1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

had enough now of this course...anybody else feel same?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by robgorton89, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. Hi,

    I really sympathise with how you are feeling, I was there this time last year myself! You are doing the right thing sharing it with family and friends, I bottled up all those feelings up and ended up completely melting down over Easter, and only returned after Easter thanks to the support from my friends and family.

    I just want to let you know it has got better, I am now an NQT in a school I love with lots of supportive colleagues, and I now love teaching again. The PGCE is a horrible experience, but the result is completely worth it!

    Keep strong and Good Luck

  2. Hi
    That happened to me March 2010 - nearly walked out!
    Instead do what I did - starting with the number of days left in the placement, do a countdown of days in your diary. Then split the lessons into how many to cover in the days! Makes planning a lot easier when you can see the end looming.
    As you work through and can see "15 days to go" - it suddenly becomes achievable.
    And I haven't done NQT - couldn't face another school room - I teach adults instead!

  3. Completeunknown

    I completely understand what you are going through. I was in your position last year on primary. I had 1 placement which absolutely destroyed my confidence and impacted on my final placement which I almost failed.

    When you get an mentor who is not supportive, look at what you can still learn from them. On PGCE you spend so much time learning what to do, but learning what NOT to do is equally beneficial.

    You have come so far already, so don't give up. As others have said, PGCE is a tough year and overloaded with paperwork. It does however fly by and before you know it, it will be over and you can look forward to starting your career. Remember to take some time to yourself, even if it is just 1 evening a week. Put everything to the side and do something totally unrelated to PGCE or school, even if it is vegging in front of the TV or just crawling under your duvet. If needs be leave your folders at school so that you won't be tempted (my final placement mentor took my folder away from me and told me to go home by 4 or she would escort me of the premises, which I was grateful for afterwards). If you do need to do something, do something mundane like making resources

    Don't fret too much about the jargon side of things either, as long as you can explain a concept, and people understand it, it doesn't matter about what it is currently called. Some of the phrases we were taught are unknown by some schools and they will tell you they call it something else, and lets face it, there will probably be a new name for the computer suite next year!

    Good luck for the rest of the year, you will make it through.
  4. Fizzbobble

    Fizzbobble Occasional commenter

    Completeunknown - you're not alone.
    If you go back into education and you're a little bit older, the bitchy little girls (and boys!) just out of uni can be very grating indeed.
    My uni tutors lie incessantly. 'We'll support you no matter what' flips over to 'we're not getting involved'. I've had a very poor time of it; being made to feel the scapegoat so that the 'real' teachers and lecturers can save face, just for asking for help.
    All I can say is, I'm with you - I'm looking into different avenues but I'm sticking with the PGCE. I won't give them the satisfaction of seeing me quit, and I really want it!!
  5. I can totally sympathise with you. I'm on GTP and had a bad first school, had to move mid term and start again. I left with little confidence and was so far behind everyone else I haven't yet caught up. In my new school I was taken reluctantly and so haven't had the mentoring or support that others have.
    I'm no longer sure that I want to teach as I don't like the politics or the paperwork. Trouble is that as I am employed on the GTP I can't choose to leave without another job to go to; I am a single parent so mine is the only household income. Leaving the GTP will probably mean losing my home and my children, that's a tough choice.
    I am depressed and already on maximum dose of anti-depresants, GP won't allow counselling or sign me off sick so I just have to keep turning up until the tutor fails me and I'm directed to leave. Nervous breakdown here I come!
  6. Dear Completeunknown,

    Stick at it. this isn't indicative of the profession and the rewards will be worth the outcome. Thin about the long game and your future. All the very best, a fellow stressed out PGCE student
  7. Hi unknown
    Honestly I have just cut and pasted your message so I can pin it on my noticeboard daily in order to read it and make myself feel like i'm not the only one in the universe going through this intensive hell on earth!!!!!! My peers seem to have it much easier than me and have no empathy at all. I have even bought a new phone and dumped the lot of them, which is a bit extreme. My Mentor is a nob...I feel so damn isolated and alone. I only have until May and I am trying to hang in there. I hate everyone...The only thing I look forward to, is seeing the students.My circumstances are entirely similar to yours, only I am the only student teacher on placement.
    I feel better knowing there is atleast one other suffering...hang in there hun
  8. Cassius82

