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PGCE strained

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by smbx, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. I started my PGCE in September and up until this month it all went fine. My assignments and placement, all went well.
    Then I started my second placement in a open plan school with 100 min lessons and really poor behaviour and from there it went downhill. I don't know if it is the school or the teaching but I feel generally worn out and had to get time off. It didn't help that my last observation by the uni tutor was a disaster. I was literally crucified and not given a chance to speak. I think it just triggered further the stress that had been building up in me, the lack of sleep and the feeling of constantly being on the edge having to step toe with the school teachers that don't work well together in the first place. My mentor at school is inexperienced with trainee teachers,but I feel I am the only one having to work out things to make it work,the uni won't take my side or even try and listen. Instead they have given me new targets and even more to do to prove I am worthy. I just lost faith and don't know where to start to give an amazing lesson that will wipe the slate clean and let me restore my place for good on the course (I am on 'remediation'). I feel all the paperwork for uni that goes beside the lesson plans and resources for the classes is just a lot of doodle, and it only make sense if you believe in it, ie you have this mysterious inner voice that tells you 'you are a good person,you are doing something amazing here, let's tick this Q standard indicator since you believe in your heart that you have met it'. I have become cynical about it and wonder what the worth it is to put myself through this course - well it is worth a job at the end of it I know,but what kind of a job if it is to be treated like I am at the moment,made to feel incompetent even though I know I work wonders and really hard and only had a bad day that happened to be my observation day. Anyway,I was only going to ask if it was a good idea to leave the course for now and take it again next year? do you know of anyone who had done it?
  2. WHAT? Are you mental? No. You are absolutely at the hardest point in the year. That is why a holiday is scheduled. Take your holiday and spend AT LEAST a week relaxing. I mean it.
    To be honest, I feel the same and have been teaching for ten years. No. You have probably got things completely out of proportion and I fully understand why you feel rubbish. A PGCE is very, very tough, but as well as that, at this time of the year most experienced teachers are also ready to drop. Your school also sounds like a nightmare for a beginning teacher. It would make my levels of paranoia quite high now!
    Do your PGCE if you have to crawl your way through it. It really will get better. I know the university are making you leap through hoops that you may consider to be pointless, but just do it, pathetically like a tame seal. You have only about 6 teaching weeks left until you finish your PGCE, you would really regret it if you drop out, so just grit your teeth and get through it.
    And a bright thought for your day: if you were really ****, you would have dropped out before Christmas. Come on, you can do it!

  3. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    .. and resurrected too?

    Last year, sometime around now, I spent an hour calming down our ITT. She was running out of time on an assignment, had had a comment from her mentor about planning further ahead, it was all getting on top of her, and she was on the point of quitting. I helped her get her head straight and resources ready for the rest of the day, and had a word with someone else before going home (I was part-time): I expect they put in some encouragement later on. She got through the day, and things began to seem better. The next week, she got an invitation to interview: if it had arrived a week earlier, I don't think she'd have gone, but she got the job.
    Now is probably the hardest time: use the Easter break to recharge. And find someone who can give you some support and encouragement - it ought to be your school/uni mentor, but if they're not helpful, seek out another friendly face.
    If the school really can't provide the support you need, talk to the uni. I think I have heard of people doing a third placement in the autumn - although then you end up qualifying at a different time of year.
  4. I agree with above advice. PGCEs are very tough, even when you have great schools and great mentors/teachers. If you don't have those things it's even harder, but you have made it this far - just a few more weeks and you'll be there and can move on to a better school.
    Believe me, experienced teachers often feel this way too. When I started at a new school last year, for the first 2 terms I just wanted to quit teaching and never go back, because even starting t a new school as an experienced teacher is tough and draining.
    It is very clear from your post that you do want to to be a teacher, and if you had a successful placement before there is no reason why you can't make it out the other end.
    Some practical advice:
    • You MUST use the Easter break to relax and recharge. This is an absolute must! You need some time off doing NO schoolwork whatsoever.
    • Stay organised with paperwork.
    • Seek out someone to talk to, be it another trainee teacher, someone at school, tutor at uni, friends or family.
    • Ask for the support you need. Very few people take to teaching with no issues - ask for help with behaviour, planning, whatever it is that you need. It's the school's and uni's job to provide this and if they don't they will need to explain why they didn't give you the support you needed if you don't pass.
    • Stay positive - I know this is hard, I find it harder than anyone, but being positive will help. The weather and longer days should help with this.
    • Remember - it's only a few more weeks then you will be qualified, and when you're a qualified teacher, there is still pressure but you have much more freedom to do things how YOU want to without someone breathing down your neck all the time.
    Hope that helps - feel free to post for more guidance if needed.
  5. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    22 years later and HoD ................. these holidays are the MOST VALUABLE and I always make sure I get at least 10 days work-free: it has been manic since Christmas and I have a mere 4 weeks left with y11 before their exams, during which I will be flat out after school every day reassuring them and uploading home revision links.
    This is the hardest part of the year - if you can make it to July, you can survive everything, especially in NQT year when every move you make is scrutinised!

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