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Not sure I'm suited to Teaching

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by albionfitness, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. Hi there....... please do not give up! you are not alone, I am currently doing a PGCE after teaching as a non QTS teacher. At first when I went into school I felt silly and not good enough. but you know with time comes experience and you have learnt a subject at degree level and will be able to deliver it.
    I have found the department I am in scary!! and I am not the most confident coming across at first, but I was like this at my old school and after time I WAS Confident !! and you will do it to, just have faith and try to remember that each time you have to deliver. I couldnt even spell when my mentor was helping me fill in forms.... I had a mental block. Thats how daft I felt and I must have come across a right nut!
    On a positive side .....Shadowing my mentors lesson, I felt it could have been done better and the chilren were messing around.... which gave me some confidence as I have delivered better lessons myself and there were things I picked up on and my mentor told me they dont usally behave that way.

    I am not the more confident of people when delivering things but I know from my own experiences I can do it and you will. I have seen one trainer teacher walk out of lesson with tears in their eyes saying just the same as you..... I told them the same as you... They are now teaching!!! Time will help and you must keep going.... you have alot to offer and sound a lovely person and your own talents to bring to your sudents.

    Best wishes
  2. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    (I don't often frequent this forum but this topic popped up on the front page, so here I am. I may not have anything useful to offer, though...)
    I know a number of people who are very quiet and gentle people who are fabulous teachers and have enormous presence. I also met a lot of loudmouths who aren't and don't, so I wouldn't worry about that. You have to find your own style and that can take a while.
    Having said that, I think that quietness and gentleness are not to be confused with a lack of assertiveness and fear of confrontation. If either of those describes you, then you need to address them because they will hamper you in the classroom, imo.
    As far as I can gather your issue is predominantly with this mentor, who you feel has taken a dislike to you and has judged you at face value as 'useless'. Let's say (for the sake of argument) that she has - so what? Do you think that this will impact on her judgement of you as a teacher, based on observations of your teaching? Has she addressed your 'uselessness' directly in terms of your teaching ability? If not, then tbh I think that you have to work on the assumption that she will be professional and judge you according to the standards. She will also have to give you ways in which you can improve,
    If you have problems with the way that she's assessing your teaching, you feel that her judgement is affecting her professionalism and you have evidence that she is unfair based on that than you can reassess and tackle it.
    It could be that she has PMT, that you remind her of the 22-year-old who ran off with her husband, that she doesn't like you or that, indeed, she just has one of those faces. You will work with hundreds and thousands of people throughout your career - most of them young and not all that rational - some of whom will dislike you.
    I don't think that you can let it drag you down or make you question yourself - teaching is tough and if you're worried about what you see in everyone's eyes when they look at you then you won't cope.
    Have you specifically been told to do this? I wouldn't, personally, it's inevitably awful when someone pretends to be someone that they're not.
    Just for the sake of argument, could it be that what you see as 'quiet' presents to her as bored, apathetic or hostile? I quite introverted and unless I make an effort, this sometimes reverts to monosyllabic, bordering on rude when I'm tired.
  3. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    I tried to add something a bit more supportive but the edit button didn't work!
    I know that this is all really easy to say - I spend my entire training thinking that I was useless and couldn't hack it, and it took me a year or two to build up my confidence to the point where I thought that I was even vaguely competent or suited to teaching. Looking back, I can see that my biggest problem as a teacher WAS the lack of confidence.
    Either way, I really truly honestly wouldn't jack in anything that you want to do based on the opinion of one person. Nobody died and made her God.
  4. I don't think you're being fair on yourself. It's absolutely ok to be a bit quiet and shy to begin with, it's your first placement, you're nervous, it's a tough year ahead for you...etc. I do think that the people around can have a major influence on your confidence. I find that if I small talk and try to get friendly with the staff I feel a lot more comfortable. The staff actually scare me more than the kids !

    I agree with the above though, confidence can be a major barrier but really lack of confidence isn't a trait. You can be quiet but very confident. Confidence comes when you feel comfortable, and you get comfortable by just immersing yourself and doing it. Try not to put yourself down constantly, you're training so it's ok to have faults, and mistakes will happen. It's how you respond to mistakes that matters.

