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PGCE stay or go

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Coffeeiskey, Jun 24, 2020.

  1. Coffeeiskey

    Coffeeiskey New commenter

    PGCE experience sadly not what I hoped for...uni side of things in no way helped me prep for being in a class (went over subject knowledge that really could have been set as reading).
    Failed first placement towards the end (after being cause for concern but I was improving). To try to encapsulate - I am aware I was making blunders, through lack of class experience, lack of uni providing any guidance as to support expectations, and naive expectations that my mentor would fill me in when needed (basically never happened until lessons were failing). I was meant to have worked out the system from floating support and being responsible for pritt sticking worksheets in. I don't feel I ever fitted in, and never felt mentor was anything more than lip service friendly when needed.
    First week asking for help with a lesson idea: "I'll have to put you down as struggling". So zipped up until I had to miss an essay deadline...HT became aware, mentor became aware (realised I had not been given many of the materials, HT said she was aware of how mentor could "appear"). It just went downhill, I could barely keep head above water (up at 6, working til 1).
    Conflicting support "you should ask" "you need to work this out yourself". Teaching I witnessed was not modelled as to how I should do it. Advice and feedback became so contradictory I had to keep notes to prove I wasn't going mad. And it blew up at the end, I mean ridiculously so. Again aware of my struggles as a student but also aware I have drawn the short straw (compared with peers' experiences).
    I am scarred by it - I had a dream again about the HT kicking off. A woman on TV looked like my mentor and I started tearing up. It's just in my head all. the. time. And it's months ago.
    I'm getting older, would be looking to start a career from scratch having worked in a finance customer service role and trainer for most of the time (travelled and trained as a therapist initially). I cannot decide whether to keep going. I met the new class/ teacher who are both lovely, but likely to change due to covid now. I have to move 2 hours away for it come September to finish. All the advice on the internet - don't/ go with your gut; It does/n't get better; teaching is/n't worth it.
    Launch myself into the abyss of not knowing my next feasible career move or move towns and hope I can improve with more awareness of the expectations and hopefully a kinder, more reasonable mentor?
    Anyone who can clarify the right move I'll have to buy you something!
  2. littleme28

    littleme28 New commenter

    To clarify, did you fail your first placement, and are now thinking of starting again come Sept?
  3. Coffeeiskey

    Coffeeiskey New commenter

    they failed me on the last day, the uni was offering to have a slightly extended 2nd one, but it now has to happen in September, but not redo the whole year.
  4. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    This sounds awful. I supported students and mentored, and I'd never have failed someone or said they were 'struggling' for asking for help! Are you in a union-students teachers should be (it used to be free, not sure if it is now). I'd say ask them, and your college mentor, first.
  5. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    You were judged as not on trajectory. The DFE are paying you £1300 a month take home (a teacher's salary) to do an extra placement of half a term or if needed a whole term. All funded. You will pass this for sure. Lots were not on trajectory. Better you aren’t launched into an NQT year if you wouldn’t cope. For a range of reasons and I accept your arguments, you were not on trajectory. Not doing it would be a very unwise decision. The DFE are pumping money into making sure you all pass and are funded. They need the teachers.
    However, for whatever reason - you find your provider's model unsuitable for you. This means you need to spend this time really mugging up. Make sure you know your SSP from your retrieval. Get on Twitter and really bone up on your own CPD. You will pass, but you do need to ensure that you make up for the gaps in your provider's model whatever you think.
    MathMan1 likes this.
  6. musicteacher2018

    musicteacher2018 New commenter

    I had a terrible experience in one of my PGCE placements. I started the year well, and loved my first school. I was being graded as outstanding at Christmas, and was supposed to move to another school in January. The uni couldn't find me a placement that did A Level, so this was delayed until February half term. They managed to get me a place at another school then, where they already had a trainee in my subject (very rare in music!), and very clearly didn't want me. They told me on my first day that I needed to write a Scheme of Work on a topic I didn't know, and had to have it done by the end of the week, without showing me how to do it. They constantly criticised me for everything, and made me feel paranoid. I didn't want to have my mentor meeting with another trainee, as I wanted to discuss things in private, and this was completely unacceptable. After a lot of other stuff that I don't want to get into on here for privacy reasons, they called my uni and told them that they wanted to end my placement. They said that I was unprofessional and had shared private information (completely untrue!).

    I had to go through a suitability panel through the uni, and had to provide a statement and a load of evidence. I got a letter from a mental health professional, as well as statements from my previous placement and lots of other details, and the school didn't have a leg to stand on. The uni decided that I was going to be allowed to continue the year, and I went back to my first school. Because of the time the suitability process took, I had to extend my PGCE by two weeks, so started my NQT in mid-July, rather than the start of July. I've now passed my NQT and am looking forward to starting in my RQT role!!

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, you can do this! The way they treated you was not acceptable, but I'm presuming that you'll be at a completely new school in September. You will have learned a lot about how not to teach from your experience, so I would say go for it. You'll be amazed at how much difference a supportive mentor makes! Good luck x
    Coffeeiskey likes this.
  7. Coffeeiskey

    Coffeeiskey New commenter

    Thanks, it really is the paranoia it's left me with! I'm glad you had that first positive experience to push you forward. I can only assume that because my uni is giving me another chance, they have accepted some of my viewpoint as to why it unravelled.

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