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Placement distances - please help!

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by rainbowsandrain, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. I am going to be starting a secondary PGCE in September and have just found out my placements for the year. My second (longer) placement, is going to take an hour and fifty minutes to get to by public transport - I don't have a car. There is a possibility of me getting a lift with other students who are also placed there, but I won't find out if this is possible until I begin the course. As a recovering anorexic, I am worried about the effect that travelling almost four hours each day will have on my mental health, as well as my assignments and lesson plans. I tempted to write to my university expressing my concerns and am aware that they would be under no obligation to change my placement. If I did write, do you think it would raise concerns that I might not be able to cope with the demands of the course? That is the last impression I would like to give.
    Is it usual for PGCE students to have to travel for this long to placements? Other people on my course don't seem to have to travel so far or long.
  2. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    No chance you can learn to drive this summer? I know some who had to live away whilst on placement! How much will public transport cost you? Can you stay overnight maybe 2 nights to give yourself a break? x
  3. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    This is a pity, but I had a similar commute for the whole of my PGCE. I sympathise that it can be exhausting.

    If you can't come to any arrangements, just be glad you're using public transport rather than driving. As others have said, it will give you a chance to just chill out and do nothing or, even better, to do some reading and other work.

    I managed to get through quite a few course texts on the way back from school. In the morning, I'd use the last leg of the commute, about half an hour, to do the 'get organised for the day' routines that these days I do when I arrive: read through lesson plans, adjust them a bit, make sure you're fully up to speed on everything you're doing today. Just try to see it as an opportunity.

    I'm not sure about staying overnight with others - but if you can't do it full time, why not try to do it once a week, to give you a chance to relax a bit. I booked one night a week in a Travelodge near my school in my final placement - it added up, but it was only £20 a night as I'd booked early.
  4. Weezy18

    Weezy18 New commenter

    When I did my PGCE (9 years ago) the university were really helpful with placements. They knew I had to use public transport and rang me in the summer to ask which school I would be able to get to most easily (I was given a choice of two). One was three bus rides and the other just two. I opted for the two bus rides. It took me 1 hour 15 mins each day (including waiting for and walking between bus stops). Luckily by the time it got to the final placement I had a car which made things easier for me.
    Hopefully you will be able to sort something out.
  5. I wouldn't worry to much about the time, more about the quality of the commute. This length of time spent travelling is common, both for PGCE and work, but needn't be a problem.
    I used to leave on the 5.30 am train for my second placement, but it was quite a pleasant journey, and I ended up getting to know some fellow travellers quite well. It also gave me thinking and planning time. The only disadvantage was being unable to socialise with staff after school because of the length of the journey.
    I have a similar length of time travelling now, but there is no bus for the first leg of the journey, so the first hour or so is walking. I don't go direct, but walk to my children's breakfast club with them first.This is an enjoyable time for discussion that has become quite important to us, and we don't want to lose.
    On the other hand, jostling for seats on late over crowded buses, and repeated changes are not fun.
    Do you have any choice how you travel? If so, try and arrange a pleasant journey for yourself
  6. Your by no means alone!! I live on an island, have a 5 year old starting year one, a mortgage and have to commute. I can not get a placement near me, it is possible I will spend 9 months commuting 3 hours to and from the school - 6 hours a day...arg!! At least we can get our work done to and from the placement, instead of trying to find the time. I commuted for 2 years to and from university, which finished last year and it was actually ok, try not to feel too uneasy about it. However, if this is going to make you unwell, you need to tell them. It's important, but your health comes first. Most people are understanding and i'm sure they will try and make changes where possible!
    I do share your worries, though I try and tell myself I know lots of people who have done very long commutes...and it's only for 9 months!!
  7. gsp06sk

    gsp06sk New commenter

    My first placement took two hours, involved three buses and a train (each way) and cost me £50 a week. My second took 1 hr 40 mins and but only cost £17 a week.
  8. Can I just ask, out of interest, those who can read on buses - is it something you have always been able to do, or do you have a specific technique?
    I don't use public transport, as I live in a village and have a car, but whenever we go on buses while abroad, for example, I get incredibly travel sick if I read. Even while in the car with my OH driving, I can only look at the map for a couple of seconds at a time! I am ok on trains and planes, strangely.
    So if anyone knows how to prevent this I'd love to know!
  9. For me it's the looking up and down from the page that makes me ill. If I just keep my head down and focus I'm not too bad. Of course that does mean you risk missing your stop
  10. I get really sick if I read whilst travelling as a passenger, even the train gets me sometimes!
    Apprently if you sit on a newspaper it prevents static or something, haven't tried it but some people swear by it.
    I had a lot of ear infections as a child and I'm sure it's something to do with my inner ear and balance, I can't travel backwards and if I turn round to talk to someone I feel sick within seconds!
    I know some people think it's mind over matter but I've lost counts of the number of times I've had to actually throw up on a journey! My daughter is the same, and hers started when she was around 14 months old, so she couldn't have learnt it from me as I was always the driver, we started carrying an extra set of spare clothes as she would be sick so often on a 30 minute journey!
    Best of luck to those travelling on public transport, I'm not sure how long I would last if I didn't drive myself!!
  11. Chazette

    Chazette New commenter

    I was lucky on my placements - i could drive so it was 15min the first one and 40 mins the second one. Others on my course had a harder time. One in particular had to go to matlock and lived on the furthest side of sheffield away from it. He had to get a bus, a train, then carpool to the school. Took him 2 hours each way!
    As people have said - luck of the draw!
  12. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    I applaud your proactive nature, but my establishment would hunt you if you did this! [​IMG]
    Many institutions will not countenance students arranging their own placements and contacting schools directly.
  13. That drives me mad, when people say that! I vomited, without even attempting to read, on pretty much every car journey over 10 miles until I was about 15 (which is NOT fun when your parents live 200 miles apart) - if mind over matter worked, I'd have certainly overcome it by then!!
    Luckily I have a car and live in a rural area, so I'll be driving to placements. I'd be happy to offer a lift to someone who was struggling with a long bus commute.

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