    Your mentor doesn't help, and I really don't think it's appropriate for her to act like that towards you. If it's just 'her face' as you say, have you tried a bit of small talk, getting to know her a bit better...it might be worth just telling her that you feel a bit nervous. I admitted to my teacher today that I was a bit nervous/quiet but he made me feel lots better ad he still tells me he feels nervous sometimes today after 12 years of teaching! I was a bit concerned he might have reservations about me but he seemed to understand exactly how I felt, which was nice to know.
  5. What amazing advice!
    I'm a student teacher too, and this has really encouraged me. Thank you!
  6. I am extraordinarily quiet and shy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I almost certainly have social anxiety. People who know me- especially those who don't know me well- are often shocked at the career path I have chosen.
    However, I hope it doesn't sound cocky to say, I am a bleeding good teacher! (Well, I've only just qualified so at least I'm a bleeding good teacher for my level of experience!)
    People have thought I'm rude or stuck up. It's horrible because I know I'm not like that at all but I'm just too scared to tell them that.
    Please don't pretend to be someone you're not. You can do well whilst being quiet so long as you're polite, professional and have an air of confidence whilst teaching. So long as you believe in yourself, that will show through in your teaching.
  7. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    Seriously? Aw cool - thank you [​IMG] I've been worried that someone will come and tell me off for being a bit harsh.
    I do think, though, that the answer is - to some extent - crack on with it and don't worry about what anyone else thinks unless they give you something specific to improve on. People's personal likes and dislikes aren't always rational and they don't impact on your teaching ability.
    I'm convinced that everyone in my placement schools thought that I was an utter weirdo (I also suffer from social anxiety, or else it was all that running around in circles and muttering to myself that I did!) and it wasn't pleasant at the time but now that I'm on the other side of it I love my job and I'm SO glad that I stuck it out.
    Another thing that I only thought of after I'd posted - actually if you are lacking in confidence in RL then the aspects of teaching training that teach you how to be effective and assertive in your interactions with people can help you with that. Admittedly it can sometimes mean that you revert to teacher-mode when arguing with your boyfriend, but overall I've found that to be a useful bit of general personal development.
    Good luck to the OP - it might be worth asking (if you can find someone a bit nicer and more sympathetic to ask!) if there are any quiet-but-effective teachers that you could observe whilst on placement? It might give you a better idea of how to use your personality in a way that works for you in the classroom if you're feeling unsure.

