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PGCE student dreading final placement

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by ellie_rose, May 2, 2011.

  1. ellie_rose

    ellie_rose New commenter

    Hi everyone,
    I'm a PGCE Primary student starting my final placement tomorrow and I'm feeling really worried and am almost dreading it. I feel like I started the course with bags of enthusiasm and motivation and I don't know where it's all gone. I was stuck in a job I hated before this course and couldn't wait to start teaching. I loved my first placement (in KS2) and passed with a really good report - I didn't want to leave at the end. I did a placement abroad and while it was really difficult because of language and cultural differences, I pushed myself through it and got another good report at the end. Somehow, between March and now, my motivation has really dipped.
    I've had a difficult start to my final placement. It is with a KS1 class and there has been a lot of tension as some staff have been made redundant and the school is currently going through a lot of changes. Teachers and support staff have discussed it in front of me and have said things like "I don't even know why we have a student, it's a bad time." In the staff room, I feel a bit unwelcome. I try to join in with conversations and appear friendly but most people don't want to know. One woman in particular would make loud comments about me to others and criticise me for being quiet which wasn't very nice. It's hard to be chatty when nobody will chat with you. My mentor is also very difficult and sometimes talks to me like I'm one of the children. She said she was shocked at my first report because something was ticked as 'satisfactory' and not 'good' and gave me a lecture about how she expects me to keep my files organised or she'll be monitoring me more than usual. I would have done all this anyway as I try to be a good student but she always seems to be looking out for negative things. I had loads of nice things written in my report but she didn't acknowledge any of that.
    I was nervous about my first day anyway as the behaviour is quite challenging and I will be teaching most of the morning. I have since found out my class teacher will be out all day so I'll be alone with a TA which I wasn't expecting. I would have liked the teacher's support and now I'm a bit worried about coping on my own with a class I don't really know.
    I'm feeling a bit down about it and sometimes even think about deferring the placement and hoping I get a better one next year. But this seems a bit silly as I'm not failing yet, I've worked so hard up to now and it's only another 7 weeks. I just don't know where I'm going to get the motivation from - thinking of all the planning, evaluations, assessment, observations etc. I also got rejected for a job I really wanted this week which doesn't help. Feeling a bit down in the dumps and can't really see the light at the end of the tunnel. Is it common to feel like this at the end of a PGCE?
  2. I hope things went well today. Try to focus on the children - after all they are the ones that count. Reflect back on your previous placment and remember some of those precious moments when a child gets something for the first time. This will happen on your final placement also - so look out for those times.
  3. lilykitty

    lilykitty New commenter

    In a way I think the teacher was right - this does seem like a bad time for a student to be placed in this school. But that's not your fault. The teachers around you are stressed, negative and critical. From a distance it is possible to feel sorry for them, but that's not how I would be feeling if I was in your position.
    My best advice would be to try not to take any of this personally. The problems at the school have nothing to do with you, and neither does the staff's attitude. I'm afraid you are going to get very little support from your mentor, so make sure you keep in touch with friends from your course.
    What's the TA like? If possible, work on your relationship with her/him. As James said, focus on the children - focus on doing your best for them and make sure you celebrate all your successes with them (whether they are acknowledged by anyone else or not). Do something concrete like keeping a journal where you write down 10 really good things which happen each day, however small. When you are doing the planning, assessment, etc. focus on how this is for the children (not for your mentor or anyone else). Once you have come to know the children, this will seem a lot easier.
    Keep posting, and good luck!

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