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Feeling overwhelmed

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Doolalitos, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. Hi all,

    Have just started my PGCE and am feeling abit overwhelmed. I knew what I was expecting, hard graft, blood, sweat and tear but I can't help thinking I'm not ready for it. I absolutely want to teach, I know that much. I just don't know if now is the time. It feels like I'm too young, having just graduated and only just turned 21 to be teaching in Secondary.

    Obviously I've embarked on the course now and would like to finish it. But I think come next June I might want to step away for a year and do something else, perhaps a subject related masters?

    Is it right to feel like this? And would I be able to find an NQT place after taking some time out? I just know that I would burn out carrying straight on after a year and I want this to be a longterm career choice when I do embark on it, not a firework burning straight out.


  2. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed at the beginning of your PGCE (and partway through, and at the end, and as an NQT!). See how things go over the year and whether your feelings change.

    In terms of taking a short break before committing to teaching - you could do this, but it is often advised that you do your NQT year first. When looking for a position, you will be most attractive to employers when fresh out of training rather than a year or two later. That's not to say that you won't be able to find a position unless you look straight away, but it might be harder. You might also find it easier to be an NQT straight after your PGCE, which will gradually build up your amount of time in the classroom; if you take a year out, you will go straight from 0% (doing something else) to 90% (full time teacher).
    welsheuphnatty and DYNAMO67 like this.
  3. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I don't think age matters, but as someone who did a few things before teaching (although still in twenties when i started) I do think you need to be the right sort of person to be a 21 year old secondary teacher.

    I wouldn't. I worry that if you do not do it straight away you never will. And I don't think it would be that attractive to employers. My advice, and this is something that you have to look at carefully for the implications, is if you are not sure now is the right time, talk to your university about suspending your studies or pulling out (if there is no repercussions for later) and return when you have more confidence, resilience and life experience. After all, you are wobbling now and are not even teaching yet....
    Good luck
  4. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    In terms of job prospects following a PGCE it depends on 2 factors. Subject area and Location. Your subject would also determine the viability of doing further qualifications. Location is a significant factor as job prospects around the country are variable some places have good opportunities - largely due to expanding populations- some less so.
    You can take time out after gaining your PGCE and many have done this to go travelling or to gain experience elsewhere. The only time restriction is on the amount of non induction supply work which is 5 years from the date of your QTS.
  5. Sportycb

    Sportycb New commenter

    I know how you feel about the age. I did a 4 year QTS course so my first teaching practise I was only 18 and felt odd teaching pupils who were only 4 years younger than myself. The next placement I had only just turned 20 and was teaching up to 18 year old. However I think it is psychological. If I reminded myself that I was the teacher and they were the students it makes all the difference. When you hold your head high and really play the teacher's role it doesn't even matter if you look the same age as your pupils. For me this was the case. I was a very young looking 18 year old.

    I don't think you ever 100% get used to it though. I mean this in that after Uni I decided to not go into teaching in the UK (long story and not relevent to this), but I now I teach adults. It has taken me 2 years feel comfortable as a 25 year old teaching adults who are often the same age as my parents.
  6. zuba102

    zuba102 New commenter

    I completed my PGCE at 21 for secondary- I was the youngest on my course! 3 years later and I'm head of department at 24, so I don't think age is a big deal. If anything I've found it helpful as I've been able to make my lessons more relatable to teenagers. PGCE's are definitely full on, but things do get easier, especially in the second placement. I wouldn't make a decision yet, see how you feel later on in the year, and there's nothing to stop you having a few years out before you complete your nqt if you still feel the same later on. There is a limit though on how long you can leave between PGCE and nqt just check this first :) hope it helps, hang on in there it will be worth it :)
    Doolalitos likes this.

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