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Having an awful placement!

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by lilykitty, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. lilykitty

    lilykitty New commenter

    Unfortunately, it's not unusual to have at least one placement that doesn't suit you. Some schools are more welcoming than others, and it seems (for whatever reasons) that this school doesn't tend to embrace students.
    You've had a good observation with your tutor, and you're half-way through now. Are you in a primary or secondary school? I'm sure a child wouldn't have mistaken you for another child if you are in primary, and even if you are in secondary you must have done some teaching in the class by now - perhaps it was just a language error? You also need to acknowledge that the teacher you are working with is struggling with her own insecurities (becoming a qualified teacher doesn't make you a perfect human being). You are a student, not a child, so you should be able to take that into account.
    My advice would be to decide not to take your difficulties with the school personally, focus on getting all you can from the placement and then move on. Trust me, developing a thicker skin will be very useful as you continue your teaching career!
  2. Thanks for your replies. I'm sure I will develop a thicker skin through this.

    I suppose I just find the experience lonely. I'll try to be more proactive with conversation and see how I get on. I think the age this is an issue because I'm always reminded of 'how young I am' (I'm 21), staff have even called me by my first name in front of the children on several occasions which doesn't help them to view me as another member of staff.
  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    21 isn't that young for a student teacher, sounds about normal, so isn't an issue at all. unless of course you behave very childishly, then it will become an issue. Dress and behave as an adult and a teacher and being 21 will not be a problem at all.

    We sometimes call each other by Christian names in front of the children, it isn't necessarily a dig at you. Might just be what happens in your school. Also if your school is more used to work experience students than student teachers, it might just be a mistake on their part. Try not to take it all as a slight.

    Work hard, be proactive in getting what you need, behave and dress as a teacher and you will be fine.
  4. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I was very lonely during both my PGCE placements, although one was slightly better than the other. My last placement I tried really hard to join in with staffroom conversations, but quite often I didn't know the person they were talking about, or I hadn't watched that particular TV show (being busy working all evening on planning, of course!). But just looking open and smiling, offering to make people tea if you're at the kettle, photocopy resources while your at the photocopier etc. will at least make you feel like part of the team, even if they don't necessarily see you as such. It helped me, anyway!
    The name thing just happens, I'm afraid. Everyone says it at some point in front of the kids, I'm sure it's not personal. Do you have a mentor at the school who's not your class teacher? Perhaps a general reminder can go out or they can have a quiet word.
    Don't worry too much about the social side. Get through the observations, pass the placement and move on. When you're in a job you will find friends and people will see you as an equal, and it'll all be worth it! I love the place I'm in now, I've made really close friends with people. But I had to get through 2 years of a part-time PGCE to get there!
    Hang in there!
  5. My placement was just like this last year. The staff there weren't very friendly at all and I often felt left out and isolated. One member of staff in particular who had just completed his NQT year was the life and soul of the staffroom, the children loved him, staff loved him and parents did too, but whenever i talked to him he'd blank me or give me one word answers. I came to accept some schools/teachers just dont like students (even though everyone has been there!!!)
    This year I decided to make a big effort everyday to ensure that I had good working relationships. From the moment I stepped foot in the school I ensured I talked to EVERYONE. From the caretaker first thing in the morning, my mentor, class teachers to the cleaners at night.
    2 minute conversations to check how their day is, how their weekend was, or just general chitchat about the week. I think sparing just 2 minutes is essential, I now know nearly every member of staff in school, they are more than willing to help me with problems and word gets around about how lovely you are (essential when asking for a reference!)
    This might just be a cold school, but chin up, only another few weeks before you move on and make a brand new start!
  6. Hey hon
    i can completely understand what you're going through!
    I am a prac secondary and these are my following pracs
    1st.Boys found out my phone number and started texting me for sex and drugs
    2nd. My ex boyfriend was my prac teacher (withdrew from that one!)
    2nd. none of my classes were observed, the school was TERRIBLE (all the kids came after they were expelled from other schools) and the teacher was fake and a ***
    3rd And my prac coming up... well i did a day observation last year of an "inclusive" school environment. The teacher didnt turn up and i got a desk thrown at me and then the boy said i 'searched his bag and then the teacher went pysco at me.
    Guess what? Im back at that "inclusive school"
    All I can say is as long as your passing thats all that matters, In Australia the tutors dont watch or have any say in your marks. Youre probably not going to see the people again and I'm sure you dont want to be friends with them. Obviously its depressing so have some choccies, nice stationary and make some yummy lunches. Being there 5 days a week with people you dont want to be around can suck! but all you want is a piece of paper.
    Good luck!
  7. My first placement was brilliant, helpful staff in my department, helpful and friendly staff around the school, perhaps the only person I found to be a bit distant was the head but hey, he was the head. This school was also classed as a 'rough' school with difficult students.