  8. I know how you feel to a certain extent.

    I completed my PGCE year last year. Whilst my teacher was never rude to me, she did seem disinterested. She was also deputy head, so she was very busy. From the second week I taught full time and had no PPA time. She was never there to talk to (one week I didn't so much as see her for four days), so the level of support I received was non-existant. I asked to meet with her to receive a reply meaning "I'm too busy". But I was allowed to text her. Yes, my support was via text message. I had teaching interviews three hours away to attend and this was highly frowned upon, they tried to tell me I couldn't go, but my uni disagreed and told them catagorically that I had the right to attend interviews. I had to "catch up on missed time" and complete 3 days in the school at the end of my PGCE. Once I'd already finished it, as the school insisted.
    I know I was seen as a very quiet, shy person by the entire school. But that really isn't the case- I was so busy in my class and trying to make my way through everything alone, that there just wasn't the time or energy to 'make friends' during break times. Luckily one of the other teacher's was just lovely and had her own student, so she was able to tell my tutor that I was "involved with school life".
    Please don't let one person make you doubt yourself. Trust me, I've been there- my placement was over three months long. Stick at it, if you enjoy the teaching aspect then it will be worth it. I'm an NQT now in a lovely school. I can't believe how supportive the staff are, it's a genuinely brilliant environment. I hope your next school is better for you :)
  9. Hi there, I am currently studying in my last year in Childhood Studies and hoping to go onto a PGCE course in Primary in September.. I have read these forums on shyness and being a quiet person, and realised that that is definately ME!! I've always hated that about me, so much. I feel like I have no confidence in me at all, i've always been like this ever since I can remember. I become really shy and unconfident and I am worried this will affect me in a really bad way next year when I start my course. How can i feel confident about myself? Any idea's?
  10. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    I'm still quiet when outside of my comfort zone. The first time I stood in front of a class I realised they were all looking at me.
    I was never particularly good in front of groups of people before going into teaching (going red, faltering speech etc.), but since I decided that was what I wanted to do, it was a matter of pushing and reminding myself that this is what I wanted to do, I knew what I was talking about and I was the teacher (There were definitely a fair few moments of "I'm just some t**t at the front", though).
    It's part acting, part bluffing, part arrogance - even if there's a voice in your head saying you're rubbish, remind yourself you're good at what you do. If you're not good at something, either practice or deflect it ("I'm only doing this quickly, you will be able to do a better job").
  11. I am an NQT and felt exactly like you do!! My mentor was a singing and drama leader in the school and hated the fact that i wasn't some kind of glorified blue peter presenter. In lesson obs she would write that i needed to be 'more animated'. I got really down about it because i couldn't change the way i was! ut as time goes on and you get over the nerves you start just becoming yourself more and more in your class. I was lucky enough to get a job and was completely intimidated by what i saw as the super confident outgoing other teachers at my school. ut the best advice anyone gave me was simply to be yourself. Its a cliche but its true- if you put on the blue peter act and thats just not you the kids will see through it immediately and you'll always feel like you're faking it. Remember the kids will have a lot of teachers between reception and year 6 and its good for them to experience different personalities. Last year they may have had miss energetic and super bubbly and this year they have miss calm, collected and unflustered. Next year they may have mr goofy, sporty and fun. Thats not to say i still don't have moments of extreme doubt in myself all the time too! It just helps to remember that teachers (like children) are people- and people come in all shapes, sizes and packages and there's nothing wrong with this!
  12. I'm always thinking to myself negative thoughts. I was so scared when I had to read to the whole class when I was in placement this year.. then i realised, would I really be able to do this all my life? I do line being in a classroom, its just that I get soo nervous, expecially when I'm around teachers..because I'm worried what they will think of me.. :(
  13. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    I can still feel like a twit walking into another department's staff room to hand over a book I'd found...that's after 3 years...
    But when it comes to other teachers, remember two things:
    Firstly, they're there to support you. When you're training they don't expect you to get it right, and will probably tell you that you did some things wrong. But equally, they're going to tell you how to do better next time.
    Secondly, they've been where you are (well, will be!). Teacher training is, perhaps, one of the great uniting aspects of the job we do. Even the best teachers will have felt a little awkward or got something wrong in their early years, and that's part of the reason that other teachers are usually so willing to help trainees.
  14. moose2

    moose2 New commenter

    I have been in your position 25years ago, I am still teaching and when the classroom door shuts am usually good. However, I have anxiety related sleep issues etc so think carefully about whether it is for you. I don't think you've given it long enough to be sure.
  15. Thanks for your advice & comments its all been really helpful.
    Just to say, I'm fairly sure my shyness is seen as apathetic/hostile/arrogant etc, so that's why I want to try and change. I find it very difficult not to be myself, which is probably why I have this problem, and equally find it difficult to be around people who put on a fake exterior. additionally, I'm nearly 30, not some baby faced 22 year old (although I am quite young looking!), but I do have experience of being in a professional environment, and plenty of experience being with people who think I'm weird/too quiet.

    Luckily, my mentor started smiling and being more at ease with me last week, so I feel a bit more comfortable in her presence. I think its the department to be honest, as I feel fine when I'm in other classes and no one else seems to have much of a problem with my quietness (although I suppose they aren't going to look bad when I fail ;)!) Although she's still giving me very little feedback/input and what she does give me focusses on my quietness which isn't helpful as she knows its an area I'm working on.

    Also, after being back at uni for a while, I've realised I'm much more together than a lot of the people on my course, which has really boosted my confidence.

