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How demanding is the GTP course?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Sparkley84, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. I've been accepted onto a GTP and I just wanted to know exactly how tough it is. I've heard people say that you get thrown in at the deep end and have to spend 24hours a day working! I'm not expecting it to be easy and I know that I'm going to have to work really hard, but is it really going to take up every minute of my life? I know that I will have to do planning and marking in the evening, but is it possible to fit it in around the rest of your life? For example I take piano lessons - would I have to put this on hold for the year or would I still get time to practise?
  2. You will have to work VERY hard on the GTP. You will have classes to teach as well as gathering together a portfolio of evidence showing how you meet the standards.
    I have to admit, it was the hardesr year for me. It was very stressful as the pressure is on all the time. Teaching and planning for classes is stressful enough but gathering the evidence also is very time consuming and tiring.
    The best advice I can give is organisation. Have a plan and follow it. Decide who you will see when and how you will manage your time effectively.
    Always stick to the deadlines set and have a good relationship with your subject mentor and ITT mentor.
    I have just finished my NQT year and looking back I absolutely loved the GTP despite it being such hard work. It is very rewarding and a great way to learn how to teach.
    I wish you all the best
    Chocfudgecake x
  3. Just had a thought, on the PGCE course, student teachers always have the class teacher sitting in on their lessons. It's not like that on the GTP is it? We'll have a reduced timetable but will be regarded as a proper teacher won't we?
  4. LoobyLouLou

    LoobyLouLou New commenter

    You don't have the class teacher in with you very often at all!
    It is a hard year, but if you are organised it is fine. I am nearly at the end of mine (final assessment in June) and have just sorted out my evidence for standards folders so that is almost done.
    I advise...EVERYTHING you do...work out which standards it hits so you don't spend hours doing it near the end of hte course when you are also busy with job interviews, planning and final essays.
  5. I agree with LoubyLouLou.
    I AM the class teacher!!! I actually didn't find the first term too bad. However I have not had a day or evening off since Christmas - this time of year all your assignments seem to hit at once, there is a ton of assessments to do for school, soon we will be writing reports, all the files of evidence need to be organised - I am sooo tired (as is everyone else) and there are all the job applications to get in (I am lucky I have been offered a post already! Yippeee). BUT the time flies!
    I am thoroughly enjoying my course and training now despite problems earlier on and all the work has been worth while so don't let workload put you off! Just keep up with your evidence collecting, organise your folders as soon as possible and get some wider reading in before your course starts remembering to keep a note of it for your evidence file of course!
    Good luck!
  6. What kind of assignments were you given to complete? I've been told that work from my PGCE (PCET) may be able to go towards my portfolio which means less work to do on that side.
  7. I think the assignments vary from provider to provider. Ours haven't been too bad compared to ones I did for my degree.
    I think we'll have had about five assignments varying in length from 2,500 words down to 1,000 plus evidence and a presentation. It's just that they overlap in timing. They are about showing your subject knowledge for core subjects, understanding of children's misconceptions and how a subject develops through the key stages - that kind of thing.
    It is organising your evidence files that takes the most time if you don't keep on top of it.
  8. Cool, thank you so much for all your advice!!
  9. Although the GTP is very hard work, especially at those pressure points, (like just before Christmas for me aaaagh) it is a fantastic opportunity to become fully prepared for your NQT year. I know that I would never have been as prepared as I am for my NQT year if I'd done a traditional PGCE and I also know I would have felt much more isolated training without the support of my friends and colleagues at school. That is the great thing about the GTP, yes it is hard but you are a member of staff and a familiar face to both the kids and staff.
    PGCE students do have a class teacher in the room at all times, but I personally preferred being on my own with my groups. It enables you to develop a strong relationship as their teacher rather than just someone who comes and goes.
    I do think it's really important that you try to maintain a work/life balance. If you give up everything that you enjoy then you'll just be miserable and your students will pick up on that. I try to have a whole day off every weekend and then work on Sundays. You should definitely keep up the piano lessons anyway, musical skills are invaluable in a school. You'll soon find yourself dragged into school productions and concerts!
    At the start of your GTP you'll have a reduced timetable (probably 40% depending on how much they're paying you and how experienced you are). You should take this time and use it sensibly, doing as much work as you can at school and collect as much evidence as possible for your standards. I blitzed mine in the first term and had mine completed by Easter. Your timetable will increase as you move through the year but as long as you are organised and manage your time well then you'll be fine. I stressed out majorly because I wanted to be the perfect trainee, expecting to be as good as the rest of the (qualified) department! Remember you are a trainee, and there's nothing wrong with making mistakes because you will learn from them.
    Anyway I think I've waffled enough. Good luck with it all!

