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Failed my first placement, now being dissuaded from uni to carry on

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by VTrussell, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. VTrussell

    VTrussell New commenter

    So I came into this course knowing that it would be intense, it is pretty much a three year teaching degree being done in 10 months. I have worked within a school environment for 6 years so I know how stressful the workplace is, I was even honest from the get go that actually going from Teaching Assistant to Teacher is a very hard step up as you have to change how you are in the classroom from support to lead. But my first placement had red flags and warning signs from the start of my observation, my school based tutor was rarely actually in school and the Class Teacher didn't really want me in their class. I mean I would go through every lesson plan and resource I was going to use, be told that they all looked good and then after when it was either to much detail or the resources were to complicated or not challenging enough would just throw me under the bus with Senior staff and my Uni. My first week was so bad that it physically made me sick, and my observation went so badly that on my way back home I cross a motorway bridge and you just get that thought how easy it would be to stop your car and just jump. Realizing I was not going to be getting any support I changed my lesson plans and resources to fit in that middle ground and have back up to simplify or challenge if needed, My second week did go better and every target set I worked towards but they were expecting the finished article not someone in their first few weeks of teaching. The uni sided with them as they had worked with the school for years and I think for uni it is more important that they keep the placement schools happy so they can continue to use them in the future. But after my first week I went onto the support action plan which I managed to meet all targets but one. Classroom management has been tricky to go from TA to Teacher but had shown signs of improvement, but still not enough so was moved onto a Cause for Concern which I was on for less then 24 hours till my Tutor finally came into the school to carry out my mid point review observation but spent most of the time talking to the Head Teacher and Class Teacher so they finally got to say that they didn't want me there anymore so without even really being given the chance was given a fail grade.

    Part of me was glad to be out of that school, as among other things even though it was a Year 2 they didn't teach phonics which I was supposed to observe and teach as part of my weekly tasks, I was meant to be given 6 children to monitor which I wasn't, I was told by my uni I shouldn't plan or teach PE but was given PE to teach, even observing the class teacher during team teaching warming up with stretches which I was told was the worse thing you could do, I asked them to see there copy of their safe practice in PE book which I was told was a legal requirement and only to be told they didn't have a copy.

    But now it has left me with a fail grade for my first placement, from my tutor I was basically told to think about not carrying on, and asking why I wanted to be a teacher if it was about prestige or the money, or maybe should go back to being a Teacher Assistant. After posting on the forum for my uni I was told that this tutor was known to not be the best so to speak.

    So I had a meeting with the head of the primary program yesterday, again being dissuaded to quit, where the truth is I have had to pay £9,500 tuition fees, I have had to move to a new city and the cost of halls, a contract I can not actually get out of even if quit is £7000 so that is £16,500 I am paying to train here with them and just get that. They then come out with the other options of suspending course and coming back before first placement next October and have to pay all of that again which I can't afford to do. It is a shoe strong budget for me to do this now. Anyway the other option was that they would send to the exam board a fail grade for my first placement and request a retake, which I will be charged to take, the Head didn't know the cost of this charge and to contact the finance office, but then it would be an action plan to pass before sent me out again which might not be till the summer term, so would have to come back to next autumn and the following spring term. But your only classed as a student when out on placement so won't be any student support.

    So now I am just stuck as which ever choice I make I am pretty much fricked over, and there doesn't seem to be anyone within the uni who is willing or able to support me in any way, shape or form.

    I don't want to quit as this is something I have had a calling for, for years and have just had to go the very long way round to have this chance, but when up against no support from the uni and when get sent to a school that doesn't want a trainee teacher, and now with what looks like a cost that I have no idea how I am going to afford or even if sort all of that out, where I can stay during the week when on extended placements as I can't stop at halls, and I live over 60 miles away from the uni so unless have to contend with 120 mile round trips 5 days a week, But does anyone know anyone or anywhere you can talk to or go to, to find the support your uni isn't giving you
  2. Grefintec

    Grefintec New commenter

    Dear VTrussell
    There are lots of options available to you, and they range from taking a break, to transferring to a different university to doing something different. Whilst I appreciate that there is a potential cost involved in terms of losing what you have already paid, you can get great advice from the citizens advice bureau and I have certainly heard of students getting money back if their is a legitimate reason. Yours health and well being is what is most important and this should be your first priority. Make an appointment with your GP and explain the situation, stress can be crippling and you need time and space at the moment and to remove yourself from the stress. I also think that you should speak to someone. Whatever you're going through, you can call the Samaritans free any time, from any phone on 116 123.
    Keep well
    pepper5 and blueskydreaming like this.
  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Wow, this sounds terrible. You have my sympathy - what a horrible situation to be in.

    You need to review the lesson observation, action plan and cause for concern docs - why exactly have you failed the placement at the mid-way point (or thereabouts)? Unless you were considered to be so terrible that you were harming the children, that seems a very odd decision. Putting you on an action plan so soon (week 2 of the placement) is also odd.

    Hopefully some of the forum members who work in PGCE uni programmes will comment. All I can suggest is speaking to the NUS at uni - can they offer support? And the uni will have a complaints procedure if you feel they have not acted properly.
    pepper5 and Grefintec like this.
  4. TES_Ian

    TES_Ian New commenter Staff Member

    VTrussell, if you would like immediate help, your best option is to ring 999. If you want emotional support, please call the Samaritans on 116 123 (free from any phone).
    rizzrazz and pepper5 like this.
  5. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    You can’t be made to quit a course you can only suspend it or withdraw at your own volition. It does sound like you haven’t chosen the right course or provider for you. Mind you, the retake isn’t that bad. You’d get a different school, a different mentor and it is your mandatory right to have a retake. My advice is to say you want to retake it. They’ll organise it all and indeed find you a better suiting placement.
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. VTrussell

    VTrussell New commenter

    Thank you for the replies, I managed to see my family at the end of my first week and gave good advice and support.

    A lot of reasons the placement school was just not the best, but after chasing a lot of people I have choosen to retake my placement, even if being charged £1100 to retake it and been in touch with my APT instead of PT and meeting them to discuss all issues and problems from first placement school.

    Also means I have these 3 weeks extra to get on top of my first masters assignment, and my next placement make sure getting support meant to be getting.
    MrMedia, blueskydreaming and pepper5 like this.
  7. NingenEmpi

    NingenEmpi New commenter

    Sorry to hear that you are in this situation. I've recently completed a distance learning PGCE via the University of Sunderland, they were very helpful and supportive. If you'd like to discuss anything regarding the course or need any contacts there feel free to PM me.

    Stay strong, I hope things work out for you.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Well done for choosing to retake.

    You definitely are not a quitter and I admire your attitude.

    All the best for a new start.

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