1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

PGCE work-life balance

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by vickb84, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. vickb84

    vickb84 New commenter


    All year I've been really struggling with the workload of my PGCE (secondary). I know this is very common, but it's getting to the point where I'm not getting enough sleep (I work until11/12pm on week nights) and still work two full days during the weekends. I'm literally working myself into the ground and wondering if I should carry on with teaching. I don't think my subject (a humanities subject, meaning its very heavily resource based and the marking takes forever) helps, but I still think I can improve on my time management. Does anyone who's doing/done a PGCE (particularly a humanities subject) have any tips? On average how long does it take you to plan each lesson, and still make it good?

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. SilverMayFall

    SilverMayFall New commenter


    I'm an NQT and a couple of months after the start of my PGCE year made myself, for my own sanity, put in place cut off time in the evening. As an NQT I still pretty much work to the same schedule and it works for me as a person in their late 20s with no children.

    So here is my 2p.

    1. My first piece of advise would be, if possible, to stay at school to get work done. I must say though I know people who wouldn't advise this! BUT I found I got more done than at home (I honestly procrastinated loads at home - due to this would be up until 12/1am because I watched 2 hours of Netflix after dinner and sat scrolling through my mobile phone).

    2. Pick a cut off time and stick to it, for me it was 6.30pm at which time I would drive home and get back at about 7pm. This gave me a whole about 3 and a half hours to myself, to cook, shower, eat, maybe do a bit of housework, do a bit of reading for pleasure/sometimes for my masters or a bit of T.V. before bed at 10.30pm. You need time for yourself! Bringing me on to my next point.

    3. SLEEP. Sleeping is so important can not stress this enough. Go to bed at a reasonable hour, it also enhances mood. I'm always in a much better mood when I have had 7/8 hours rather than 5/6. Being well rested and in a good mood will improve how you see the world around you and how you deal with it.

    4. OK Next - Stick to your cut off point by prioritizing what work NEEDS to be done asap e.g. for tomorrow then if you still have time the next day etc etc.

    5. Stick to your cut off point even if you feel like the lesson you planned isn't perfect (even after hours of getting it and the resources together). Sometimes you have just got to put something together and go and teach it because as a trainee (and even myself as an NQT) you can spend hours planning but really don't know how it will go until you do it.

    At the start of my PGCE I didn't spend more than 1 and half amount of the time it would take to deliver it e.g. 1 hour lesson no longer than 1 and a half hours planning it. Now as an NQT I try very hard not to spend more than 3/4 of the time I would take delivering it to plan it e.g. 45 minutes to plan 1 hour.

    Lastly, it is really important that you are honest with yourself about how your lessons go. I've had lessons this year that I've thrown together in 20 minutes in a mad panic because I wanted to stick to my cut off point at 6.30pm that have gone really well. I've also had lesson that I've spent 1 hour plus planning that have gone absolutely horrendously! I just keep an open mind to remember how I can improve that portion of teaching next time I have to do it.

    Good luck!
  3. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    I know it will sound trite to say that it does get easier but it does. A lot de[pends upon what planning has already happened in your placement schools so don't be afraid of asking for help,
    Focus on the key aspects of lesson planning--What do you want the pupils to do and what will they learn in this lesson/segment? The marking can also get easier with experience. Don't over mark provide short feedback and also utilise other methods such as group discussion and peer marking.
    Summer term is a short one!
    alvu29 likes this.
  4. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Try to involve group activities where the students are exploring the learning objectives themselves. Poster work or whatever. This will show that they have progressed (hopefully) and will mean less work for you.
    Remember the lesson should be 80% students working and 20% teacher working. I had screams when I told the students that one.
    Beg steal or borrow resources from TES.
    remember you will be able to re-use the resources next year and it will be so much easier.
    See if you can get study guides for your subject.
    alvu29 likes this.
  5. aliceinwunderland

    aliceinwunderland New commenter

    You should join the the exodus of teachers quitting and the continuing poor recruit of trainees. You have teachers much more experienced than you continuing to leave from NQT to HOD to SLT. So its probably never going to get much better. Especially with more and more leaving, the ones that are left will be worked to the bone.

    So I wouldn't have too much hope to be honest
  6. vickb84

    vickb84 New commenter

    Thank you SilverMayFall, welshwizard and saluki for your replies :) Some really useful points and will try to make a cut-off time so I can have a bit of time to myself. My mentor at my new school is very demanding and not approachable at all, which is making things even harder. I just can't wait for my PGCE to be over!
    Juliet6079 likes this.

Share This Page