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Failed PGCE placement

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Atlas23, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. I am currently doing my PGCE and I have failed my second placement - or more to the point, they wouldn't let me come back to the school after the easter holidays for the remainding 3 weeks of my placement.
    I was criticised on the front of a lack of subject knowledge and behaviour management.
    I had a successful first placement where I was teaching a subject which I enjoyed and only to KS5.
    My second placement involved me teaching subjects that I had little prior knowldge of and did not find of interest, teaching them to kS3.
    My mentor at the school would criticize me beyond belief and was what I believe to be extremely unprofessional (For instance the mentor questionned me about my sexuality, and the pupils were told I had a "teaching exam" when I was being observed.)
    The university has not found a school for me to go on to for the remainding three weeks of the placement. As a consequence of failing my teaching placement, I have to go in front of a external panel who will decide whether I pass/fail the course.
    I have wanted to be a teacher for so long and can't believe my dream is about to be cruelly taken away from me. I worked as a TA last year which I really enjoyed and also got some teaching experience in whilst I was doing my undergraduate degree.
    Any advice is much needed, thanks.
     
  2. I am currently doing my PGCE and I have failed my second placement - or more to the point, they wouldn't let me come back to the school after the easter holidays for the remainding 3 weeks of my placement.
    I was criticised on the front of a lack of subject knowledge and behaviour management.
    I had a successful first placement where I was teaching a subject which I enjoyed and only to KS5.
    My second placement involved me teaching subjects that I had little prior knowldge of and did not find of interest, teaching them to kS3.
    My mentor at the school would criticize me beyond belief and was what I believe to be extremely unprofessional (For instance the mentor questionned me about my sexuality, and the pupils were told I had a "teaching exam" when I was being observed.)
    The university has not found a school for me to go on to for the remainding three weeks of the placement. As a consequence of failing my teaching placement, I have to go in front of a external panel who will decide whether I pass/fail the course.
    I have wanted to be a teacher for so long and can't believe my dream is about to be cruelly taken away from me. I worked as a TA last year which I really enjoyed and also got some teaching experience in whilst I was doing my undergraduate degree.
    Any advice is much needed, thanks.
     
  3. Check your university's policy on failing students. Every university has one, and if all the guidelines haven't been followed, then you may be able to appeal if the decision doesn't go your way. You can also speak to your union who will be able to offer advice.
    Reflect on why you've failed your teaching placement. I take it you are taking an 11-18 PGCE and therefore have to teach all keystages. However with your comment about your second placement " teaching subjects that you had little prior knowledge and did not find of any interest to KS3" We have all to teach topics/subjects we don't know about or may not find very interesting, however you have to use your research skills, plug the gaps in your subject knowledge and put on the smiling enthusiastic face! When you get a job, you are employed as a teacher, your head can direct you to teach any subject he/she wishes, if my head decided I should teach Mandarin Chinese then I would have to learn! Behaviour management can be challenging with KS3, however the first hurdle is your subject knowledge and planning to inspire and motivate the pupils.
    They can instead of failing give you another chance and repeat the placement, however they will want to see that you have reflected on the placement and how you see yourself moving forward from this, as if you struggle with KS3, that's what you'll be given lots.
    Did you say anything to your university tutor about your mentor's comments? They do sound unprofessional, however as for your mentor critisising you heavily, check your observations they should list strengths/positives. Your mentor will want you to pass - or should, however I'm aware that when I'm giving feedback, I go through the strengths with the trainee but invetiably we spend more time going through the areas for improvement and working on strategies to move forward.
    I hope it all works out for you and good luck
     
  4. I'm only a trainee so I might not be much help but this is what I would probably do.
    Contact your union if you haven't already. You will be understandly nervous and it calms me down when i have something written in front of me so I have a focus, so I would personally make a note of anything inappropriate that was said or done and write down where and when it happened. If anyone else was present, write that down too. Try to stay calm and I would also maybe ask a union representative to be present during the panel meeting if possible. Have lots of evidence that you are meeting the standards and working towards your targets, anything like written targets that you have clearly addressed in a lesson plan. Show that you are working on your subject knowledge, have everything available - audits, skills tests results, self study, annotated readings, lecture notes, etc. Same for behaviour management, show that you have been reading and annotating behaviour management books, show that you are implementing behaviour management as per school policy, make lists of techniques you have observed your mentor/other staff using that you have implemented. Note incidents that you dealt with well. Basically show them any evidence you have that their reasons for trying to fail you are invalid.
    Good luck, I hope it works out for you.
     
