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PGCE workload

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by CharlotteBickerton, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    Right... My story... Currently studying English Lit and Lang in Education at the University of Birmingham. Always wanted to be a teacher- love kids, have over and above the necessary work experience. Putting in for PGCE in September and hoping for Newman Uni in Bartley Green, Bham.
    I have been reading (already!) the TES threads and its completely freaked me out. I've never thought of doing anything but teaching and maybe that's my problem- I'm now wandering if I have what it takes to complete the PGCE. All anyone seems to say on these forums is what hard work it is- now don't get me wrong I knew it wouldn't just be an added year of Uni.
    But I was not expecting what many are complaining about on here!!
    I was expecting what my Mom said she did 20 years ago at Newman herself: 6 weeks Uni 9-5, a few hours work on a Sunday. Then placement in a school about an hour away (maybe more or less) and there from 8-4.30 each day, home for 6ish, dinner and then work through til 9pm. The rest of the evening (what's left of it!) off to relax or whatever. Then during placement work all day Saturday and a few hours Sunday. Then back to Uni for 6 weeks and 6 weeks more placement.
    She said I'd be ok to continue working in my Dad's jewellery shop when at Uni for 8 hours a week on a Saturday and maybe not during placement.
    This all seemed ok. Up at 6am, home at 6pm, work through til 9. Its only 18 weeks of placement usually anyway and that all seemed ok.
    My basic question (and I'm sorry for rambling) is whether this is an overly optimistic view of PGCE year? Am I going to be shocked when I get to the PGCE year by the sheer amount of work?
    I have gone straight to Uni from college so no time off to work. I understand people may think this is going to be an issue but I have worked several places part time (since I was 13!) and so I'm not afraid of hard work.
    I'd like to think the PGCE didn't completely eat up all your free time. Will I be able to have a few evenings off a week?
    I'd really appreciate some responses- I am such a worrier!!

    P.S. Sorry for any spelling mistakes, am on my blackberry on a break at work-the type is tiny and I have a banging headache!!
  2. Hi Charlotte
    I'm currently working at the University of Birmingham and will be leaving at the end of August to take up an English PGCE at Wolverhampton.
    Would be happy to meet on campus for a chat if that would help. I can see you on the email system. I'll send you an email to your work address.
    Kind regards
  3. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    From other threads around here, many PGCEers and NQTs have been talking about a 50+ hour week. You've given yourself about 42 at school, and you say you'll work a couple of hours a night, and all day Saturday. That definitely takes you into 50+!

    In university time, unless you need the finances, I would forego the Saturday job: use the time to work on your assignments or simply to relax, bearing in mind that you'll be a lot busier during your placements.

    I think you've got quite a realistic idea of the amount of work the PGCE will entail, and you've prepared yourself. The only thing you may have to steel yourself for is the prospect of a placement that's more than an hour away, but I think you should just wait and see.

    I did something similar to you before and during my PGCE (and NQT) year - I'd read all the horror stories and think "that's going to be me one day!". I'm not 'established' here, but I think that this place has a disproportionate number of people who are facing difficulties and come here in search of support. Not that many people come here to start a thread about how it's all going well! Please don't let the imbalance on these forums put you off.

    Your main worry seems to be the workload, but you've already 'budgeted' for what most people here say they are doing. I think your expectations are realistic, and wish you good luck for September.
  4. Thank you very much, and Annie thank you too for emailing me!

    I am feeling much better today- I have been reading far too much on here and worrying into all hours of the night about the fact I will get no time with my family or boyfriend.

    My Mom says a lot of people make work for themselves- there are plenty of good resources out there and if you're creative with your lesson plans and perhaps make your own resources if there aren't any good enough out there then it shouldn't take too long.

    I suspect the people on here are having a tough time of it and so like to come on here to talk about their problems. I always knew it wouldn't be a walk in the park but I WILL NOT be living my life as some on here seem to be. I will not be up until the small ours of the morning whenever I am on placement. I'm quite an organised person and I think that lots of people just need to understand that enough is enough sometimes.

    Yes you may not have the most amazingly decorated resources but it doesn't make you a bad teacher. That's what I figure anyway...

    An hour and a half's drive wouldn't put me off- I would leave early anyway to spend time setting up. I would try not to stay too late at night at school (leave as soon as I could each day) simply so I was at home doing the work rather than there... I think I would get more done here anyway with my Mom's help etc.

    Arndyce - sounds like you've done your PGCE already?? Am I right in thinking that if I work through my lunch break and at home each night except on the weekend and then all day Saturday that I will get everything done?? What was the most difficult part for you? I'm not afraid of working hard, I am more afraid of my life becoming the PGCE... I want to be able to go out to the cinema once a week and spend an hour with the bf a night (we live together so it makes it easier). Is this possible?

    Thanks already for your advice- put my mind at rest already!!
  5. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    I've just done my NQT year. As I said, I think your "time-budgeting" is completely sensible. I think it's important to have one night off a week, and I'm sure most of us have a more relaxed evening before the day in which we have the fewest lessons to teach. It's really good that you're prepared to work a full day Saturday. As for having one free hour a weeknight with the bf...definitely!! You should always have a little while to unwind during the day.

    The thing is, if I were talking about the PGCE to most people outside of teaching, I would say that it did take over my life - because, compared to a 9-5 job, it does! Realistically - no. Even at the busiest of times, I must have spent at least an hour a night on things like cooking, popping to the shops, watching a little TV, dossing on the internet...whatever.

    The hardest part for me wasn't the hours to put in, it was classroom confidence and being assertive enough (I had a bit of a crash halfway through my last placement) - which isn't something that I've ever faced as an NQT.
  6. I'm a little scared about always having something to do. I find it really hard to get motivated to start stuff, so I'm hoping that the constant stream of work means that once I get off my butt and get started in September, I'll just trundle right through to the end of the year. But I'm really worried that I'll face that epic struggle to just get started on my essays / lesson plans with every single piece of work all year. Does anybody relate to this? Seems like most people I know are more conscientious than me.
  7. I know exactly what you mean, especially coming straight from Uni and having all those leisurely lie ins! Spending 12 hours a day out of the house is daunting, and then getting back and having to work too is simply terrifying. I think I'm quite a lazy person, I find it hard to motivate myself and I know I will constantly struggle to keep going.

    But I look at it like this: if a placement is 6 weeks that's actually only 30 days in school. 30 early mornings and 30 working evenings doesn't seem so daunting.

    The assessments I'm going to try to do during Uni time which everyone says is generally 9-5 each day. I think that I will have to push myself to not drop behind but I think with lists coming out of my ears and my time carefully timetabled I will cope just about.

    Everyone says to be a teacher you have to love it... I love kids and would like to be a teacher. However, I have never loved anything that meant leaving my bed and going out to work! Compared to other jobs I think I would 'love it' but I cannot say that I will wake up at 6am excited to start the day :s does anyone else feel like this?? And Beekajay- I feel exactly the same!!

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