo much in an hour or even 20 minutes so do it.
    The truth is that when you work hard, it will show and everyone around you will appreciate.
    I have contributed to both schools' departments with resources and even displays and I have always been appreciative of all the time my mentors spent guiding me, because lets face it, teachers are ridiculously busy, even in their ''free times'' they have so much to do.
    My advice will be:
    Work hard
    Plan ahead (e.g. week ends and holidays)
    Try to work in your lunch times and free periods.
    Do not leave until your worksheets for the next day are printed and photocopied.
    Do as much as you can to be helpful to everyone as people will always be more willing to help someone who is not selfish.
    Smile and do never take anything personal.
    Be proud, getting on a course is a massive acheivement and this is the best job in the world.
    Do take at least one day off per week or you will go mad ;-P
    Good luck
  4. Hi kmc1378,
    I posted a similar post to this earlier and feel the same as you! I've been accepted on a PGCE course and these stories are all negative! I felt fantastic when I go the place, and now not so!
    My boyfriend and others on this forum though have said people only post when they are grumpy, worried, or upset and need something negative resolved! So maybe all the happy people are working away at it?? haha.
    Thanks to all the people that have replied to this thread - you have restored my excitement!
  5. Thank you all so much for your replies, you have really reassured me! I've spent the past three years working full time in the day and studying full time for an English degree at night so I'm used to hard work, long days, and time management! I'm hoping this stands me in good stead ready for the PGCE! I was just a little worried because I also have two children aged 11 and 3 and I had visions of never being able to spend time with them but if I can manage a day at weekends for my family then that would be great :) I'm really proud to get on a Primary PGCE course, and I'm excited again too, thanks very much :)
  6. shoegal44

    shoegal44 New commenter

    I am also nearing the end of my PGCE and it has flown!! I have had the time of my life; both of my placement schools were fab and supportive, my mentors great and I've had time to myself! I have been up until midnight once (when my printer broke and I had an observation the following day), I haven't spent all of my weekends working and I have been home before 6 most nights! Once you get yourself into a routine and maximise your free periods, things become manageable. I was the same as you last year - scouring this forum for any advice. Please believe me that there's nothing to worry about x
  7. MizUnderstood

    MizUnderstood New commenter

    Pressure points WILL happen, it is a roller coaster! This term has been the toughest for me in terms of workload, and I'm now suffering with horrific flu as I think I am totally physically drained, but I can honestly say that the only time I am up late working is the night before an assignment is due!!

    I'm not sure how people are up working until 12-3 every night to be honest, my reports are brill, I deliver good quality lessons and out of school I probably work about 12-20 hours a week on PGCE related stuff. I''m in school for 8, leave between 4-5.30, go home and do whatever needs doing followed by a couple of hours if needed. My results aren't suffering, my files are tip-top. However, it swallows up as much time as you allow it to, so if you allow yourself to work 70+ hours per week you can!

    It differs from term to term, and placement to placement, and I can honestly say if it weren't for having to do assignments this term that I wouldn't feel as pants as I do!
  8. Hi,
    I would ignore the stress stories, a lot of the time I think that the people that sit on here moaning about their placements are obviously not being proactive, the PGCE is everything that YOU choose to make it. The secret of the PGCE is to stay calm and try to not get stressed, even though I am not denying that Ive had the odd cry at home and twice at school. I did stressed for one week of my first placement and realised that it actually got me nowhere fast and really didnt suit me, it translates to the kids who then take the opportunity to wind you up more. Instead, if you feel you are getting a bit flustered, go and talk to somebody, a five minute chat can really help even if its just to see what the other students are up to.
    Also everybody is right, time management is key. I am around half way through my second placement so finishing the PGCE in around 8 weeks. I do a little bit of work on a Saturday morning but that is the only work I do outside of school. The best thing that has worked for me is that I aim to be in school for 8.15 but I generally leave shortly after the bell. My ultimate help has been my teachers planner, write down all the lessons you want to plan then do your planning in blocks, giving you a few days a week to then get on with marking or assignments in your free periods. I find this structured approach works loads better than scrambling all of your jobs together.
    If teaching is for you then the work load will only be a small fraction. I think you can maybe compare it to child birth, its hard work, tiring and a pain sometimes but when the kids in your class look happy to see you or say something like 'lets all listen to the cool teacher now' you forget all that pain and realise that its worth it.
    Good Luck
  9. I've been having a whale of a time on this placement. It's hard work, and there are some mornings where I've had to get up at 4am to finish stuff for that day, but I'm doing the course in addition to working almost-full time (30+ hours a week - gotta pay the rent somehow).

    A lot of the good in this placement is down to my mentor, the department, and just general atmosphere. However, I've also come in with a positive attitude and inability to take any **** personally.

    Others in this school are not feeling as positive, and consequently are finding it hard. Keep your chin up, don't let anyone else's negativity affect you, and the whole course will fly by!

