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PGCE Doubts

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by lea_g88, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. Hi everyone,
    I've recently been offered a place for a PGCE Primary with Early Years to start in September 2012 and decided to accept the offer. Since then, however, I've felt really nervous about starting and having doubts due to the amount of negative feedback about how intense and how hard the course is. I'm also worried about lesson planning as I do not have a clue how to go about doing it. Do they teach us at university how to do it? Or is it the school placement? And do we get told what the lesson is going to be about and the objective of the lesson or do we have to decide that? I'm really unsure as to how to plan and what to teach? I'm especially worried about that as I've heard that a lot of your time is spent planning so I'd like to be aware if whats expected of me or what level of knowledge I should be at if possible before I start to ensure I don't get left behind.
    I've also heard that the course is so hard because you constantly have things to do. I'm quite an organised person so is it a case of keeping on top of things and time management? I don't particularly deal well with stress either.
    I would really appreciate some advice from someone who has completed a PGCE or is in the process of doing so as I'm panicking quite a lot about it know and whether or not I am cut out for dealing with something so stressful. I really want to teach but I'm just so unsure about what they're expecting from us from the start. And if possible I'd like to get a head start and be organised in any area possible to reduce that stress.
    Thank you in advance,
  2. Rest assured that all PGCE courses will go through lectures on lesson planning and probably will do so in a lot of depth. I would imagine you would have a few weeks at the uni going through the essentials before you are even 'let loose' in a classroom and then a day a week or so might be set aside for lectures or block weeks of lectures.
    From my own experiences, I spent a number of weeks observing lessons/'playing TA' before I began teaching and then when I did, my mentor gave me topics out of one lesson to plan and teach and we built it up from there. The PGCE doesn't drop students into the deepend like the GTP does.
    If you want a head start, it might be worth asking the course director/secretary for the reading list of the first module so you can read about lesson planning and the basics.
  3. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    Universities will spend a couple of weeks giving you a grounding in how teaching works, with all the various theories behind education.
    In the first few week at a school, as has been pointed out, you'll mostly be watching or assisting lessons, where you'll get to see the basic structure of a lesson and what the job actually involves (some may start a lesson with questions, others with an activity...etc.). Meanwhile, your university may ask you to teach something to your fellow students to get you to begin to understand what you need to do when you're the adult at the front of the room (Mentally shouting to yourself: I am the teacher! I belong here!).
    Likewise, your mentor in school will start asking you to plan parts of lessons (20 minutes, for example) with their support/guidance and then build you up from there until you're doing a full lesson by yourself.
  4. I would be lying to you if I said you get gradually eased into it, you do get pushed into the deep end. That doesn't mean to say you get thrown into school with little input on planning. What I will say though is, sometimes planning is just one of those things you just have to 'get your head around'. It's alright being told to 'take this objective, do this activity', but then what happens if you get put in a FS/KS1 class with 4 years' range of abilities? That one objective suddenly becomes four or five (Yes I say this from experience).

    You are actually thinking the same way as me about a year ago. In fact this time last year I was in the interview room (almost to the day). I did read a lot about the stress and I will say to you that the stress IS as bad as I expected it to be. But you do ease into it, and you have to allow yourself to. It is incredibly rewarding though and I've been on my second placement for 3 weeks with 2 weeks to go and I have learnt so much. The main thing I have learned is that you just have to allow yourself to learn, and if that means following in the footsteps of other teachers then do it.

    Best thing you can do right now is not to worry, you're very lucky to have this opportunity. Be ready for some hard work, but be ready to smile every day as well. Be ready to be efficient with planning and to find shortcuts to avoid mental illness from overworking. Be ready to stock up on lemsips and stickers. Be ready to reflect reflect reflect reflect and best advice is to NOT TAKE ANYTHING TOO PERSONALLY and allow yourself to learn. Best of luck to you.

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