  5. Hello,

    I did the PGCE last September up until September this year. I was on the PGCE in French. I was placed very late on the 11-16 PGCE. Initially I was placed in a secondary school for 2 weeks and then told that they would not have enough teaching hours for me. Then I had to wait at home for 3 weeks with no school in limbo wondering what was going to happen. Eventually I was placed in a sixth form college for 8 weeks and I taught as level French there were only 16 students in the class and 2 students in my GCSE French class thatI taught. I passed and I was given an excellent report. I felt confident, I was told that I would make an excellent teacher. I then was given my second school and it started on time with everyone else. I was told by the head of department that I was the equivalent of somebody at the beginning of my pgce, the mentor agreed. I was then given a risk form and the tutor from my university came. My placmewnt was then deferred. It was decided that I needed more time. I was shocked when I arrived at the difference and the fact that I was not prepared. I was pitching my lessons too high. I managed the behaviour very well I was told. It was deferred until september. I do not feel that I had the right foundation from the start and that my whole pgce was ruined from the way that my university managed me. I was then given a grammar school as a last placment in September and the head said to me that they did not take applications from people of my religion, she also questioned my sexuality. My mentor snatched a mouse out of my hand and another teacher shouted at me in fromt of another staff member as she didn't like my lesson. I felt humiliated. My mentor also snached the register out of my hand in the classroom infornt of the pupils. In my secondary school placement before I was deferred it said that I would make a very good teacher with alittle more training and it also said that I had very good subject knowledge and classroom amanagement. The grammar school were impossible. It has now been decided that I am failed. I am just about to start writing my appeal . I am absolutely devastated. I would appreciate any teacher that could advise me.
     
  6. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    A PGCE can be extremely unfair, and for those that think doing it in a Grammar school is easy, I suggest you try it.
    I did my PGCE a long time ago almost exclusively in one Grammar school, with two weeks in an ordinary comprehensive.
    Right from the word go it was a struggle. My mentor was a committed Christian. I was veering on the path towards Atheism. My whole department was very champagne socialist in their political views, I was a Telegraph reader. My mentor was female and was looking for someone to take under her wing ( preferably female ). I ws the wrong sex and my lack of overt mistakes did not make her warm to me.
    For nearly 6 months I had to be careful of what I said, what I did and how I acted. I job came up at the school and they did not even bother to inform me, instead making a general announcement in my PGCE tutorial group. I must have applied to approximately 60 different schools and not a single school got in touch with me, probably due to bad references ( my mentor told me she would make sure I only got into an ok school - not a good one ).
    Eventually I passed my PGCE and I asked the Deputy headmistress at the school to be my referee along with the headmaster. One week later I got a teaching position in a private boarding school and I have had a wonderful career.
    The moral of the story? You do not enjoy the PGCE, you survive it. I knew I was a good teacher and I also knew that I had to toe the line to get the piece of paper that allowed me to teach. Was I bullied? I dare say so, but I had the last laugh when I started off on a salary much higher than any NQT in the state sector and with less teaching and small classes, with great holidays.
    Hang in there, and DON'T LET THE B*GGERS GET YOU DOWN!!!
     