  10. s249

    s249 New commenter

    My story is definitely a positive one.
    I'm about 6/7 weeks away from finishing my year too and I love it.
    Every day I go into school, have a blast. It is hard work, but I always go under the impression that if i'm up past 10pm working, then how on earth can I be a good teacher the next day? I rarely do much work past 4pm at home, and work for a few hours each weekend.

    f you're struggling, ask for help but most of all have fun and make sure you never let paperwork get in the way of pupils learning.
  11. It is hard work! You will cry, you will be as tired as you have never been before (I actually fell asleep walking once), you will be exhausted, and you will hopefully love every minute of it.
    It is tough, the planning, the marking and all the rest of it, but it is so worth it. Kids learning something is the best reward for hard work I can think of. The "Ahhhh" moment is my favourite thing in the world right now. It might take some time to get there, and it will be painful, but never give up.
    I think its an attitude problem. If you keep telling yourself that it is hard, and you are tired and you can't wait for it to be over, it will be horrible! There are classes I like less than others, there are days when I want to quit, and then I get a smile from a pupil in the corridor, or I tell them to do something and they do it. It is good in the end.
    I must agree with everything that has been said before. You need to be organised. I try to plan a week in advance (I actually plan my planning) Having a supportive someone at home helps as well, I cannot remember when I cooked last, as my boyfriend doesn't mind doing it for me, he knows how much I appreciate it. Just have an open mind, try every advice people give you, and if it doesn't work, move on, leave it behind, it wasn't for you.
    Don't get wound up by other people, stress is contagious, so vent, but then move on. Don't be stuck in negativity. I said to a future PGCE student the other day "Well done for getting on the course, it will suck! you are going to love it!" Which is exactly what I feel. I have never worked so hard, but I know it is all worth it. I can actually watch myself learning and improving.

    Good luck with your PGCE, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I enjoy mine.
  12. I've had a very positive experience - yes, there's lots to get used to, but generally people are happy to help you and, despite the odd scare story, most students are lovely! Just accept that they'll be ups and downs - and remember to keep smiling :)
  13. Hello! I'm happy you've posted this, I exactly feel the same! I just got accepted on a MFL Secondary course and reading this forum posts makes me anxious. There are so many horror stories on this forum, but whenever I ask "real" people doing a PGCE course how it is like, they all say it's intense but very rewarding. Plus I'm convinced the people who write here are the ones who are unhappy - do you write on forums when everything is going well? I doubt it!
    Working hard is not the horrible thing, it's feeling unhappy that is bad.
    During the interview all the other applicants were already so supportive and friendly, I can't see how I will spend a bad year with such lovely mates.
    Just an advice (that I try to follow!) : don't read the negative posts, just the advices. I realised it didn't bring me anything apart from fear and bad feelings. There is no point worrying about something that doesn't actually happen to you.

    Good luck, I'm sure you'll have a really good PGCE year ; )
  14. Hi all!

    Really glad you started this thread kmc1378 :) I'm still an undergrad doing a English Lit and Lang degree so don't really get much time to look through forums, but saw this on TES's email and had to check it out!

    I had an interview at Oxford earlier this month, and received a reply a week later telling me I was offered a place :-D- couldn't believe it, still getting my head around it now! So glad to hear more positives as after my initial excitement, I was beginning to feel more and more nervous with the negative stories floating around ...

    Thanks for all the positives- its much appreciated!!
  15. Conrad81

    Conrad81 New commenter

    I think that the people saying that they have had time off, take off one day a week or that they don't work weekends are in the minority. Seriously, it's not just the moaners that come on these forums, most trainees do. The people say that they don't work in the evenings and weekends are either very lucky to have mentors who are not giving them much work, or just (as I imagine) they are very lazy
  16. Conrad81

    Conrad81 New commenter

    I work with many pgce from different courses, and they are very REAL. The workload is incredibly intense, more than anything you will have done before. However hard you work, it will not be enough
  17. Conrad81

    Conrad81 New commenter

    You sound very very lazy
  18. jaimexuk

    jaimexuk New commenter

    Lazy...why? I agree that going to bed after 10pm will have a detrimental effect on your teaching if you are the kind of person that needs your sleep. I haven't stayed up after 11pm any night on the PGacE yet am getting great feedback and was the first person at Uni to secure an NQT job.
  19. MizUnderstood

    MizUnderstood New commenter

    I think that's a very big assumption, there is absolutely no-one in my life that would call me lazy, however, I am focused when I work and don't faff around for hours doing something that could take 20 mins! All of my paperwork is topnotch, I am getting consistently good feedback for everything I do, and yet everyone knows that I am driven to do better and on each placement I am polishing of the minor amendments I need to make me the outstanding teacher I want to be, but after 10 weeks of teaching placement I'm pretty happy being consistently good with a few outstanding features. I am doing all of this without having to work until midnight every day...that doesn't make me lazy...surely that makes me a good time manager?!?! Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm finding this easy, I am just strict with myself over how long to take over things as I can procrastinate for hours when the mood takes me...usually when I have an essay to write!
  20. I am doing a secondary music PGCE and have just finished my main (3 month) placement. There have been ups and downs and I have never been so tired in my life! However I have really enjoyed developing as a teacher. My mentor and I didn't really get on and that caused me to have some down days. I was in school from around 7.45am-6pm most days but that meant I got most of my planning done at school. I also spent at least one day at the weekends planning and doing assignments etc. The best thing for me was having the support of the other PGCE students, we became really good friends and it was nice to come in the staff room and talk about lessons that were good or bad or something funny the kids had said! It is a tough course and I thought I had prepared myself for that but I don't think you can ever be totally prepared. However I now have 3 weeks off to relax, do assignments and socialise wooo lol. It's all about time management really, steal resources from your school or tes as that is what took up most of my time if I had to make a new resource. The time really does flyby though so make the most of it as you will never have as many free lessons as you do in your PGCE year! xx

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