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Officially quite terrified

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Adam1985, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. OK, so I am about to start a GTP (English).

    It's at a good school - I really loved the place when I went to interview. The staff all seem very supportive, kids are generally great, lots of fun extra-curricular stuff, etc.

    I'm looking forward to it.

    Except, as the title suggests, I'm also pretty scared about what my life will look like.

    I have worked hard before, but from what everyone says this is just going to be a whole different level (or ten levels!)

    That's fine, but I have friendships (and a relationship) that I want to maintain - plus I am moving about 30-40 mins further away from them all as it is.

    So I have some questions that people who have gone before me might hopefully be able to answer:

    1. Evenings - will I ever get to see my friends? (One night a week? Two? Or literally not at all?)

    2. Weekends? (A full day?)

    3. Holidays?

    Any thoughts more than welcome! Be brutally honest btw, don't sugar-coat it...
  2. That was all beautifully formatted, but my Mac killed it - sorry!
  3. ammonia

    ammonia New commenter

    I am feeling exactly the same way Adam - I think most of us are, so chin up :)
    I know two people who've done the GTP before, and I voiced the same fears to them that you just mentioned. They said: yes, it's hard work, but as long as you're organised and efficient, it's not too bad. When I said I'd heard horror stories about not having any life, they both raised their eyebrows and disagreed. So that was reassuring
    I think as long as we stay focused on the specific goals and requirements, and try to block out other unnecessary 'noise', we should be fine. By which I mean, approach most of your lessons, observations etc. with the 33 standards in mind, and with a view to gathering specific evidence at all stages. My plan (which may well fail!) is to aim to gather around 5 pieces of evidence per week, which should hopefully mean my standards files will be complete by the end of the second term, leaving the more intensive 3rd term free for me to plan and teach.
    But I too would love to hear from past GTP-ers who have any other advice!
  4. I am just the same, althouh Primary GTP not Secondary and like the other person who has replied to you I plan to collect as much evidence as possible early on and aim to keep standards in mind when planning lessons and to make everthing possible count. I have 4 kids under 13 and am equally concerned about work/life balance and surviving this year (and my husband surviving his extra workload given that he is going to need to step up a bit!!) without completely abandonding my family, and I know my Head Teacher wants plenty of extras from me to because there is no one to replace me as I am in the same school where I have been HLTA. So I await any more replies you get to this thread with interest.
    Good Luck!

  5. I seem unable to spell in my last post! Apologies!
  6. This could have quite easily been written by me: same subject, also a good school... also becoming very scared. I have never been nervous about starting a new job before (and god knows I've had enough of them!) but I can't stop worrying about it! I hope people can reassure us :)
  7. I'm in the same position. Someone told me to enjoy this summer as it may well be my last holiday for the years to come! I thought one of the reasons for many people to choose the teaching career could be the holidays. I have two children, they all involve in various afterschool clubs and activities, and I have no idea whether I could take them to these in the new term. How will I ever remember all 33 standards and what evidences to collect? Are we suppose to do the reading bit (long reading list) at evenings and weekend? NQT year doesn't sound any easier. I understand it is rather a personal experiences, but just one look at the huge box of folders collected by an ex-GTP sent me to depression!
  8. Your EBITT should give you a list of what to collect.
    To be honest I only did the reading needed for my assignments.
    It's 5 years since I did my GTP now and honestly it wasn't that bad. I'm not a particularly stressed person though so perhaps it helped that I had that sense of perspective. You will have holidays, I certainly went away for 2 weeks in the summer with several weekend breaks and half term short breaks as well. Seeing friends in the week is more problematic, it really does depend how organised you are. If your marking is up to date, planning etc then I can't see too much of an issue but in the beginning you'll feel overwhelmed. Don't panic, GTP is a fantastic training scheme which really sets you up for life as a teacher. 5 years on I've been promoted, even had a spell as acting assistant headteacher and am currently on sabbatical as a university lecturer. My NQT year was an absolute doddle because I'd done GTP.
    Relax, it's not that bad!
  9. terri1972

