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First placement expectations

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by meggriffin, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    I'm thinking forward to September when I begin my first ever teaching placement....
    I will have completed 3 full weeks in university by then so when should I expect to take my first lesson? Will it be on my first day of placement? Will I get to observe for a lesson/day/week before I am let loose with my own plans? Will I be backed up by a teacher if I flake or will I have to simply take it all on the chin??
    I realise that all placements will be different but can you tell me what structure your first placement took? I'm a planner and at the moment have no idea what to expect so would love to get some sort of idea of what to expect in my head!
  2. rainbow_gold

    rainbow_gold New commenter

    well done on getting on your course, very exciting times!
    In my experience your school will ease you into the placement - I observed lessons for about a week and a half before I taught my first lesson. They will want you to familiarise yourself with the students on your timetable first, and see the general teaching style of your department before you are let loose on the students.
    They may also have schemes of work that they want you to follow, so it is impossible for you to plan lessons before you start your placement really.
    To be honest, if a lesson starts to fail it is more likely that the host teacher will sit back and let you deal with it, and this is better for your teaching even if it doesnt feel like it at the time! If the students watch their own class teacher come in and bring a lesson back on track, they will start to think that they don't have to respect you and only have to behave for class teacher. Your host teacher will not want to undermine you in front of your students. Honestly you will surprise yourself with how in control you'll feel when it is your lesson, you wont WANT the class teacher to have any input! :)
    Good luck!! x
  3. Hi, I too am starting a PGCE Primary in september and am thinking about placements. I have had two very different experiences in schools whilst volunteering - the school I have been at for two years are extremely supportive, whereas another school I spent some time with made me feel like I was in the way. I like to think the schools the uni chooses will have been checked for this kind of thing, but what if we get landed with an unhelpful teacher/mentor?! Than again, I'm probably way ahead of myself! Lou x
  4. dairymilkqueen

    dairymilkqueen New commenter

    I'm starting my PGCE in September too but work in a secondary school at the mo (I'm a TA)and we have had at least 3 student teachers in the department on both the A and B placements each year. Generally on placement A they dont start teaching for a couple of weeks (we have a 2 week timetable so don't if that's why) and placement B students tend to start teaching a bit quicker (but then they've already done their first placement) after having time to observe the classes they will be teaching. So I wouldn't worry about being thrown in at the deep end and having to teach on your first day! I guess it will vary by school though. And they will have a SOW of work to follow so you can't pre-plan lessons, it also depends massively on what the kids are like, it will be really difficult to plan a lesson now without knowing what you will have to teach and who. One thing I would say is start gathering resources you like, or useful websites, I've started to this in the hour I have at the end of the school day before i finish.
    As for mentors, I reckon if yuo're having problems you will need to speak to your uni mentor, and your first point of call for an unhelpful teacher is your mentor at the school.
  5. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    My first placement consisted of two weeks of observation; seeing different classes in school, getting to know how things work, looking at planning, finding out where children were etc.
    Then my first teaching placement was several weeks, I started off just working with small groups, planning an activity for them with the help of the class teacher, related to what they were learning. I had a couple of observations of those. I also did whole class sessions such as taking the register (good to do in different languages; we had a different language each week!), story time and seeing them home. Then I moved on to planning and teaching lessons with the help of the class teacher.
    Your final placement gets you up to speed in terms of planning and delivering, but that's a year away! You will get as much support as you need over your first placement or two to get you to that point. [​IMG]
  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    In primary, on your first placement, you might get to do things like read and end of day story or take the register and small things after a day or two. This helps you get a feel for being in front of a class before actually teaching.

    Then you gradually do bits of lessons from the teacher's plans.

    It depends on your ability and confidence how much actual whole lesson teaching you do by the end.
  7. Hello, and congratulations on the place - its getting tough!
    I am coming to the end of my Science PGCE, and really looking forward to having my own classes now!. In my first placement I had a week of observations to get to know the school, teachers, students and the general atmosphere and expectations. In the second week I then started to deliver 'episodes' - so a starter activity to settle the students, or a plenary to summarise the lesson really. These then got longer and longer until I was teaching a full lesson by the end of the second week. However, some others on my course didn't do this until the fourth week - depends on the school, the classes and the student teacher!
    At first it does seem daunting but it quickly gets to the point where you want to be teaching the whole lesson and not have to hand it over.

    Good luck :)
  8. watermelon3

    watermelon3 New commenter


    I am starting a PGCE in September too! From what I heard at the open day, they do try to ease you in at first, I keep thinking about it as well though! I am trying to cross my fingers and hope for the best, as I assume that a lot of it will be to with the school/teacher that you are paired with!
    Have you had much classroom experience?

    Good luck!

  9. hummi7883

    hummi7883 New commenter

    Even i am going to start my PGCE in physicsthis september.
    I am working as an LSA voluntary for the last 4 months,so i feel really confident but still keeping my fingers crossed and wishing for a very good and helpful mentor.
    At the moment i am buzy filling up forms,conditional ones!!!
    I also have to get a PCC from my embassy(having lived abroad...)...loads of work to do....phewww!!!!
    was wondering if anybody is actually studying anything prior to the start???
    Good luck everybody...May u have a lovely and buzy year ahead...m not very organized so trying to get myself on track!!
  10. watermelon3

    watermelon3 New commenter


    I think that practicle experience will be more useful than any studying beforehand, so sounds like you are on the right track! I am very worried about my lack of classroom experience, how much has everyone else had?

  11. Hi,

    I'm doing a three year BA in primary ed and on our first placement we were encouraged to do things like taking register/reading stories as soon as possible, so we got started with that on the 2nd day. Mainly the first two weeks was spent observing the teacher and working with groups of children on activities planned by the teacher. We also used the time to visit other age groups to see progression through the school. In the third week I began to teach whole lessons that I had planned in literacy and maths and then moved on to adding non-core subjects too.

    I would say, do as much as you feel confident with as soon as possible. It's a real confidence boost to give a short whole class activity like circle time/ story a go (although don't know if you're primary or secondary) and for it to go well. Helps that the children see you as a 'real' teacher too! From my experience, by the end, you will want to be teaching all of the lessons and not having to hand back to the class teacher!
    Good luck with everything and enjoy.
  12. hummi7883

    hummi7883 New commenter

    very interesting post...some good advise!
    I was wondering how secondary ones took their first placement as?
    I am very much concerned about the older students not taking you seriously....they would know that we are students won't they???

  13. I have just completed a secondary Geography PGCE (finished on friday!) I was absolutely terrified when I went into my first placement, however I was paired with someone else on my course for block A. We had 2 weeks at uni then were thrown into school. For the first week it was just observations and following a specific student etc round school so you see a variety of lessons and teachers in other subjects. After that we started doing starters and plenaries and then built up, usually the first full lesson will be with year 7 in secondary as they arent as scary! Youll probably find that observation gets very boring after a while, and I was actually itching to get started!
    Don't worry about the students, at the end of the day yes they probably do know you are a student, but as long as you are consistent with behaviour managment and know your subject you wont have too much bother! I havent had any major problems, and you'll soon find even though you aren't a 'real teacher' just yet you soon get into character in the classroom!

    Hope that was helpful, and good luck


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