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Dreading Year 2.

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by MissKDH, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. Hi! I'm a mature student on a 4 year KS2/3 Science Ed course at Brighton Uni. I'm divorced and have a 6 year old daughter. Last year we both coped better than I'd expected with uni. I commute for an hour either way on the trains into uni, 9am lectures were the hardest as we'd have to leave home at 7am, dropping my daughter off at a friends so I could catch a 7.30 train. I was having driving lessons, but quickly realised I just couldn't afford to run a car.

    My first year placement, an 8 week block was a nightmare. I made my total situation very clear to the uni; yet despite there being 8 primary schools in my town-two literally over the road from me (and I know they had students last year) I got placed in one miles away, again meaning hellish early starts for my daughter (who was 5 at the time). I complained to my course leader who was very unsympathetic and I was told I'd have to do it, or quit. She even gave me a lecture on how she did her training with 2 children, and I reminded her that she's married....Even the teachers at the school I'd been placed in couldn't believe how far I was expected to travel given the fact that a) I don't drive and b) I have a small child. I'm really worried about my secondary placement next January as there are are only 2 secondary schools in the town-the rest in the neighbouring towns are very much off the beaten track.

    Whilst I appreciate that the uni rely heavily on the kindness of schools to take students (they also pay £450 per student to the school), I'm really worried about where I'll get placed. I'm hoping to finish my driving this year, but again can't afford a car. Even if I could, my daughter's my main priority. I'm really worried I'll have to quit....We don't get told where we're going until the week before.
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    If it was me, I'd keep going with the course and worry about the placement nearer the time. No point worrying now, or quitting, only to find you would have ended up with a secondary school in your town.

    You might find you are placed with someone else who does have a car (there will be more students on a secondary school placement) and can share with you.

    Although you can't afford a car, you could possibly rent one for the 8 weeks, Monday to Friday, of your placement. Yes it will be expensive, but you might find you can negotiate a good deal and it might well be worth it.

    There isn't much any of us can do. You will be placed where the uni place you and will have to decide what to do then. Distance isn't the only factor and making life easy for students isn't a top priority either. Yes needs are considered, but it isn't the overriding factor.
  3. I'm told our placements this year aren't paired, and I don't think I can finish learning to drive in 3 months. I don't know of any car rental company that will loan to a new driver....

    It's the attitude of the course leader that get's me. She was down right rude to me, yet bent over backwards for other mature students who had kids, seemingly because they were married-she replaced one guy due to his circumstances with his wife and kids.
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Your placement may not be paired, but there is likely to be other students from other courses at the same secondary school at the same time.

    I cannot possibly comment on your course leader. You do not know the ins and outs of the other students' needs and circumstances, nor the reasons for any moves, just have a 'seemingly because they are married'. People will not discriminate against you for being a single parent, but neither should they discriminate for you because you are a single parent.

    I would still continue with the course and worry about the placement and the practicalities when the time comes. But if you know you won't be able to manage it and so won't be able to pass the course, then maybe find something else?
  5. I happen to know the ins and outs of this particular students situation very well-everyone on our course does. I apologise if you think I'm expecting favours or 'an easy ride'; what I do expect is better support from my course leader than I'm currently getting. People DO discriminate for being a single parent.

    The shame of it is I passed my first year exceptionally well, and got an outstanding on my placement.

    Shame the lack of support is mirrored here.
  6. I think you need to step back a little before making comments like that OP. You seem to have a chip on your shoulder, which you are bringing into this thread. If you are approaching real people with this chip on display I'm not too surprised that you are getting a negative response.
    Most courses will have a tutor who is responsible for setting up placements. Have you (gently!) approached them and asked for a meeting? In my Uni the course leader had naff all to do with who went where. If you can explain to the placement coordinator that you struggled during last placement due to the distance and give them some suggestions of actions that could help this year then you may get better consideration. You've already been given some by the poster you were quite rude to - ask to be placed in a school with someone who can drive and car share, ask for your transport issues to be taken into consideration when they are placing students in x, y and z schools in your town, or suggest a couple of schools that are not in your town but are 'fairly' accessible. Do your Uni give out hire cars - mine did - this may be another option. If you approach it with some positive solutions already in mind you may get a much better response.
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I'm sorry you feel that way. I have tried to give you ideas on how things could be better, ie support you, but you have dismissed them all. You COULD, fairly easily, pass your driving test in the four months before your placement. You COULD hire a car, companies certainly do hire to new drivers. You MIGHT get a placement close to home. You managed last time and so COULD this, even though it was hard.

    I'm not sure what you are hoping for. None of us would ever say that you ought to be given a placement as convenient as possible because you are a single parent. That would be discriminatory and totally unacceptable. Other students have been on this board bemoaning a 2-3 hour commute with several changes, you seem to have done better than that, so are not being given the worst possible placements.

    Life is hard sometimes. It is only 8 weeks out of your (and your child's) entire life and will have a great impact later when you pass and are a teacher. Only you can possibly decide if it is worth the sacrifice.

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