  7. I was asked to leave the second placement of my PGCE but was very fortunate in that another teacher who had come to observe me during this placement said I could complete the placement at his school instead. I do not know what your university is like but if you have had an excellent first placement they should surely take this into account. Perhaps you could ask your mentor at your first placement to write a statement giving details of your achievements and reasons why you would make a good teacher.
    I completely agree with the previous post that a big part of the PGCE is about survival rather than enjoyment. Like yourself I had a very good first placement, got on well with the other staff members in the department, felt at home in the school and tbh did not really want to leave this school and do a contrasting placement somewhere else. I knew that I was not happy at the second placement school after a few days. Instead of doing the sensible thing of pretending to be happy, whilst reminding myself that in the grand scheme of things 11 weeks is not a long period of time I quickly drifted into a negative mindset and this had an impact on both my performance and also how well I got on with other members of the department. My mentor was very critical of me to the point that she would write a few words in the positive column and paragraphs in the negative column. While this might work for some people in certainly didn't for me and it only increased my negative feelings whilst also lowering my levels of motivation.

    Some words of encouragement, if you have had one good placement you have evidence that you have both the potential and ability to be a good teacher. For me being asked to leave the second placement was a blessing in disguise, things had become too negative there for me to get back on track and start making progress plus I'm sure the pupils sensed my lack of enjoyment in lessons. Once I was in a different setting things rapidly improved to the point that I graduated at the same time as the other students on my course. Although it can be difficult to get a job in some areas provided you pass the course it will be up to you alone in the future which schools you apply to and whether you accept an offer to work in one. The PGCE can be stressful enough in itself without being in an environment you dislike day after day!

     


  8. The moral of the story? You do not enjoy the PGCE, you survive it. I knew I was a good teacher and I also knew that I had to toe the line to get the piece of paper that allowed me to teach. Was I bullied? I dare say so, but I had the last laugh when I started off on a salary much higher than any NQT in the state sector and with less teaching and small classes, with great holidays.
    Karvol, what a loss to the state sector. 60 schools turned you down, I cant think why. Who wouldnt want to employ a teacher who never makes mistakes, boasts about how little teaching they have to do and judges people's worth on the newspapers they read and the salaries they earn. What a role model for our young people.
     
  9. First paragraph is not mine I hasten to add. Cant get my head around this new message board system.
     
  10. I'm enjoying mine and surviving it too ... I think enjoying it helps you survive it!
     
  11. I think the key is that as long as you are enjoying at least 50% of your PGCE teaching practice then you will be fine. I would make a bet that all teachers have days where they love their job and days when they wonder what on earth they are doing it for.
    If you are just starting out and enjoy your relationship with most of the children and staff, enjoy planning and delivering creative lessons and getting involved in school life then you have what it takes to be a good teacher.
    If however, every day and almost every lesson is a struggle and you find it hard to get on with either the students you teach or the staff you work with every day then maybe it is time to consider whether teaching is actually the career for you.
    If going in to school every day is making you miserable then this is not right, we all moan about our jobs but when you are hating everything about it then perhaps its time for a rethink. I walked away from training for a different career before teaching, I lost money and the time investment I had made but was so happy I had made the decision not to struggle on to the end in a career I knew was not the one for me.
    Teaching is a difficult job, if you dont enjoy it it could become an impossible job.
     
  12. Hi, I really need advice on this, because I'm not sure what to do anymore....

    I've just done my initial placement and completed it last week, however my link tutor came in and changed my marks to fail the standard TS8 fulfil wider professional responsibilities, because I was unable to teach successfully the whole week's timetable (that's 3.5 days of full teaching) by the last week. I met the standard for all my other standards and got a good for my SSP mark... I worked really hard, had no days off, attended everything was punctual etcetc, but due to stress in the final couple of weeks, did not teach as well as I did in the first few weeks.... now I've failed the placement, because they think I can't cope with the next placement and I was unsuccessful in demonstrating that I could cope with the full timetable by the final week.... I am absolutely gutted... as I know I can be a good teacher, but due to overworking... I drained myself out towards the end. I really wanted to be a teacher and tried my best and started off well in placement with goods, but alas it was not enough time to redeem myself and in the end I failed... I cannot redo my placement... what should I do now? Is this the end for teaching for me? I've even signed off my files and completed all coursework prior to the placement... now it's all over... what should I do with my life? Another PGCE? Another course? I don't wanna do TA work, I've done that before, and I have even worked as a freelance teacher in schools before and had no problem with the actual teaching without the PGCE pressure/workload...

