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Feeling depressed on PGCE

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by missmichelle85, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. I'm starting back at my placement school tomorrow and I feel absolutely awful. After having some doubts at first, I loved my first few weeks at uni and I passed my first two assignments and have had really good feedback. The staff at my placement school are also really nice and welcoming and have been really helpful.
    Despite all of the above, I feel constantly upset and down. This weekend I have cried myself to sleep and I keep feeling 'okay' but then bursting into tears again. Part of me is enjoying the course, but part of me feels like teaching still isn't me. I'm doing MFL and my main language is German with v little French. My placement school focuses on more vocational routes at KS4 and it's kind of opened my eyes to the idea that MFL isn't really so useful for some pupils, which sounds ridiculous, like I'm losing heart in my own subject. It doesn't help that we have been told that MFL is no longer a shortage subject and that there are far too many teachers for positions. That along with the fact many schools are dropping German in favour of Spanish makes me panic too.
    I spoke to my tutor and she said that everything I have done so far has been really good, we did a micro teaching task and she said it was excellent, but I still don't want to be a teacher. Don't get me wrong, I love being in front of a class of kids teaching them, but I generally feel unwell. I know it's hard work, but I don't think I should be crying myself to sleep and crying every few minutes when I think about it. It reminds me of being picked on at school and dreading going in when I knew my friends would be on holiday, it's like that feeling but worse. I really don't know what to do or who I can turn to.
  2. Hi Michelle.
    Sorry to hear that you are feeling unwell, I hope I can help.
    I think teaching is a profession that demands a great deal from us all and I also used to feel like this but you can get used to it and the pressure can ease and ease as you grow more and more into the role. It sounds a little like you are coming up to the crossroads. Straight on being you stick at it and reach QTS and work as a MFL teacher (when you are in control of where you want to work and teach). Or left or right being you lose your good start on your PGCE and pursue another career. I used to feel like you - but the pressure of the environment has eased as I have spent more and more time in school and I made a vow that nothing would upset me when inside the school. It depends on how motivated you are - yes the way you feel at the moment is going to come into it even more, the fact you feel like dropping out is a personal one. Sometimes life balances are tricky and you must do what is best for you healthwise.
  3. Hi
    Sorry things are getting you down. I know you have talked to your tutor, but you may need to go back and chat some more. many universities/providers also have student counsellors who can help on a more pastoral level - someone to chat to someone who is independent of the teaching process. This may well help you.
  4. I haven't felt too great today. I burst into tears on my way home and had to pull over, my school is 24 miles away and I just felt awful. I have to deliver my first lesson alone tomorrow and I really don't have the motivation to even print out the worksheet I need. I have a constant sickly feeling and I just wish I had never applied or started. It's like a slipery slope I can't control. I want to feel better about things but it's just not happening. My mum is really worried about me and my boyfriend doesn't know what to say either. I just don't know what to do at all anymore.
    pathaniakaran00 likes this.
  5. Hi I would agree with James to speak to someone about the way you feel. I really don't know what to say - it is a personal feeling of being constantly down is'nt it? I would then personally ask myself is it a good idea to continue if I do not feel well? Do you want to become a teacher or not? We all control our own destinies, emotional health is paramount
  6. Hi missmichelle85,

    How are you feeling today? You said you had to teach a lesson alone today, how did it go?
    I think everyone's advice has been really good. You need to talk to someone about this, and finding out if you can get a quick appointment with your uni counsellors isn't a bad idea. It would give you someone to talk to who is impartial and who isn't directly connected with your situation, and that might really help.
    I don't know if it helps but you're definitely not alone. At the beginning of my placement I constantly felt sick and anxious; I just couldn't shake it off. With a little time to adjust, it does get better.
    Just don't be alone in this. Talk to people about your worries and try and figure out what's best for you at this point.
  7. I still feel bad about things, I've been struggling with my drive in and home with bad weather on the motorway and constantly panicking, so by the time I get to school and home I feel emotionally drained. I taught my first two lessons and my feedback was generally good, but I didn't really enjoy it, I haven't looked at any of the reading or admin I have to do, I'm drained just doing lesson plans, which seem to take around 8 hours each by the time I have got everything together.
    I still keep getting upset, tonight I had such a bad drive on the motorway I had to stop on a supermarket car park when I got off and I just broke down in tears.
    I have generally strange feelings, I like being in school with the children but hate all the preparation and things, which sounds really pathetic I know. I like the idea of being a TA maybe. At the moment I'm just taking each day bit by bit, but I'm still leaning more towards dropping out.
  8. What are your main worries about it?
    List them and rank them.
    What are the upsides?
    List them and rank them.