  10. I was on a GTP programme last year, and am currently in my NQT year, in my department there are two NQT's, me and a former PGCE'er; from conversations that we have had it is clear that that intensity of the GTP programme and full year experience in a school rather than 2 or 3 7/8 week placements gives you a far better idea of a typical "school year", which makes your NQT year far easier!!
    The most important piece of advice i got from my mentor was that no matter how busy everything was and how easy it would be to do "just one more... lesson plan, write up etc", find one day in the week and plan in that you'll have that evening off and do something completely un school related. At first i laughed, but towards Easter and in my NQT year i think that this was the single most important thing i learned - work life balance!! otherwise you're no good to anyone, you school, your classes, your friends!!
    I thoroughly enjoyed my GTP year, and if i had to do it again i would!! But remember, the T stands for Trainee - experiment, make mistakes, it makes you better!!
  11. I am currently on the GTP programme. Yes it is demanding, but in my opinion it prepares you better for the NQT year as you work all year round. You get to know the students and develop strong relationships with them plus you experience every aspect of a school. You will be involved in INSET days and trips too if you want.
    The portfolio is time consuming, however if you keep things organised and keep everything up to date you should be fine. I currently have at least 8 files full of evidence already. You will be like a magpie in the GTP year, collecting anything which could help you meet a standard. I mean every piece of paper which is useful will end up in a file somewhere!
    My one tip of advice when you commence the GTP programme is get the skills tests done as early as possible. You can't get QTS without passing these tests (in numeracy, literacy and ICT). They have to be booked in advance and you can wait up to 4 weeks to book one. I know many people on my programme who have not done these yet and are beginning to worry.
    At first you will probably spend a lot of your time planning, but this does get easier as time goes by. Always talk to your colleagues and seek advice. They are valuable!
    Best of Luck for the year ahead.
  12. dizzymai

    dizzymai New commenter

    I am on GTP primary and it has taken over my life, really, partly because I find it soo interesting and fulfilling and, yes, hard. I also make sure I ahve one clear day and evening a week for relaxation and something completely different. The holidays are also a good time to unwind.
    Re files; I haven't got anything as much as some people by the sound of it. I have a big lever arch file for each term and then subdividers for each area during that term. I find this works really well. I do have a concertina file in which I am bunging resources that I mgiht use again, bunging being the word. I am not the world's most organised and tidy person but I'm doing okay. My files are in order and I know where to find things. I also save a lot on my memory stick to travel between home and school.
    re the tests. I found the ICT one the hardest, I had to practice and practice to become fast enough to get through it. really annoying and it took up lots of time. Now what's taking the time is job applications...........sigh...........does it ever stop?
    But I love it.
  13. dav1970

    dav1970 New commenter

    Hi All
    I'm glad I found this thread even if it is a bit old. I start my GTP Primary with Sunderland tomorrow and although I cannot wait, literally buzzing with ecitement, the bit I find the most daunting is the file organisation. Things like what to collect for what subject/standard etc. Also, somebody mentioned taking photos but is that allowed in school?
    Anyway, hopefully new GTPs will find this thread intersting and helpful as I did. Lots of new GTPs I know have this same problem, especially if you are a bit older like me and come from a job where organisation and filing was looked after by somebody else!
    All the best to GTPers everywhere - and any more advice would be appreciated as I'm still a bit in the dark on the filing side!
  14. Good luck with it Davidahall :) I wouldn't worry about the person who says they have 22 files, our Uni said no more than 4 files - planning, subject knowledge and understanding, professional and QTS with about 3 pieces of evidence for each standard. I think obseravtions will probably cover quite a few of the standards anyway and the GTPer in our school last year said they can cross reference more than one standard. Then along with examples of planning (which should all be in the planning diary anyway), kids work and your own reflective practice, examples of AFL and APP (and probably a few other things I haven't thought of) I reckon we'll all get there. The uni said not to worry too much about the files (but everyone does!) as if the teaching is there the evidence will be there.

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