I'm in my 2nd placement, having returned to a PGCE after a disastrous first placement in 2009 where I had a terrible mentor relationship, was given virtually no support and only ever received negative comments, leading to me suspending my studies while I got myself in a better state to continue. One of the constant issues was that my mentor refused to observe me more than once a week despite me telling her the uni required more frequent observations. Academically I was doing really well and still have no concerns there. In between returning to PGCE I worked as an unqualified teacher and loved it - so I know I can do the job. On returning to the PGCE I was placed in a nice, local school and - compared to P#1, it couldn't be more different - BUT - I am still getting next to no observations - I have had fewer than 15 since arriving in January. If I get two in a week I would be amazed. I teach alone and unsupervised almost all the time - there are serious staffing problems - and this in itself doesn't bother me as I'm used to being alone in the classroom - but it does mean I still have very little evidence of meeting standards and then, when I am observed, I suddenly get picked up on lots of little problems which makes me feel like I am making no progress. Because I have no experience of what good mentoring is like, I don't know what I should be expecting in my mentor meetings and my uni tutor has said my record sheets are inadequate (not blaming me - he has brought it up with the placement school). The uni have also contacted the mentor and explained the other trainee & I need lots more obs and an email has been sent by mentor to the rest of the department - but nothing has changed. Mentor said I must tell the class teacher I want an observation but tbh, I have a million and one things to think about as I go into a lesson and frequently, I don't even know if the teacher will BE there, let alone if they'll observe. My mentor is very experienced and very nice and has made it clear that she has no qualms about whether I'll pass and that I shouldn't stress about that aspect. I do receive verbal feedback fairly often, however, I have so little written feedback that I find it hard to recall what teachers suggest I do and this verbal feedback is usually a brief chat at the end, when either me or class teacher are rushing off to teach another lesson - so no chance to write down their suggestions. I am very critical of myself and reflect constantly but my over-critical nature makes it hard to be objective - I need a balanced view of what I'm doing well and what needs work. I'm feeling really demoralised about the experience especially when I've already had one bad placement - I really hoped I'd get the support I need this time around and, while I don't feel clinically depressed like last time, I am frustrated and worried that it is getting to be too late to gather enough evidence to meet the standards. I've worked my a** off to get here (up till midnight planning most days) , am hugely in debt and struggling to keep my family afloat and I cannot afford to fail at the last hurdle. I got 2s and a couple of 1s for my last review point but they were plucked from air really as mentor has not seen me teach enough to comment objectively. For all I know, I could be scraping a 3 in reality. Uni are aware and are annoyed about things - they have said they will pull me & other trainee out if necessary but the thought of going to yet another school and starting afresh at this late stage is just another stress I don't want. I've asked uni how many observations I need in my file and no-one seems able to tell me. Can I be failed for not having enough? I've repeatedly asked for more but week after week, there's always excuses why it hasn't happened.