    Also... what should I say to the university at the debrief this week?

    Please advise... Thank you!
     
  13. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    Speak with the student union as a matter of utmost urgency as they may offer to help you.
    I would challenge this on the basis that not all teachers teach a full timetable.
    You must lodge an appeal as soon as possible, going to the doctor to gain medical evidence of the stress that you are under. If the placement were happy with your level of work/commitment, get a letter from them to support you. Make it clear that, should your appeal be unsuccessful you will be pursuing the matter with the OIA and, if necessary, through judicial review in the High Court.
     
  14. I am interested in teaching Secondary
    Science. I have a Bachelor's Degree in biological science. I undertook a PGCE
    in KS2-3 Science (includes primary and secondary teaching), I failed my final
    placement which was based at a primary school, and I had an opportunity to
    re-sit the placement but was unsuccessful. I have spent the last two years
    working for an agency as a cover teacher/instructor in my local secondary
    schools. I now want to go back and complete my training in a secondary school,
    but I don’t think the university I did my course at would allow me to continue
    as I failed the final placement. Therefore I need advice on what I can do, if
    it would be possible for me to transfer my modules to a different university,
    as I have passed everything except my final placement. I am in a huge dilemma
    as it would be a completely utter waste if my only option is to start from
    fresh.


     
  15. You will find it difficult to complete training in the traditional sense. You will not be allowed to transfer modules and if you have failed a PGCE then funding will not be m,ade available to you, though you could self fund (THOUGH IT IS VERY EXPENSEIVE TO DO SO).
    You could try to get nto teaching through schools direct on a salaried place, but again, given the past recoprd it may not be possible and again funding may be unavailable from Gov sources. You could try to apply for teaching posts as QTS is not necessary for indepenedent schools or academies/free schools, but again the failed PGCE will make it very difficult.
    The Sage
     
  16. redpepper9991

    redpepper9991 New commenter

    OMG. My Jaw actually dropped when I read this. Your mentor is practically bullying you. What they are doing is tantamount to bullying because it is like asking someone in training in any other job to be perfect from the get go. Which is impossible. It sounds like you could have passed if you had a supportive tutor. Questioned you about your sexuality? How did that ever, ever become a topic of discussion? I'm on my pgce at the moment and I cant imagine how difficult this placement you describe would have been for you. Wow. You deserve to pass just for the emotional bullying.

    Here comes the 'If I were you' moment.......I would reflect on all the good things you've done and tell yourself you are in training. T R A I N I N G. You are not T E A C H I N G yet.
     
    4m4xx likes this.
  17. Sillow

    Sillow Senior commenter

    With any luck they are teaching now, as the thread is from 2009.
     
  18. schohan929

    schohan929 New commenter

    I am doing PGCE Primary and failed placement twice. I am leaving the PGCE course and apply for a teaching assistant and gain experience to meet the teaching standards. I want to start the QTS again after 3 or 5 years. Do you think I can do PGCE or other QTS route again after failing the placement twice?
     
  19. pathaniakaran00

    pathaniakaran00 New commenter

  20. pathaniakaran00

    pathaniakaran00 New commenter

    I started the PGCE course in September. Failed my first placement due to behaviour management and subject knowledge. I took everything on board by my mentor and applied it to practise. It still was not good enough. The mentor expected me to know the curriculum inside out. I find unrealistic as other colleagues on the course do not know the curriculum inside out themselves.

    I took the option of deferring and start the course in September.

    I did feel devastated being told I failed. and let down by my mentor. I felt whatever I did she was not happy with. However now thinking of getting work as a TA and will see if I feel like going back in September and start again.

    Has anyone else been in this situation?

    I appreciate useful advice.
    Thanks.
     

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