    Cassius82 New commenter

    I was writing a list of all the tasks that I've got to do between now and the Easter break (aka 2 weeks of intense GTP work but without the interruption of school!), and a small section of my brain melted away with the perception of how impossible it all is. Obviously it doesn't help if your school/PGCE support staff are making you feel worse about the process.
    I think you just need to try to break your tasks down into more manageable chunks, and if possible set yourself a latest time to work to in the evening (around 10pm preferably). For example, this fine weekend I have to research work for an SEN task, plan lessons for this week (around 8 lessons), put together a covering letter for a job application, and attempt to plan a scheme of work that is due in at the end of the Easter Hols. By the time the Liverpool-Arsenal game starts (!) I aim to have a damn good idea of what i'll include in my covering letter. When the game is finished and Liverpool have tonked Arsenal, I need to light a fuse under my ass and plan at least 2 lessons for Monday. I'll re-assess what I need to do tomorrow.
    You have a supportive partner - worth their weight in gold.
    Get some exercise too, and indulge in whatever it is that makes you laugh. Basic human needs.
  9. Hi, I really feel for you. I think you need to remember that a lot of this is due to you having a poor mentor and little support. Whilst this makes you feel ****, it's no reflection on your ability to teach. I've just started my second placement 2 weeks ago. My first placement was horrendous, pretty much as you've described I very nearly gave up; it was just talking to teachers I knew who I'd worked with previously as a TA that I carried on but it was just a case of just getting through it day by day. My second placement however is the complete opposite, the school and my mentor are really supportive and I've had great feedback after only 2 weeks. One of my friends however at a different school has had the totally opposite experience, with brilliant feedback from her first placement and very poor feedback at her second. What I'm getting at it that you need to remember that it is all down to your mentor, how good they are will be reflected in how well you feel supported, emotionally as well as practically. We know from teaching kids that if you give them negative feedback they'll find it harder to perform in the future. A good mentor knows that and knows how to nurture the PGCE student. On a slightly different note and maybe a more controversial one, I am also a mature PGCE student as was my friend. We have both found that the young mentors are less 'tolerant' and supportive than the older ones, is there a bit of ageism creeping in?....this could be an idea for an assignment?
    I really wish you luck. focus on the fact that you can do it and don't let 'the *** get you down'.
  10. Hi, You are absolutely not alone. I am in my 30s, halfway through a GTP course and feeling the same. I am currently on my second placement and resenting every second away from my family. People always told me it has to be a passion to teach, but I never fully realised to what extent.
    When teachers 10 years in the profession tell you about how they always try to give themselves one night off a week, when they take marking on holiday, when they get in at 7.30 and stay until 6pm then go home to work some more, it has to be a near religious belief in what they are doing, because the money just doesn't add up.
    Of course, there are teachers who stroll in before the lesson, chat to the kids and then go home again, but they are usually near retirement and would never get a job now. (Ironically enough these Ofsted failures are usually the ones the kids love being taught by).
    I too have got to the point you describe, where I feel people and classes must see through my manufactured enthusiasm and ennui, but if I quit now I have no job, and a child to support. I am the only earner in the house, and I took the course because I had reached the wages ceiling for TA work and am fed up of being on the breadline. My thinking was that I could teach, enjoy the job, plus be around for the little ones, but this is making me so unhappy.
    I know what you mean too about the constant "helpful" criticism. There is no other job I can think of where you are constantly encouraged to be so self-critical, and I believe it is extremely unhealthy to always feel that you can do better. This is not ego, but if you have planned a lesson, taught it, the kids have learnt and behaved, then as far as I can see, job done. I know as a trainee we should be reflective, but teachers continue to do this kind of self-criticism their whole life.
    I have been desperately thinking of what other avenues in education I could pursue, after all, I have a degree and an MA, and will have a lot of experience through the GTP, but right now I can't think of anything that pays above the usual TA rubbish salary.
    Sorry about the rant, but reading yours really hit home!
    Hope things work out for us all.

  11. Good luck. Don't give up. I'm in my 40s.and struggling to get to the end of this placement. Almost walked out this week after awful obs by tutor- they seem to do what completely goes against any idea of how to teach, and try their hardest to knock any confidence out of you- but I've talked to some brilliant friends, and am going to try to keep going. However much work piles up, I know I've got to make enough time for my family- so constantly juggling and never doing anything as well as I should be- but only a week to go on this placement, then struggle through till July...everybody I've talked to ( apart from tutor) says don't give up now. Beginning to think tutors and mentors are more bullies than support- Hope things start to go better for you.
  12. thequillguy

    thequillguy New commenter

    Wow. Just, wow. I taught inner-city, and it was difficult. I still read the diaries. I think the thing about adapting to a PGCE is to realise that any people profession is going to be stressful to breaking point, and that you will have to work closely with people who you may have little time for. However, it is necessary, I think, to think 80/20 about it all.

    What are the most important things you need to focus 80% of your time on? I think making sure you have some time to refresh yourself (don't work past a certain time in the evening, for example) and to take the educational buzzwords for what they are worth. Something (but not everything!) Be personal with those you trust, and be professional with others. I have colleagues who I would never socialise with, but it is still possible to have cordial working relationships with them. It is common, especially in a people profession, to have necessary conflict with those around you. But bear in mind, it's often not personal. Your tutors and mentors must be stressed too.

