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

I am dreading going back to my school placement tomorrow.

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by emmalouiset22, Nov 6, 2016.

  1. emmalouiset22

    emmalouiset22 New commenter

    I am currently on my second and final placement. It is an 8-week placement and I am just about to go into the 6th week. The first 5 weeks have been okay, there have been both ups and downs but my first observation went well. To start with, my mentor was great and supportive, if very honest. They still seem like a nice person, but the past week I have started noticing more things. I notice that they talk badly about every person in our block even when they seem like friends, and this makes me wonder what they say about me. On Friday, I had a bad day, kids were not listening and I screwed up one of my lessons. It was a computer lesson and I did not model the task correctly and ended up screwing it up in front of the students. I overheard my mentor talk to the EA about how I had a lack of understanding of the task and I ruined the lesson for the students. While I agree, I should have done better modelling, I feel it would have been better to tell me up front and discuss how to improve.

    I also have a very difficult class. I have four students with severe behavioural problems. One student in particular just does not listen to any of my instructions and has major meltdowns when I try and communicate. My mentor tells me to not give up otherwise he wins and to keep trying to get through to him, but I just find this so hard when the other kids are waiting for my instruction and he is sat there with his head on the table. My mentor said that at the start of the year he was the same with them, but they have now built a relationship and he listens to them. However, he does not to me. I do not think I have enough time to build a relationship with him to respond to me, but I am at my wits end with him. I feel sick before every lesson he is in, not because of the child themselves, just because of the behaviour and the fact that I know I will get nowhere with him and it will throw the entire lesson off.

    My mentor also gave me all their plans for the term which I thought was great to begin with in terms of planning, however, I have now found that because I use their plans and programs, if I do not do it exactly how they have in the past, I do not do well. I really wish I could plan my own activities and lessons.

    I am having issues with my writing component. I was given a template by my mentor and told to teach the students this specific writing style. I have never taught it before and am being expected to follow the way she teaches things, but I am struggling and wish I could break down the task more and use my own style

    My last placement went so well and I enjoyed every day there and received an excellent assessment. This one is the opposite. I am now dreading going in tomorrow and I guess I am just looking for words of encouragement and for anyone who has been here before.

    I want to quite so badly, but I only have 3 weeks left I feel I should stick it out. I so hope I pass. I don't know what I will do if I fail after all this work.
  2. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I'm sorry you are feeling bad, but I have to be honest here, and say this is what teaching is like. You might get on brilliantly in a school, or it might be terrible, all day every day, and in reality, it is most likely to be somewhere in between, but you will have times when you feel like this, and all these things conspire against you over and over again,

    I am now a TA in a department where every member of staff has told me privatle that they feel like you. My last school was not like this ( but was not in the UK) My school before that was exactly like this.

    i don't know why people want to teach in the uk.

    If you can live like this, bite the bullet, get your qualification and probationary year, then re evaluate what you want to do next, if you do not yet have mortgage and children, you are a free agent, think very carefully about committing your self to teaching.

    If you can't live like this, don't waste another day of your precious time on the UK education system
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    well, that is no reason to condemn your self to a life of misery and drudgery! Think of something else to do! Are you going to be back on this forum in 40 years time saying yeah, well, I hated teaching for 40 years, but didn't know what else to do!
  4. DazedAndConfused79

    DazedAndConfused79 New commenter

    Hi, you posted this at 3:51 am, you were up early this morning! Hope it wasn't just with worry.
    Are you in primary or secondary? I'm also doing my pgce and I'm primary and have had some awful experiences in my placements. My second placement I was placed with the school bully as my class teacher and even the head acknowledged and said several reports of bullying had been filed against her. This caused me to develop an anxiety disorder which I ended up being signed off sick for 2 weeks from completing my final placement which I have to redo.

    The problem we as trainees experience when on placement is that there is no accountability for teachers or mentors so they really don't care whether we pass or fail or our emotional state. They forget we are learning and see us more like we are on The Apprentice and they are Allan Sugar and his critical minions, instead of like Strictly Come Dancing where the professional dancers nurture and guide the inexperienced celebrity dancers. If you've ever seen either program you'll notice the former is brutal and grey and the later supportive and bright. I wish teachers and mentors saw our development something they want to help us achieve. Anyway, sorry it just annoys me.

    You need to talk to your tutor and explain what you have said here to him/her. I've always found it helps to get the uni and tutor involved with problems on placement.

    I do understand that you possibly feel at the mercy of people who could turn on you at any minute and have the power to ruin your life by potentially failing your placement. You have a lot in your post, so:

    1. Your 'bad' lesson on Friday - You cannot stop people from talking behind your back, ignore it. Your lesson didn't go very well on Friday, but you havr recognised why and I am sure have recorded this in your lesson evaluation and how to improve. This is as much as you can do regarding that lesson, move on from it and ensure you are aware that clear, consise modelling will happen in the future. If it helps, practise models at home the night before. I wouldn't expect you to do this for every lesson but for lessons you don't feel very confident in. Another thing you could do when you feel the children are lost is identify children who really dont get it and do a mini-teach cos I'm sure that some must have got it. Also, dont forget, reflection also means knowing what you did well in the lesson. Try and remember your strengths as well as developing your skills.

    2. Behaviour management - the child you are having problems with. You have done the right thing by asking your mentor for advice but doesn't seem like it was very helpful. What are the targets for this child on his behaviour? Speak to the SENCo about dealing with disengaged children. To prevent the class teacher thinking you've gone over her head just say it is for your general professional development and not about any particular child. Also, you need to get to know this child. What does he like doing? What does he find hard? Maybe you can base starters around something he likes, have pictures of Adventure Time characters on work or wall displays near him. Maybe, give him the lesson outline/steps to success with pictures of things he finds interesting on it as you are giving lesson intros. If he sees you are making an effort for him, he will make an effort, a lot of the time anyway.