    terri1972 New commenter

    Hi there. I am just about to start my NQT year after completing the GTP in June.
    My main points to tell you would be:
    1. You do still have a life! The GTP is hard work. I found that there were times when I was doing fine, felt on top of things etc...then BAM! Assignments due in, marking, evidence, observations - it all felt on top of ME!! But, stay strong, tell yourself you can do it, and you will!
    2. You will find that some of the Qs you can't get good evidence for until later on. I found the assessment Qs quite difficult to get outstanding evidence for until the 3rd term when I was analysing results.
    3. Time management!! (Not my strongest point!! lol) Try to get your marking done in school, so that you can use your time at home to do your planning and complete all your lesson evaluations etc. Keep on top of your assignments ;0)
    4. Enjoy your second school placement. I was petrified but absolutely loved it, it is a great opportunity to pick up good tips and work with different people.
    5. Enjoy yourself. The GTP involves a lot of work, but it gives you a real opportunity to get really involved in the whole of school life. I think you have to give 100%, but you can still have a life. I have a fiance and two teenagers and we made it in one piece!! (Although I have to say that the commitment and support they gave me was amazing!)
    Hope that sets your mind at rest!! It can be scary, especially at the beginning, and I don't think you ever get used to observations (and I had 33 of them!), but it really is a worthwhile experience. [​IMG]
  10. Thank you to everyone who has replied - both those in the same boat and those who have safely made it to shore already! I'm preparing myself to work as efficiently as possible, rather than spending double the time working half as effectively (which is, to be honest, how I have tended to be in the past).

    On a slightly separate - but still GTP-related - note, could someone please explain this concept of 'evidence' please? I can broadly imagine what it is, but I don't know much about the GTP to be honest and could do with a run-down on some of this stuff. Is there a site that breaks it down clearly?

    [The reason I don't know much about it is that I didn't really apply for a GTP per se, I applied quite recently for a job at a (private) school and am going to do the GTP while working there.]
  11. I have just finished my NQT year following a GTP. I agree I didn't find the NQT year too bad, as the GTP was excellent preparation. My evidence came in the form of a weekly reflective commentary. In one column were the targets I had agreed with my mentor, in the next column I wrote what I had learnt and in the last column I put in where I felt I had met or made significant steps towards a particular standard (there were 33 of these - you can find them on the TDA website). So for example one of my targets might have been something like focus on my plenaries during maths lessons to ensure I am taking their learning forward and leaving enough time to review etc (which would have been a target as a result of a lesson obs where it was highlighted as an area for improvement). I would ask my mentor to focus on this during a lesson observation and then write up what I felt I had learnt in my teaching and what the mentor had said in her obs etc. I would then write the relevant standards. In my partnership we then uploaded this and it would show me a nifty graph which could tell me which standards I had loads of evidence for and which I didn't, but yours might not show this. You might need to keep your evidence (like copies of lesson observations, notes of meetings with people, copies of lesson plans, notes from meetings/courses you go on etc) and manually link to standards, but the idea is the same.
    I did the GTP whilst having young children so had to be very organised. I made a decision to have one work free day a week (Sunday) and stuck to this so I felt I have some work life balance and my family did too. It was hard, but doable. I helped my work balance in the term time, by doing my assignments well ahead in the holidays, so I never had to attempt to write one during the term time and this is the biggest tip I would pass on. I was less stressed than those trying to research and write assigments whilst planning, teaching and marking.
    I absolutely loved it and also loved my NQT year, so enjoy it! It is hard work, but great.

  12. terri1972

    terri1972 New commenter

    Hello again!
    Well, we had to provide 3-5 pieces of evidence to show that we had met each standard. Each piece of evidence could be used 3 times. Sounds confusing! So, if I had an observation which gave me, for example, outstanding for, say, 9 Q standards; I would pick the standards I needed evidence for. I might look at my list and say, I need outstanding evidence for Q1, Q5 and Q19, and use that observation as evidence for those standards.
    You can use observations, witness statements, artefacts (photos, plans etc), and evidence of using training as pieces of evidence. This will all be explained by your provider - I'm surprised it hasn't yet! I hope I am making some sense!!
    Won't ramble on any more, had a couple of beers while I still can!! PM me if you need any more advice, but it will all become clear on your training days I'm sure. x
  13. Thanks for the detailed replies, everyone! I appreciate them.

