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Failing My Last Placement

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Stooooopot, May 26, 2018.

  1. Stooooopot

    Stooooopot New commenter

    Hello everyone. This is going to be a long post.

    I've been hit with a bombshell that I'm failing my final placement on my PGDE, and I have only a week left to turn it around. I had previously done well in my last two placements, with the main comments being to be more assertive/use presence, keep an eye on pacing, and make sure I make my instructions/explanations clearer.

    My mentor sat me down yesterday and pretty much laid everything on the line. He said I was not being proactive in seeking feedback or helping out, that I come across as a bit arrogant/have an arrogant tone when teaching, that I'm too laidback and lazy, that my pitch is way too high and that I don't differentiate much. And he told me straight up that he doesn't feel he'd put me forward for probationary year.

    He said there's a slight chance I can turn it around but I think he was just giving me false hope. I also made a very stupid mistake on Thursday when an S3 kid kept asking if he could tell me an offensive joke. I shouldn't have entertained it but I did just to shut him up, and stupidly repeated it in the staffroom to my mentor. I had asked the pupil if it was racist/going to be hurtful before but I let him tell me it anyway at the end of the lesson, which was moronic and has not set a good example.

    But I don't think it would come down to that alone. I have been somewhat lazy in this placement and too complacent, in that I haven't been submitting lesson plans for approval as much as before, and my lesson plans have not been as good from previous placements. I haven't asked for feedback often because I didn't want to bother them as they are short staffed and very busy, and it is during the busy exam period. On reflection this was stupid, I should have tried asking at every available opportunity. And I haven't been chunking things down as much as I should have/making things easy to understand.

    Some minor things have appeared as well. I was told that I didn't show enthusiasm or the effort to be proactive during the department meeting as I had not brought anything with me to write with yesterday - the previous times I had. I have also been told not to use the words 'easy' in my low ability S3 class (they are a very difficult class, with several children with behavioural problems, six without English as a first language, and two with mild autism). And I have been told that there's an arrogant tone in my voice by more than one teacher, though the other teacher didn't believe I come across as arrogant on a personal basis, something I think my mentor was implying.

    I've spent not spent enough time in the staffroom or the base mingling/getting to know people but working instead which I sorely regret now. In previous placements, I would work during break and lunch but always pop along to say hi. On those placements the school was open until 9pm and I could get most of my work done and the commute wasn't so bad. This one has been different, as the school closes around 5:45pm and it takes me about an hour and a half to get home during rush hour, meaning I'm usually up late getting stuff finished at home.

    I've had a lot of things hit me out of the blue over this course. My aunt died of dementia during placement 1, and there was an argument in the family about the funeral. At the same time, my Dad had been experiencing problems with his long term girlfriend, and it sounded like he wasn't in a good place. There had been talks of them splitting up/him moving out.

    I had also been in an abusive relationship with my ex girlfriend, who I stayed with during first placement and until the start of second placement. She frequently belittled me, and compared me to her abusive ex boyfriends (I don't know if they were real or not, on reflection I couldn't tell if she was ever truthful because she gaslighted me a lot of times), telling me she worried I would turn out like them. She guilt tripped me constantly, and I have strong feeling she was possibly BPD. She was suicidal and it took a huge toll on me to keep her happy/keep her depression from bringing her down, but she didn't ever bother to help herself to the point that she wasn't taking care of herself (think hygiene). She threatened to kill herself when I left her, but I finally got out of the guilt trip trap and spend my times concentrating on placement 2. I did really well then, and I think the hard workload actually helped me concentrate more.

    I thought I had the energy to get over all of this, but by the start of placement 3 I was really worn down and couldn't be bothered. I just wanted everything to be over with. I was tired of being judged and criticised as it had been happening on both fronts this year, on placement and in my personal life. I know that sounds myopic and lazy, but the thought of going back on placement was something I was dreading. I have not slept much this placement, and I have been having mild panic attacks/bad anxiety. As a result, I have been drinking a lot to cope.

    I suppose I have only myself to blame for this, though I am still incredibly annoyed that I wasn't given a warning earlier. I only taught 4 classes in week 1, 7 classes in week 2 and 12 classes in week 3. And I only begun to teach my mentor's class properly in week 3, though I had to cover them the first week when he was on paternity leave. The S2s have been on IDL (inter-disciplinary learning) and so I have only had 5 lessons with them, and I fear they will remember nothing from my lessons beforehand. I have my observation with the S1s on Thursday. They are generally an alright class, but I have been told I need to explain things better, pitch lower and model clearer.

    I have only this weekend to plan and turn things around but I think my mentor has made up his mind already. I feel like a lot of things said have been justified, but there has been a lot of nit picking and he has not been entirely supportive as he has, admittedly, given me contradictory advice, and has been in and out of the classroom. He's back from paternity leave and has been busy, so I can appreciate he probably can't be bothered dealing with a student teacher. But it's not an excuse for my lack in standards and professionalism.

    If I am unsuccessful I am not sure what I am going to do. I know it's incredibly disheartening, but I should try to do a resit placement. But right now the thought of failing and letting everyone down is eating away at myself. I am so ashamed and disappointed that I wasn't as focused this placement and I wish I could have done more to find out how I was doing, and I know I'll be crushed if I am unsuccessful.

    Thank you for listening to me whine on. I would greatly appreciate any advice.
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    You need to contact uni and ask what your options are.

    If you do a resit placement perhaps wait until you're in a better frame of mind.

    Who have you let down? Try not to think of it like that. The people who really love you won't judge you.
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. Stooooopot

    Stooooopot New commenter

    I contacted my uni tutors as soon as I was told. They were surprised but told me that I should follow my mentor's advice.

    The only time I can resit a placement will be in August/autumn this year. If I fail then I hopefully will have been able to get over it and try to move, but I am worried I won't have had any experience over the summer.

    I've definitely let myself down for not being as proactive this placement. But I've let down my family and friends, and my fellow course mates, along with the other departments I was in last time. I feel like they had a lot of expectations, and I've just ruined everything. And I'm worried I'll turn into a waster who can't get themselves out of a rut. I spent over a year as someone else's emotional crutch and I don't want to ever become a burden like that on someone else.
  4. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I don't think that will happen, because you seem very self aware. And I think you'll be fine if you retake the placement, because you've identified your areas for improvement above.

    Good luck!
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    There's something very wrong with the system when people are not told they are failing until a week before the end.
    win4tamb, Stooooopot, pepper5 and 2 others like this.
  6. Stooooopot

    Stooooopot New commenter

    Thank you.
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    We have all made mistakes in way or another in one area or another.

    However, you learn from them.

    Take what you have learnt from this and apply it.
    MarieAnn18 and blueskydreaming like this.
  8. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    You can’t change what’s happened in the past, but you can learn from it. A repeat after a break will give you a rest, a chance to regroup, and an opportunity to do it again without the accumulated stress and tiredness colouring your judgement.
    MarieAnn18 likes this.
  9. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    You need to discuss the options with university student support particularly the financial aspects of an additional placement. I would also recommend discussing your wider options with the careers service about alternative careers. You need to be realistic about the demands on teachers and whether it is worth the further stress and effort on your part and from reading your comments I would have to ask --is your heart really in this?
    win4tamb and henrypm0 like this.
  10. cys2017

    cys2017 Occasional commenter

    This is likely to effect your mental health . Inform your uni of this. I know because I have been in a similar situation before and have recently just completed my pgce three weeks ago. Ask if it’s okay if you can have extenuating circumstances I got them due to mental health and try getting voluntary work during that period to be ready to smash that observation. Good luck wish u all the best

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