    3. Teaching from someone else's plans and being rated on how they teach it - in my opinion this is the worst! I hate it. Can you speak to her (I'm assuming your mentor is your class teacher and is also a woman) and ask for set targets (3 max.) to work on over the next few weeks which are based on the teaching standards. This may detract her from focusing on you not teaching like her and makes her focus on things in the standards.

    What is the specific writing style you are being asked to teach?

    I felt like quitting too but you can't.

    blueskydreaming likes this.
  5. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    why couldn't you?
  6. DazedAndConfused79

    DazedAndConfused79 New commenter

    Hello, well, I suppose emmalouist22 and I could both quit but I don't think we should. Why should other people prevent us from pursuing a career we want? I love teaching and want to contribute to people's lives in a positive and constructive way.

    Did you compete your teacher training in the end? Do you feel you are happier as a TA? Why do you stay in the UK education system if you don't like it?
  7. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I am very much against the bullying and trauma imposed on UK teachers. I taught in the UK for 20 years, and it was frequently absolute hell, but once you are suckered into the system it can be very hard to get out, it is a bit like being in an abusive relationship, you blame yourself, and you lose all confidence.... I came to my senses after the death of a colleague, and I resigned.

    now I am a TA, I have a fun, low stress job, but as an outsider, it is far more obvious to me that the teachers I see are beaten down, depressed, eroded, abused, and over worked, every single one I work with is miserable, but they can't get out.

    So I find it alarming that people in your position are already saying they "can't" leave. You can. Is it something in the mentality of teaching applicants, conscienteous? high acheiving? tenacious?What would it take to make you leave? The reality of the job should be at least making you think twice
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    We all love teaching and want to contribute to people's lives in a positive way.

    Unfortunately this is not related in any way to working as a teacher
  9. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    You need to be very careful before posting comments like this. I'm not going to dignify what you have said by giving you a rundown of how I have supported and still support inexperienced teachers, other than saying that if you have such a low impression of people who are and who will be your professional colleagues then maybe you need to have a rethink about your career path.
  10. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Teacher training is very emotional. Every tiny success and failure become so highly charged that you end up leaping from peak to trough and back again over the course of a few lessons.

    The OP needs to realise that, once qualified, there will be opportunities to plan and teach in their preferred style. Knowing what the class teacher wants taught and how at least gives a clear understanding of how to pass the placement. Three weeks isn't long, even if it does seem endless just now.

    As a broader point, I found my placement teachers far more understanding and constructive than university tutors. It's perhaps unwise to generalise about every mentor and teacher based on experience of one or two. Now that I'm an experienced teacher, I mentor beginning teachers and my first concern is always for their well-being. That doesn't mean I can't offer criticism or that I don't expect them to sometimes follow my way of teaching something. I experimented with lots of styles as a new teacher before finding my own teaching persona and methodology. It's a learning process and part of the reason for placements is to see how experienced teachers work.
  11. DazedAndConfused79

    DazedAndConfused79 New commenter

    I am simply writing how I have felt so far in my experience of being a trainee teacher. I understand that other people may well have had very supportive and nurturing class teachers and mentors. I have worked in schools for years in different capacities and have come across some wonderful teachers. It doesn't change my experiences as a trainee though, I am sorry.

    I am sure you, and many other teachers and mentors, are incredibly supportive but, unfortunately for me, I have been placed in situations as a trainee where I have been bullied and demoralised. I wish that were different. Sorry.
  12. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    Steady on @Caligraphy i think it was a general statement and not saying that all teacher mentors are like that.

    @dunnocks - if we all left the profession, who would teach. We can't all become TAs and sit back smugly telling everyone the should leave - life's too short. Grow up, life isn't like that. We all have commitments, responsibilities and expectations (own and others), that makes this approach you suggest quite ridiculous.

    I have worked outside education and I can tell you it is not this dreamland many think it is. It is hard graft/ slog with just as many bullies, egos and idiots to deal with. And no, money doesn't make it any easier.

    Be more sensitive to other people's predicaments.
    DazedAndConfused79 likes this.
  13. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

  14. DazedAndConfused79

    DazedAndConfused79 New commenter

    Thank you for the support. You are quite correct, I was only sharing my experience. I am sure there are some very nurturing and supportive class teachers and mentors for trainees out there. :)
  15. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    This is exactly the emotional blackmail teachers are beaten round the head with constantly

    "but the children need you"

    actually, no, the children do not need teachers working in these ridiculous conditions at all, and if everybody refused point blank to be treated inhumanely, and left, the system would HAVE to change.

    it is the collusion of teachers that keep the abuse of teachers going
  16. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    DazedAndConfused79 likes this.
  17. DazedAndConfused79

    DazedAndConfused79 New commenter

    I understand your sarcasm and attack are because you don't like my comment but I have a right to share my experience. If you read other posts in this forum nearly all of them say there is a lack of support and nurture from class teachers and mentors to trainees, so I'm not alone in my experiences. Even the OP says the same. I posted for her so she would feel supported. She asked for anyone with similar experience to comment so I did. Similarly, I am sure that loads of trainee teachers also have wonderful experiences in placement as I am sure yours do.

    What advice would you give the OP? It would be great to hear what a caring and supportive person of trainees would say to someone in her position.
  18. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    I think you'll find the OP was. Not that I have to justify myself, however I have mentored, coached and supported many training and new teachers over the years and given them the dignity and professional courtesy that any individual deserves who attempts to teach in a classroom these days. Imho, this hasn't been proffered by the OP.
  19. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    "Sarcasm and attack"? Dear oh dear...
  20. DazedAndConfused79

    DazedAndConfused79 New commenter


Share This Page