    Use the TES to offload. Speak to friend and family, but bear in mind that they will agree with interpretations that your mentors etc. are bullies (because that's their job.) You clearly care like hell, because you wouldn't write so much if you didn't. But one thing that every teacher needs is confidence in the face of ridicule, to realise that the only thing you really have in your armoury is bluff, and that it is ultimately you who decides how to react to things around you.

    However, without some room to relax and get perspective, how you react isn't always a matter of choice. PM me if you want to chat.
  13. Thank you so much everybody for your replies. every post has really helped in knowing i'm not alone. the worst thing about this course is that there is no let up - i feel better after two days of rest, but then it starts all up again. i think the problem is the anxiety about what will happen - will you fail your placement, will somebody give you bad feedback, will you hack the workload? will you get a job? will your folder be ok?? etc. it's these worries that consume me as well as the day-to-day stuff. yes, i can't believe how bitchy people can be in this sector - i've heard stuff i could hardly repeat here, and it's got nothing to do with teaching. i think teaching is such a 'personality' focussed profession that gets me. i have until june and yes ive already been marking off the days as if i'm in prison... bleh. it's glad to know that there are people who felt just as bad who made it through. thanks.
  14. My heart goes out to you - in so many ways what you're going through now is identical to what I went through last year and I know how tough it is.

    I had a terrible placement, was continually told I was useless/a failure/hopeless and several staff were trying to force me to quit at every opportunity. I was frozen out of conversations in the staffroom and if I went elsewhere to spend time with other PGCE students/TAs I was being "unsociable" and "refusing to mix". I really, really wanted to be a teacher but the course was destroying everything I am and stood for from the inside out.

    In the end, I could hardly recognise myself and my family and friends were all worried about me. I wasn't sleeping, barely had time to eat, hated everything about going into school and I was constantly stressed and worrying about it all, even when we were on holiday for half term or whatever. I became very quiet but liable to snap, could find no way of having fun due to the worry, constantly felt sick and I knew it was doing me and the children I was teaching no good at all. It wasn't teaching I hated, it was the system and the way I felt that there was so much the "them" and "us" attitude with the staff where they closed ranks against anyone new.

    I left teaching after the PGCE and am now in a completely different job which I love. Yes, I got the PGCE but was really worth the agony? I'm not sure...

    If you want a chat any time, let me know. If I can be of any help at all, please do get in touch.

    Good luck!
  15. To be honest, you sound so jaded, I would suggest looking at other careers! Teachers who have been doing it for 20 odd years sound as jaded as you but you've barely started! Having said that, I would recommend doing your NQT year as it will be different to your pgce - I can remember cringing at all the stupid, pointless things we had to do at uni. Thankfully, the pgce course does have an end date so just focus on that.
  16. You are absolutely not the only one who feels like this. Every day I feel seconds away from throwing the whole thing away and burning my teaching files in a ritualistic pyre. I think I had about a week at the start of the course of enjoying it and it went downhill from there. I'm constantly frustrated at not being able to get any clear answers as to my progress from anyone. I get good lesson observations and act on the targets and yet I'm apparently not reflective. I'm constantly told about the need for teamwork and collaboration but when I go to talk to other teachers (even if we've agreed to chat about the lesson at a convenient time) I'm treated as if I'm over-thinking it, worrying unnecessarily or unable to think for myself. I'm naturally a *very* independent worker/learner so it's been a real effort to come out of myself and specifically go to others to ask for advice or to run an idea past them; I kind of feel that I've made the effort to do what they want but there's no acknowledgement at all that I'm hitting these targets. It seems that so much of what I do goes unseen. My mentor is actually a nice person but I still feel constantly harassed when I talk to her. As others have said, I know of no other career in which you are actively critical of yourself - and that *is* be critical, not critiquing. I also have deep fears of failure....at first we were told that we needed to pass the essays and have an acceptable teaching file, then when I started struggling with understanding what they wanted of me it became 'oh well, you can pass all the essays, tick the QTS standards but really we make a judgement call as to whether you pass'. Huh? What other qualification is there in which someone makes a judgement call as to whether you pass? The success criteria for the PGCE is so unclear - I have literally no idea whether what I'm doing lives up to what the faculty/school want. I can tell that my pupils are learning, I have great relationships with my sixth form classes (which comprise most of my teaching right now) and I've been told by other class teachers that I'm doing well and approaching things in creative and innovative ways. But my mentor and faculty tutors seem not to see this. It all makes me feel so lost.