    What happens if you become a qualified teacher. What happens if you don't?
    Will you regret it if you drop out?
    Don't forget the winter hours have set in as well. Do you suffer from SAD more than others?
    Use your 24 miles journey to make yourself feel positive in the morning.
    When you go home every night list five good things about the day.
    When you walk out the front door in the morning, read that list and add five more.
    You've come this far for a reason.
  9. Have you seen your GP? I would suggest you do.
  10. I'm sure you'll find that's the case with the majority of teachers (it is in terms of those I've spoken to, at any rate). Plus the PGCE is LOADED down with paperwork. It'll only be this way for a few months, you know?
    As someone else advised, I also think you should go see your doctor or at least a counsellor. Talk to somebody, because there could be other things going on here that are affecting you and it might be worth getting checked out. Whatever you do and whatever happens, I wish you all the very best!
  11. Hi Missmichelle,

    I was on a PGCE last year and had a terrible time, I wanted you to know that what you are experiencing is not uncommon. Even those on the course who pretend to being sailing through have often had moments in tears in private. It is a really tough course/profession and I know of several people who don't enjoy it. You only have to read the posts in the NQT section to see that many people are very stressed in teaching because it is too much. I've met several teachers who loved teaching but couldn't cope with all the work and decided enough was enough. Being a teacher is a very difficult job and many people don't enjoy all the extras, workload...etc. I enjoyed the actual teaching but didn't like all the extras on top and I think it puts a lot of people off.... there is too much with all the assessment, reports... it gets worse as you go through the PGCE. I think the whole PGCE course needs to be revised as so many people have horrible times and are not supported often by the university. I got to the point where I was exhausted and just couldn't face doing planning in the evening... it was overload and I was burnt out by the new year. I soon learnt that you had to get away with doing the bare essentials which made me feel bad as I like perfection which is not possible. If you do decide to drop out don't feel bad as unfortunately the teaching sector loses many talented want-to-be teachers for the reasons above.
  12. I have some idea of what you're feeling. I received some really good advice from my class teacher today though: learn to let go and that when you have your own class its a different experience. I personally never feel I have finished something - I sometimes feel trapped in a vicious circle. I have to learn when I have done enough to get through the lesson without going mad. I try to concentrate on getting through one day at a time. there have been times when I've felt like I need to cry and sometimes I have.
    How is your relationship with your class teacher/mentor at the school? I have found one member of staff that I feel particularly comfortable confiding in.
    I think the previous advice about trying to use the journey is good: what about some uplifting music? Podcasts of your favourite comedian? Sing out loud, let some of the tension out. I find that that helps. It can also boost your energy too.
    I wish you all the best and hope you feel better soon. :)
  13. I went home in tears every day from my last placement, & I think I was sick every morning with nerves. Never mind a day at a time, I used to be surviving a lesson at a time :(
    I also drove my poor bf & friends nuts with worry, I was so worked up about everything.
    I used to get really down about all the people that sounded like they were sailing through too. The ITT co-ordinator took me aside the other week (after I'd been in tears in the mentor meeting, which I'm still totally embarassed about) to say what I'm feeling & going through is totally normal. (That got me so annoyed, it's ridiculous that people making themselves ill is expected from this course, but that's a different rant). Apart from all the stress of planning, & the overwhelming amount of work, the course does feel like constant criticism, (always the things that can be improved). That's without the pressure we put ourselves under, feelings things are never good enough.
    Basically, I want to let you know that you're not alone and there are people to talk to, that can help. Take care.[​IMG]
  14. Such good advice. I have realised this too, and have made myself cut down on the hours I put into lesson planning. It's just not feasible to spend hours upon hours planning each lesson on top of everything else you have to do, and you also have to allow yourself SOME free time. I often feel like I've left things a bit unfinished but it'll never be perfect and it'll never be done otherwise!
    More good advice. Finding that one teacher who you can chat with comfortably is great, as is the idea of listening to some favourite/uplifting music during your journey to and from school.
  15. I am still feeling bad. Today I went out with my mum and I burst into tears three times. I have been pretending that I am okay all week with my mentor and teachers and other trainees in the school, but in my frees I've had to go to the toilet or to sit in my car and cry to myself. When I said how bad I felt they all just said 'oh well it is a hard course'. I just don't think these feelings are normal. Crying at weekend, not wanting to go out, feeling guilty if I do, I really feel like screaming and screaming and pulling my hair out as I don't know what else to do. I am okay when I am in the classroom, but the rest of the time I feel like I'm on a slippery slope and I am so miserable. I argued with my boyfriend earlier about it as he has no idea what is going on. I think he thinks teaching is where you turn up at 8 and go home at 4 and that's it. I decided to email him a list of all of the things I have to do rather than rant on and create another row, but it shouldn't be affecting my life this badly should it?
    I really feel like I should go to my doctor on Monday and take a couple of days leave to see if it helps. I don't want to pretend that everything is okay when it's not, I can't blag along with this can I.
  16. I feel the same. I have a degree, an MA, I have been a tour guide and have been a single partent for 14 years and am fiercely independant, but, I can only describe the way I have been feeling, from the start of this course, is something close to post-natal depression.
    I do not feel that I have been given the right structure to be able to teach the subject proper. I get negative feedback but no idea of how to fix it.
  17. I'm sorry to hear that you are still feeling down. I think you need to find the positives from each day and make a list. Carry the list around with you and concentrate on positives. Cry when you want to, it may pass. I cried a lot during the first few weeks of my PGCE and again at the beginning of the placement. But, remember, you can only do what you can do. Leave it at that. You are only human. Also, I think you should pop to the doctors, it can only help to speak to someone.
    Hope you soon start to feel a bit better.
  18. Miss Michelle, it is truly horrible to feel like that all of the time. I started on a PGCE course in September and very quickly began to get very tired and fed up of working every spare minute. I have a 22 month old daughter and found the pressure of juggling the workload was so much greater than I ever imagined it would be. I felt guilty for spending time with her or doing anything that wasn't studying. The first week of my practice I was up late every night, having terrible anxiety dreams, not eating and crying every night when I came home.
    Then my little girl got poorly and I couldn't go into school as I don't have anyone else to look after her. I cried constantly for about four days - I have never been like this in my life. I have a degree, have worked in PR for 8 years which is a very stressful environment and completed a diploma while working - none of which caused me to feel the way I have about the PGCE course.
    Life is too short for you to be feeling like this all the time and you will end up making yourself really ill. You have to ask yourself is it really worth it? Is this what I really want to do? There is no shame in going to your tutors and telling them you are finding it very difficult. Perhaps by simply vocalising it you will realise that you do want to and can get through it. They will be able to give you the extra support you need - if you don't tell anyone how can they give you that support? I do think you should also go and see your GP.
    I have decided that for now my health (and my little girl) are way more important and have taken the decision to interupt the course. I know I need to spend some time thinking about whether teaching is really for me and if I want to continue being under this much pressure. I already feel a million times better for making this decision.
    Hope you feel better soon.
  19. Dobbinstar