    I know my quietness is a massive weakness, and teaching is always presented as a skill you either have or don't have, but I really think it is something that can be learned if you want to learn it badly enough.
  16. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    It's not - that's a fib. Don't be put off by it, lots of people (myself included) were dreadful trainees and are very decent teachers now. There is an element of finding your style and a 'persona' that works for you, but if the only successful teachers were the ones with natural aptitude who went in flying then the educational system of this country would be screwed.
    Not necessarily: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/the-benefits-of-being-an-introvert/all/1/
    My mentor on my second placement at PGCE was probably one of the best teachers I've ever seen and she was tiny, looked about twelve and was desperately quiet and shy in most scenarios. She wasn't ever loud or vivacious in front of her classes, either, but she WAS totally calm, totally confident in her position and absolutely firm about how she wanted things done. The students absolutely loved and respected her, and so did her department.
    Fwiw I think you sound really reflective and as though you have a great attitude towards your course, and as far as I'm aware reflectiveness and being receptive really are some of the most important attributes of any teacher.
    Glad that your mentor's thawing out a bit as well.
  17. GeeMarie

    GeeMarie New commenter

    I'm doing my GTP in History, and this is something that has been worrying me too.
    Everyone told me I'd make a great teacher, and after being a Teaching Assistant for 18 months and getting lots of experience from helpful colleagues, I thought I agreed with them.
    But I've been in meltdown since my second week almost. I don't feel like I'm good enough; I keep doing the same things wrong in lessons and even though I take on board the techniques and suggestions given by my mentor or colleagues I still don't seem to get it right. I keep getting mental blocks while planning, I find I can't eat or sleep properly because I'm so anxious. I had similar problems with being quiet and my mentor picked up on these- I've rectified that now, but in my head I still feel awful. I spend a lot of time with nervous stomach cramps or in tears.
    My teacher friends and family keep telling me it's normal- they all felt or still feel that way, as I get more experience my confidence will grow and I'll enjoy it.
    I'm worried I won't. I can't imagine giving up- I don't give up on things, I push through and do my best. But I'm terrified that the busier and harder this year gets, the more stressed I'll become, and what if my best isn't good enough? I'm worried that doing this as a career was maybe the wrong choice, but admitting that itself is hard.
    Sorry for the long essay. This thread has really struck a chord with me.
  18. I had my first lesson today in Year 2 and I can totally relate to some of these feelings. I've always thought of myself as a shy person, but really it's a lack of confidence. I really had no idea what to expect from myself as I've never really taken charge and I've always been a 'follower'. I actually surprised myself. Sure, things could have been better but I said what I needed to say to them and I wasn't afraid to have a go, which is the most important thing. There's always that moment when you need to raise your voice to the entire class and it is very daunting.

    I actually find that I am more scared of the adults observing me than the kids themselves. I really love working with the kids, but I know each and every thing I say will be heard by the adults and I'm scared that they'll think I'm a bad teacher.
  19. I also gave my first proper lessons today. They weren't great by any stretch of the imaginaton, but they weren't as horrific as i expected :)

    You are right, jenera, you don't know what you're capable of until you try.

    My throat hurts now ;)
  20. Georgia99

    Georgia99 New commenter

    I did my PGCE last year. My mentor at my first placement was a nightmare. She was the only teacher I was with and she would not communicate anything to me. She even disappeared from the classroom once when we were both in their together after school and I found out there was staff training which she had just gone to without even informing me.
    She even got to the point where she told me I would barely scrape satisfactory, she even shouted at me a couple of times and I phoned in sick because of her. I spent my entire first placement alone at break times, as I had not been introduced to anyone else and I can be a bit shy with people at first.
    My second placement was tons better, I had loads of support and I ended the PGCE with a grade of outstanding.
    Unfortunately lots of teachers are under so much pressure, they just see PGCE students as an extra thing to do and I think it then means that trainee teachers are neglected or sometimes treated unfairly. One thing that annoys me is when teachers can't switch off from teacher mode and also talk to PGCE students in this manner!! I have experienced this too many times when teachers almost forgot how to communicate with other adults.

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