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Failing my PGCE within the last 2 weeks over 1 lesson

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by tommarks13397, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. Hello all, I am a PGCE student with a Physics degree about to finish my course.

    I have passed all the stages in my course so far with my April progress report against the teaching standards being mostly 1's,2;s and 3 3's. These were Organisation, behavior management, and wider school commitment.

    When I asked what i can do to move to "good" on these three points I was given a list by my school mentor. One included creating an 8 lesson long scheme of work for my school to use. They said I would achieve an outstanding on "wider school commitments" if I did this. So I did.

    Fast forward to May for my university observation and my behavior management was very bad. The uni tutor had lots of positives on and told me what i needed to do to sort everything out. After she had left my mentor spoke to her on her way out of the school. Their discussion then raised me as a "cause for concern" over my behavior management. My assessment document did not reflect this and I was not informed this discussion would be had until it had happened.

    My university tutor observed another lesson 3 days later (lots of time to practice my new behavior techniques of course) and said it was an amazing lesson, even quoting my method of maths motivation in science in her session at university. I was taken off from cause for concern.

    This Friday I had a fairly disastrous lesson for my mentor. I was a little unprepared and the class was a lot more lively than usual. This took me by surprise and my dealing with the behavior was not good at all. However, I didn't shout at the pupils and they all completed the work to a satisfactory level in my opinion. twice during my lesson, my mentor took over from me, shouting at the class extremely loudly, and even isolating two pupils. (undermining me)

    I knew the lesson went badly, as did my mentor who was observing (it was his class nothing out of the ordinary). He said, "I don't know how I can pass you after that lesson" and went to speak to his boss. His boss said, "wait till Monday then we can sort something out".

    He did not do this.

    I received a call from my university tutor that night basically hinting that I should drop out and that she needs to come and observe another lesson. Under the threat: "If you don't teach a good lesson you will fail, if you do you will pass."

    Additional info that complicates things.

    The school has offered me a job starting in September. This offer was made in April. I have signed the contract.

    Advice needed:

    1- Is this fair and normal?
    2- Can I do anything about it?
    3- If I pass can I resign from my post even if I pass, as it is clear the school doesn't want me.
    4- If I fail what can I do about it? I will lose my house and car if I don't start my job in September as expected since April.

    Thank you for any advice anyone can give, I feel very used and quite frankly heartbroken.
  2. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    This sounds terrible.

    Perhaps @MrMedia @welshwizard could comment on uni procedures?

    I would wait until uni have been in to school, then regardless of the outcome hand in a basic letter to HR withdrawing your acceptance of the job. Don't state why - they already know.
  3. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    So absolutely don’t withdraw under any circumstances.

    Needing support with behaviour management is a 3 - that’s still meeting minimum expectations.

    So long as you follow through on school behaviour management policies you are fine. That is what a 3 is.

    Your evidence is collated over a period of time. It is not about can you perform in a singular context. A different class in a different school on a different day could well see you seemingly like a 1. You should not be undermined because the school is unable to contribute to your BM.

    I would certainly think about meeting the headteacher and say, in hindsight, this is not the school for me (and it isn’t).

    Now on the procedural side there is an opt out. There is a process whereby for personal reasons you can pause your studies and return at a later point. You could return in September or you could return next May. You could also negotiate a different placement. You could also say to the head, I am interrupting my studies so I will be unable to take up your offer of a job as I will not be meeting the contract's requirements (to be qualified). You could then do one of two things.
    Come back in September to a more sensible school and do your final section again. Qualify and then start a new job in January.
    Work as an unqualified teacher for two terms and then return next Easter or May and do the final placement (not at this school!) and then start a new job in July or September. It might sound like a lot of hassle but it is straight forward and buys you negotiating power against the university tutor.

    Finances will be harder. But if you fail you lose it all. If you introduce a temporary delay you might need to find 5k to see you through the short term and pay it back once qualified.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    I cant comment on university procedures, but I did note this:

    " I didn't shout at the pupils and they all completed the work to a satisfactory level in my opinion. twice during my lesson, my mentor took over from me, shouting at the class extremely loudly, and even isolating two pupils."

    So during a lesson where there was a more senior teacher in the room, the class needed shouting at to bring them back to order and two students needed removing? If this is a typical experience, then the school is not handling behaviour correctly. I suspect that whatever teachers do in class is getting undermined by wider school policies and behaviour outside the classroom. But in any case, it's hardly fair to expect a PGCE student to deal with problems that a more experienced teacher clearly struggles with.

    So whatever you decide, don't beat yourself up too much about your ability to handle the class. I don't know, you may be awful, but it sounds like a school which has a lot of issues. You may thrive in a different environment. And you are a science teacher, so finding another school to take you should not prove to be that difficult.
    bonxie, Lara mfl 05, MrMedia and 2 others like this.
  5. averagedan

    averagedan Occasional commenter

    Are you telling us everything? I've trained many teachers over the years and it's pretty hard these days to fail someone.
  6. s_young10

    s_young10 New commenter

    Why is it hard to fail someone? What about your evidence files and reports?
  7. observer1

    observer1 New commenter

    Sounds grim. You should probably defer your placement to another School.

    The only issue is not knowing if the School is better or the same.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Someone making it to June very rarely fails. As has been said, it is an accumulation over the year, and well before now trainees either decide it isn't for them or their second placement get in touch with Uni much earlier to say things aren't right.

    Most PGCE Students have applied for jobs since April, and schools offer them posts because they realise that by this time they are almost certainly going to pass.

    Basically, short of a trainee just deciding to jack it all in, or a safeguarding screw up, it is pretty hard to not complete the PGCE at this point.
    PGCE_tutor and averagedan like this.
  9. averagedan

    averagedan Occasional commenter

    This. By the final term there has to be a grade 1 mess-up of the highest order to fail someone. The most extreme sanction I've seen in the final placement is having the PGCE extended for a bit.
  10. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    well, I hope this doesn't sound negative, but my feeling on reading this was basically why the ******* are you thinking of throwing away your life on this ********. Your are a physics graduate, for ***** sake. The world is your oyster. Get out! go and do something worthwhile with proper pay!
    agathamorse and Flanks like this.

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