    One other question... I think I'll be taking on a full timetable in January, but have been told the GTP can start at any of a number of points throughout the year. I assume that means during any of the three terms... is that true?
  14. I did my GTP january-dec and there were september and easter cohorts too.
  15. terri1972

    terri1972 New commenter

    Yes, it must be three terms unless you have substantial teaching experience, when I believe a case can be made for reduced time.
    In my case, most of us started with a 40% teaching timetable in the first term, 60% in the second and 80% (equivalent to an NQT) in the 3rd term. Of course this isn't always the case, but it was nice to be able to work up to the 80%!!

  16. HI
    I have another question for those who have completed the GTP. I've seen people write things like 'I passed my GTP with Outstanding' or 'if you need another piece of outsanding evidence'... so am I right to assume that as well as getting QTS from the course, you are also 'graded' on how well you have done? If so, how difficult is it to pass with outstanding? (I.e. does every piece of evidence have to be outstanding, or the majority, or...?) I wasn't aware that it worked in that way.
    Thanks, scobberlotcher
  17. I am also about to start my GTP year, I am really looking forward to it but also slightly nervous as I don't know what to expect. My plan is to plan well and get my head down at school to ensure that I can still have a life. From speaking to friends who completed a PGCE and a GTP it sounds as though the GTP is a better course for experience and less paperwork which is reassuring.
    I understand that at the end of the year you are graded, outstanding is the highest grade to get obviously and this is based on your folders and observations. My support team seem amazing, everyone wants you to do well and it is a completely different atmosphere to my previous job of recruitment where everyone is in competition. It is my mentors/EBITT job to help and advise me so I plan on using them well within reason.
    Good luck to other GTPs, I hope you enjoy the year.

  18. Hi,
    You just need to be disciplined with yourself. Get on with what you have to do straight away and don't put anything off til tomorrow. Have just finished my primary successfully. We got a lot of work piled on at the beginning, but just take it a bit at a time, and keep going. You don't have to be a perfectionist, it just has to be "good enough". It's like teaching, it never finishes, you are always learning.
    I have three young children and don't get out much in the evenings due to family committments, but I knew girls on the course who went out in the evenings, not every night though and we did all work weekends in our 80% block. We even had one lady who had two weeks off at Easter to have her baby and came back for her 80% and still passed!! It isn't that impossible, but it is more intensive than an undergraduate degree and you have to get your head down.
    I moved house three weeks into the course (all the family obviously) and then my father died so it was a rocky road, but if I can manage it, so can you!!!!
  19. GTPs are graded according to OFSTED grading of teachers. I was told what I got, but it is not on my certificate and it's only really of use to the Uni where you are for their stats.
  20. Hi everyone :)

    I'm starting my GTP next week in secondary psychology and health and social care. It's nice to know that other people are as terrified as I am!
    My coordinators and GTP organisers are fantastic as we've already had 2 pre-programme workshops to explain how things will work next year and the other student teachers are really lovely.
    In regards to evidence, we have an EBITT training plan we fill in each week which is divided into the 33 standards; under each standard we write what we are doing/have done to meet that standard and then pick 3-5 of those things to write short reports on which makes up our evidence.
    I am starting on a 60% timetable and then going to an 80% timetable from January, however our coordinators say they don't expect us to be teaching all our timetabled lessons fully until after October half term (I.e. Until then we will be observing lessons, team teaching, delivering starters and/or plenaries etc. but not the whole lessons).
    We were told at our pre-programme workshops that the organisers of the GTP understand how stressful it can be so they try to take as much pressure off as possible, which is making me feel better about the next year.
    Please reply if any of the above doesn't make sense, I've only just managed to understand it myself so might not have explained myself clearly :S

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