Hello, I'm a prospective teacher, with a confirmed PGCE place in September. Getting the place was the result of intense hard work and minute preparation as well as being able to interpret and communicate the experience I gained from voluntary TA work in a primary school. After the interview I went on to secure paid TA work for the rest of the year. All should be well and good, but I'm having a crisis of confidence. I had the feeling my first voluntary placement was drifting as I never had the feeling the teacher expected anything of me and felt a bit like a spare leg (particularly as the school has so many TAs). This I guess might be normal for volunteers (there are so many, they pass through quickly, you're at the bottom of the pile). My paid role is very challenging - in a 'special school' - and I have gone from a situation of having developed excellent relationships with pupils to one where particularly the older kids are hard to reach. I realise I should just see the limitations of the role (I shouldn't think I'm a teacher) and not see it as about helping the children's education, more being a sort of policeman! As my lack of experience has come across more (particular the social skills necessary to act wisely in some situations!), I've been subject to teachers and TAs gossiping about me in my presence. I've also had some curious inverted snobbery about my accent being too well spoken to have come from the local area. The situation and the withdrawal of the bursary is making me rethink teaching altogether. I'm not certain I really fit in to the teaching staffroom culture. The response I've got has been defensive and passive aggressive rather than directly (and therefore helpfully, critical). Schools can be insular little bubbles and as much as I choose teaching as my career, the staffroom or the classroom isn't my entire life. I enjoy working with the kids and the children seem to respond to me but I find other teachers a real problem! Has anyone else had a problem with the school or staffroom culture? Particularly career changers going into teaching? Regarding TAs, it might be useful if you mention what good TAs do over poor or bad ones - what are your expectations? Lastly, the stress of the interview and internal and external pressure to 'perform' is really dragging my confidence down. I feel pretty low. Has anyone else had a similar experience when they are initially in classroom? As I was already under duress with my PGCE interview, I fear I've not made a good impression meaning I'm falling into a partly self-created muddle!