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Pre-PGCE Freak-out!

Discussion in 'Science' started by dashep, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. Hi everybody, I'm new!

    I start my PGCE in just over 2 weeks and I have suddenly got all anxious and am having second thoughts :( I'm doing PGCE Secondary Science: Physics.


    My degree was half physics and I have done physics A-level but I am still scared that I won't be able to teach it. I feel I have forgotten GCSE physics it was so long ago! Also, AFAIK I will be trained as a general science teacher with the ability to teach all sciences and I'm worried I will have to teach myself all of bio/chem from fresh again. Should I have done a physics enhancement course first, to make myself feel more confident?


    I have been reading lots of threads on this forum and there seems to be lots of negativity towards PGCE/teaching as a career. All I know is that I hate working at a desk in a dull office all day and I enjoy teaching and working with young people. I have never taught my own class, I have only been an assistant helping children one-to-one and observing lessons. I am scared I won't be able to teach a whole class by myself. I have delivered some revision classes under supervision and the kids asked so many questions "outside of the box", which is great, but I felt so much pressure to know all the answers.



    Another thing is that I am still only 21. When I was an assistant a teacher said to me "You barely look older than the year 11s!". Should I work other jobs first, get life experience, enjoy my youth etc before I embark on this rollercoaster?



    I know I will really like teaching but I am so unsure right now.



    Is this all normal? Some advice/reassurance would be much appreciated.



    Thanks!
     
  2. Hi everybody, I'm new!

    I start my PGCE in just over 2 weeks and I have suddenly got all anxious and am having second thoughts :( I'm doing PGCE Secondary Science: Physics.


    My degree was half physics and I have done physics A-level but I am still scared that I won't be able to teach it. I feel I have forgotten GCSE physics it was so long ago! Also, AFAIK I will be trained as a general science teacher with the ability to teach all sciences and I'm worried I will have to teach myself all of bio/chem from fresh again. Should I have done a physics enhancement course first, to make myself feel more confident?


    I have been reading lots of threads on this forum and there seems to be lots of negativity towards PGCE/teaching as a career. All I know is that I hate working at a desk in a dull office all day and I enjoy teaching and working with young people. I have never taught my own class, I have only been an assistant helping children one-to-one and observing lessons. I am scared I won't be able to teach a whole class by myself. I have delivered some revision classes under supervision and the kids asked so many questions "outside of the box", which is great, but I felt so much pressure to know all the answers.



    Another thing is that I am still only 21. When I was an assistant a teacher said to me "You barely look older than the year 11s!". Should I work other jobs first, get life experience, enjoy my youth etc before I embark on this rollercoaster?



    I know I will really like teaching but I am so unsure right now.



    Is this all normal? Some advice/reassurance would be much appreciated.



    Thanks!
     
  3. wire247

    wire247 New commenter

    Valium?
    No seriously, chillax. You'll be fine, I feel like this before every lesson. I went from a desk at the age of 27, best thing I ever did.
     
  4. Don't Panic!
    Your relevant subject knowledge gaps fill quickly and without too much hassle.
    I should focus on the PGCE work itself, it is a pretty demanding course.
    Good luck.
     
  5. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Don't worry, the school will have a text book that conatins all you need to know. The biggest surprise you will have is just how little you need to remember! I didn't do PGCE until I was 33. Most GCSE science was covered in the first year (now year 7) when I was at school!
     
  6. Relax,
    I can't agree with what the others have said enough. I've been teaching science for 13yrs now and still get anxious at times on the areas where my knowledge is not as secure. My degree is engineering and when I started I had huge gaps in my knowledge but I stayed ahead and planned well. If I'm asked something I'm not sure about then I usually give myself some time by saying 'lets just finish this and then I'll explain' or 'I was going to go over that in a few lessons time, so can we leave it until then' - both give you a chance to have some breathing space or to find out the answer. As for your age, don't worry 21 is not too young it will mean that you can relate to the kids well, in the classroom its not your age that matters but you and how you are.
    Good luck
    Z
     
  7. Haha!


    Thanks everybody, feeling better now I'm not alone! The idea of saying "let me get to that in a bit" or "I was going to cover that in a few lessons time" is brilliant!
     
  8. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    'Mind your own business' can also work with some kids!
     