    Added to that is the fact that I'm coming to this slightly later than most of my course mates. Having done a Masters and worked in HE I feel quite distant from the 22 year olds fresh out of university - and also quite different to the trainees in their 40s with husbands and children...kind of a no-man's land. Like a lot of the trainees in this thread I feel really angry about the course - there seems to be so much bad practice happening in supposedly getting us to learn and use best practice. The faculty say they are supportive but this really only goes up to a point - if you're really not fitting in then they don't want to know. I feel like I'm wasting my time in school but I'm anxious when I'm away from it. I'm stressed all the time, tired, unable to think clearly, overly emotional, and all the rest. I'm certain that I'm not going to look for teaching jobs - I just can't deal with the religious fervour for the job that so many people in school seem to have. I can't work that way. I also can't deal with this whole 'teaching persona' thing. I find it very difficult to create work version of me that I can stick to for 10 hours a day. The idea that I need to uphold some sort of status quo morality is doing my head in. I love teaching sixth form and I'm really good at it so I'd like to actually get the PGCE so that I have the option of doing this. On the other hand I can't abide the school environment and all of the ******** acronyms, targets, data, reflection and general falseness of character that I encounter. The idea that I could stick with this until June, put in hard, hard work and then have someone make a 'judgement call' that I fail is too much. My confidence has never been lower and I don't think I've ever done anything that has made me angrier.
  17. You don't sound like you really want to be a teacher. If you can't do the course, disagree with qualified tutors, and abhor everything about it, and you feel this way about what you need to learn you won't be able to teach. If this is your attitude as a student, a presumably mature one, you should stop now and go and get something where you don't need to put your all into the job, need to know jargon and understand all that goes with being a good and caring teacher.. Teaching is tiring and stressful and it won't do your health any good if you continue.
  18. Oh dear God, I read through this thread and wondered if I'd written it all in my sleep. I had the mentor from hell in placement 2, had I been in the real world, I'd had put a bullying complaint in against that person.
    My main failing was, allegedly, that I couldn't accept criticism - well no, not when EVERYTHING you say to me is couched negatively! My main fault was being older and having had a career and daring to actually have a mind of my own. Oh, and having a good relationship with the kids. Oopsie, silly me.
    Anyhoo, I made it through the year of hell, complete with, when I was at my lowest, a 1 and a half hour slating from the head of the course, and now, having been battered so badly on placement 2 and only just scrapping through (from a Good on placement 1 with great feedback), from the course which is so good everyone always gets a job, I'm still looking for that elusive NQT job, and one of the agencies I've signed up for won't even put me forward for teaching work, despite having got the PGCE because the mentor wrote a bad reference. Bitter, moi? Well yes actually.
    Anyone fancy coming and setting up a free school with me?
  19. Hi
    I could have written this myself, as my experiences were close to this except my uni tutor was the supportive one. I would say stick to it no matter how hard it seems, and do it for yourself. Stop comparing yourself to others as we are all individuals and seek the advice of the course leader if you can if there are elements of a personal nature being used against you. I know it may seem difficult but it could mean the difference between you coming out with fantastic report and a PGCE or failing SE1 and having to repeat with no fault of your own. Constructive criticism is only given when the person critising realises they are being offensive or you do not agree or challenge the comment by askling lots of questions. Do not argue, simply ask for explanation each time you are critisised this way you are not negative and you may find the attitude of your link tutor may change or anyone else who gets nasty with you. I have found alot of arrogance in teaching but equally there are some really pleasant people too, so dont think any two schools are alike. Sorry your time is quite s.**t at the mo but complete the PGCE and be proud you most likely never have to see those people again. A good bit of advice my tutor gave me ' Treat others like you would want to be treated, as they may end up having to write you your next reference,and it's a small world' No matter how much I wanted to I bit my tongue through racist comments, class predjudice, stereotypical rude comments on my background and ignorance and favouritism because I am not the one always jumping around for attention. I got 4 hours sleep most nights including the weekend and walked 2 miles each day to school with heavy bags of resources and my laptop and lost 1.5 stone in weight. But I never let it get the better of me. Now I have QTS I can choose my path, but if I gave up it would be back to square one with the bruises to show. I dont work in a school as I took a break for personal reasons (bereavement), but I would gladly work part-time in a 'nice' school like people post about. Give me some tips people as Paul is going to pass this course now I have told him my situ was much worse and he is going to do it for himself. help me if you know about what else to do with a PGCE if you cant find a job that isnt agency day to day work. I'm thinking about becoming an assessor or working with adults, do tell if you can help. Paul you stick to it!!! moan at me I can take it!!! I'm dyslexic and I cant get the spell check to work and it's late so sorry for the spelling mistakes!
  20. Floss61

    Floss61 New commenter

    Feel more worried about you mummynutters than original 'postee' I have just finished primary gtp and though I loved it, I was very ill at the end. If you re serious about the depression badger your doctor to sign you off. Better a couple of weeks (paid) sick leave now than jeopardising your home and family in the long term. You will find some perspective if you have a rest and will perhaps be clearer about what to do. Xxxx. P.s am now teaching reception class and loving it though exhausted!

Share This Page