    My second school was much better behaviour wise and results wise according to the literature. However the school was a small kindgom of the head whose orders were followed with much fear. He said jump and the staff didn't even ask how high they just did it and hope it was correct. Survival of the fittest.There was also minimal interdepartment friendships and the whole place seemed to be full of back stabbers.

    My tutor in the school was a horrible woman who taught in a 'let's scare the kids so they work way' and her classroom management style and mine were at complete opposites of the spectrum. She had 3 student teachers including me and she would take on loads of work from the head of the department and then make us do it for her as it was good for our development.

    She also gave me a 4 on one of my reviews which caused a lot of issues in university as I was, essentially, now failing. Luckily for me there was another student from my university but from a slightly different course and he wrote, without me knowing, an email to my university stating how the reasons she had given were all incorrect and that if it was correct that I should be a failing student then he should too as we were working at the same level. Some of her complaints were that I didn't make my own resources and stole them from others. That my attendance was poor where as I actually only had 4 days off and that was because I had torn the cartilage in my right knee. I was on crutches and couldn't bend my leg and my school was an hour drive from my home!

    The final straw came when my uin tutor came in. He and my school tutor both observed the same lesson and he gave me a 2 with elements of 1 whereas she gave me a 4. A quick discussion turned into a 2 hour argument which ended with my uni tutor putting in an official complaint about her.

    2 years on I have completed my NQT year in another difficult school and got on well with both staff and students and now I am teching in an international school. THe horrible woman, I very rarely think about her as I took most of her advice with a pinch of salt. Just grin and bear it. It is hard but once it is over you can do what you want.
  8. ditwee

    ditwee New commenter

    If staff call you by your first name, smile broadly and correct them "Ms Leuty". Act in a professional manner, continually offer to do things to get on your teacher's good side and also to prompt conversation. Grit your teeth and you will get through it. If the children are confused over your status in class you need to rectify that immediately; when you next teach. You can do nothing about your teacher's view re. degree vs pgce. Again, smile broadly and pretty much ignore the comments. Does it matter, other than annoying you? This will be good practise for when you have your own job and have to deal with the less-than-supportive comments that some entrenched colleagues will have for you! It is awful when it appears that a class teacher doesn't really want a student placement - but it may not be personal to you, it may be an issue between the class teacher and the HT or SMT.
  9. Placements can be hard and often there is talk about which rtoute is best. In primary, in particular, those who come via the 4 year BEd route claim that is the 'best' and those with a degree and PGCE stick up for their route as the best.
    Thr truth is that both routes produce excellent teachers and different routes suit different people.
    In some ways you have to try and ignore the 'cheap shots' over training routes.
    Do also try and establish your credentials with the pupils by being proactive. If things are 'unprofessional' in the way that staff are behaving towards you you can also talk to your tutor and ask for help.
  10. I think a teacher using your first name in front of the class is really disrespectful and I would be a bit annoyed about that. As much as I agree you do need to be proactive, it is hard when you are the new person and the purpose of your mentor is to support your transition to the front of the class, not make it even more challenging.
    I think you should get as much as you can out of the experience and remember that it will just be a memory very soon. Good luck x
  11. Reading these stories has made me feel so much better about my placement! I was worried about a slightly crazy head of department and some difficult kids, nothing compared to this! Just goes to show what we can get through for a job we love - you're an inspiration! :)

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