  9. I start my PGCE on Monday in secondary science and I'm rather nervous too. I think it's normal. You suddenly realise that your actually about to start this thing and be expected to do the teaching now! I've spent the past week going over the KS3 and GCSE revision books and they have helped loads. They have mostly just reminded me how much of it I still sort of remember but also shown that it's no where near as hard as I remember!

    As for the age thing, I'm 24 but very petite and look rather young. I spoke a lot with a teacher friend about it; it's all about how you present yourself and the authority you give off. Which will all come with experience and confidence.

    If it's what you want to do and what you enjoy the most then relax and just go for it. Good luck and enjoy! :)
     
  10. Ha! As i read this all i can feel is deja vu!

    As some-one who has just finished a Chemistry PGCE, and started my first job this week, i can tell you in confidence you are about to have one of the most awesomely crazy years of your life! Trust me, you will love it! Can't agree more that the PGCE work itself is the only thing to worry about, having to learn to write social science type essays was one of the hardest things, but honestly, just wait until you get into school and realise that even teachers that have years of experience are the same as you, and any teacher that says they don't have a look at the content while they plan is a liar! Teaching general science is ok, no-one really teaches a sole subject until A-level, and if your on the course you can teach GCSE. They obviously already think you can teach, they don't tell you how to do that, this is more an exercise in time managment, handling pressure and organisation. And if your one of those people (like i was) prepare for that to change! You'll have some hard days, but you'll also have tens of people waiting with a coffee (your new best friend) and advice on how to get better. Before long you'll be in a groove, and you'll leave work everyday with a huge grin on your face. Honestly, the feeling after that first lesson where everything goes how you wanted is indescribable. As for your life, it'll only get better, I was 21 when i did my PGCE and now I'm living in London and I've never been happier. You really get this massive sense of achievement each day, and you just want to better yourself. As far as i can tell, in becoming a teacher you resign yourself to never growing up (its brilliant). I'm going travelling when i complete my NQT this year and my current school couldn't be more understanding. They see it as a way of making me more interesting, something they look for massively in interviews. Don't sweat, enjoy it, it'll be great, and remember:

    Teachers are the hardest partyers and biggest drinkers you will ever meet
    A sole glass of wine is no longer a sign of alcoholism, it's compulsory
    No matter what they say, kids love school
    APP, AfL, SEN, G+T... Acronyms, the language of learning
    www.callofduty.com - your new worst enemy
    Reflect Reflect Reflect!
    IT has never gone wrong like IT goes wrong in schools
    No-one will have pub stories like you have pub stories
    You are not on your own!
     
  11. Thanks to all for these replies - I'm starting a Physics PGCE Monday (finishing work today) and these feelings were starting to creep in for me too. I'd aimed to do a whole load of work with the CGP books etc, but I don't feel like I've done enough. I'm guessing, from what you say, that feeling is normal. Really looking forward to it - and trying to stay calm about it all has got a fair bit easier after reading these posts.. Cheers.
     
  12. There is so so much to do during your PGCE year. The subject knowledge gaps you can fill as and when you identify them during your lesson planning (make sure you record details of your efforts).
    I used the revision guides as a means of quickly planning lessons (still do sometimes) since they give you the bare bones of the lessons in the order in which you need - they also help to fill in knowledge gaps as you go along.
    If you really want to do some pre-reading then I suggest that you focus upon educational theories; you may already have been given a book list.
    As a Physics specialist I found it difficult to agree with much of the 'research' in this field - however I soon learned to dutifully nod my head.
    You will find that filling the subject knowledge gaps is easy compared to the rest.
    Don't worry! As long as you organise EVERYTHING into files and keep on top of the paperwork, you'll be fine.
     
  13. Having mentored PGCE students for a number of years, and taken part in first interviews for them for the last 4 years I can tell you that you would not have made it this far if they did not believe in you.
     
  14. LearningToTeachPhysics

    LearningToTeachPhysics New commenter

    The Institute of Physics has a Student Teacher Affiliation scheme which you'll find useful. It's free to join and you will get a USB stick preloaded with both teaching resources and materials which will help with your own physics understanding.

    Download a form at www.iop.org/education/ltp/affiliation

    Also, check out our PGCE physics blogger at http://www.iopblog.org/guest-blogger-physics-pgce-student-teacher-london/

    You're not alone!
     

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