    Dobbinstar New commenter


    Its obvious from everyone's posts that people really empathize with you and I do as well. Everyone remembers the feelings of dread and angst. Many people get through them, some don't and decide to do something different.

    I suppose the point that I would like to make is that these feelings have to be respected, as they are obviously emotional messages from your unconscious, telling you that something is wrong about this situation. I feel that to ignore or repress them would be a mistake. This is why I agree with everyone who advises you to seek help in whatever form that may be.

    The other thing that I think needs to be said, is that you are asking for support from a group of people who believe passionately and sincerely in education, because that is their chosen route and profession. Another group of people (just as concerned with your welfare) may simply say: 'you've discovered that this obviously isn't right for you; try something else and come back to it at a later date if you want to' and there would be no harm or shame in that. In the world we live in, people try many different careers and develop varied skills and sides of their personality.

    You and your happiness are precious, so make them a priority in any decision that you make.

    All the very best

  20. Hi
    i really like what you have posted. I am a single mum too, I am 40 years old and my daughter is 11 years old. I find this course very difficult, I am fearing for my health now. English is my second language and I am still struggling a bit which make the course much more difficult for me. I want to give up all this mess but if I will have regrets later and what else to do? I have a degree in chemistry. But in same time i am thinkingthat i don't really enjoy teaching either coz of the kids' behaviour. It's so difficult to decide!!!

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