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'Finish off' incomplete PGCE

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by dropout07, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. dropout07

    dropout07 New commenter

    As the title says, I have an incomplete PGCE in 2007. First placement went fabulously, I had enthusiastic mentor who was confident in my abilities, was looking forward.

    Then for my second placement after Christmas I was put into a school in the bottom 3 league tables for the LEA, had just come out of special measures, and the behaviour in many of my classes was atrocious. First lesson with my problem class (my mentor's Yr 10 group) had one student hold another down whilst he smeared glue into the other's hair whilst everyone else watched, and my mentor shouted at them (ineffectively) to stop. A call to the 'bodysnatchers' resulted in a member of staff coming and removing them both from the class and the instigator received a one week's suspension.

    'If you can make sure that each of them are excluded on alternate weeks, you'll be able to control the class better', I was told as she handed things over to me. Things went from bad to worse. This class was notoriously badly behaved, nobody interested in working, but I had these problems with other classes too.

    "You'll fail if you can't control the classes" I was told repeatedly. Because of my 'problems' my mentor was demanding detailed lesson plans with specific descriptions of teacher and pupil activity at five-ten minute intervals. All of my colleagues at this point were submitting plans which amounted to one line descriptions of 'starter, main and plenary' only. I'd get home at 7pm and then it would take me three hours+ to prep the two-three hours of lessons for the next day including powerpoints and resources for each.

    Every day I thought about just turning around and walking out of the school. The only way I could get the classes to behave was if I invited the deputy head to come along and watch, and of course he wanted to help, but of course he wasn't available for every lesson. I made it as far as April, but with two months to go, had my tutor observation and was advised that if I continued with the course I would probably fail as I couldn't manage the behaviour effectively and as a result the pupils weren't learning anything.

    The decision was made for me when the glue stick student mentioned previously was sitting at the front of the class watching my lesson, unusually quiet. He was just back from a one week suspension for telling another teacher to 'GFY'. He was turning a whiteboard marker over and over in his hands, and I was wondering what he was doing with it as there's otherwise no reason for him to have it.

    Then my back was turned to write on the board and suddenly I was struck in the back of the head by this heavy whiteboard marker. I proceeded to hand out the behavioural sanction that would result in another week's suspension. He protested that it wasn't him and no way I could have seen it was him, because my back was turned. And then my mentor, to my shock, was watching the class, was agreeing with him, saying that there was no way that I could have seen him throw it! I asked if she had seen him throw it, she said 'that's not the point here...'

    So yeah, I didn't go back there, I withdrew from the course. The university did say that I could go back and repeat the placement at a later date, but we are now 12 years down the road and it may be too late. [I later read in a news article ten years later that glue stick student - or someone with the same name and approximate age and location) was catapulted out of a stolen convertible that he had driven into a tree whilst being chased by police as he wasn't wearing his seatbelt.

    I don't ever want to be a schoolteacher in an English secondary school, but most of what I have been doing since is in education, tutoring, professional IT training, classroom based BTECs with apprentices etc, but not having any educational qualifications beyond a 120hr TEFL is really holding me back.

    I'm thinking of going to teach abroad, but all I have read before is that the employers abroad don't care about experience as much as the piece of paper that says 'Yes, I have a serious education qualification' and without it I'd be stuck earning peanuts just like every other unqualified ESL teacher.

    What's the best route for me to get what I need? Go back and complete my PGCE? I'm sure I could stick it out in a decent school for another term... Or something else?
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    What an interesting story. I am sorry you had such a terrible experience, but it is all to common from what is written on these threads. In 2010, three years after you left, there was the case of the science teacher driven to the point of attacking a student with a weight. The students had deliberately set out to torment the teacher and film the chaos. The use and abuse of mobile phones in classes is an increasing problems since teachers are always under threat of being photographed or filmed after a class has driven them to cry or worse.

    Perhaps start with contacting the agencies responsible for teacher training and see what they say about whether you could finish your PGCE or they may be able to suggest other teacher qualifications that exist. Or, they may say you have to start over. They will have the up to date information. If you Google: Get Into Teaching, you will find the links to the agencies that might have the answers for the questions you seek.

    You have done well to continue with education but if your sills are in IT you have plenty of options in other fields.
  3. dropout07

    dropout07 New commenter

    Thanks for your reply. I remember reading about the story that you mention in 2010, and whilst not in any way condoning what happened, I can totally understand how the teacher was eventually driven to this.

    I found UCAS/Prospects/.gov, are these the agencies that you mention? Or some others? I would like to gain an internationally recognised teaching qualification so interested in what options there are available...
  4. dropout07

    dropout07 New commenter

    Failing (if you'll pardon the expression) going back to complete PGCE, which other recognised teaching qualifications or other routes would there be?
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi dropout7

    If you go to some of the search engines online and Google "Get into Teaching", you will come up with the agencies responsible for teacher training. I only had a quick glance, you will need to look further.

    These are the agencies that will have the answers you seek.

    I was thinking about what happened to you and it is a shame but not uncommon in the UK education system.
  6. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    If you withdrew from teacher education you can certainly return. You can’t return at the same point you left for a range of reasons. The standards have changed since. The knowledge you need to teach has changed since. The course has changed since. You’d have to start from scratch.
    Having said all that, if you are one of the big bursary subjects or can do an SKE then your luck is in. You are eligible for a bursary to fund the course. No requirement to stay afterwards or repay the bursary.
    The system is open for applications. Get your application in. Next time, choose a provider carefully. You have a choice of three and get to visit each in turn before deciding. Try to tap up local NQTs and ask who is good and who is not.
    pepper5 and Stiltskin like this.
  7. wad18rhu

    wad18rhu New commenter

    It sounds like you had a bully for a mentor like me. My mentor was constantly undermining my efforts and was completely useless with regards to supporting me.

    Choose your training provider very carefully. I went to two interviews and really liked the first place (the tutor was lovely and friendly and the interview felt more like a relaxed conversation); the second place's tutor was awkward to speak to and slightly rude. Ultimately, I went to the second place because it was closer to me and more convenient but I've regretted it ever since. Most on the course agreed that she was 'generally rubbish' (their words not mine).

    Choosing that place ultimately led to my meeting one of the worst human beings I've ever met (my mentor).

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