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Starting PT PGCE Primary in April

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by NewToTA, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. Hi All
    I start my part time pgce course in April & just wanted some advice from current student teachers re prepartion before I start.
    I'll get my reading list etc soon but wondered if there's anything you wish you'd know before you started, things you'd bought to help with the course etc?
    Also I've started some reading and just wondered if it makes more sense when you actually start the course? I understand what I'm reading but am hoping I'll start to make connections and tie it all together a bit more once I've start, if not I'm a bit worried!?!
    Thanks & happy New Year!
  2. Hiya
    Which university are you at?
    I started a part time PGCE last April so know exactly how you are feeling right now.
    I never got a reading list as such, I just used my common sense and got a national curriculum, an EYFS and a Letters and Sounds.
    Are you doing lower or upper primary?
    The whole thing will definitely start tying together, I can assure you. I went into my first placement not knowing a lot and now I can confidently put alot of it into practice and I am starting my first assessed placement in January.
    I would recommend you start looking at the QTS skills tests and get revising and practicing for them. I know by the time you start the ICT one will have been removed but the other 2 are going to be made more difficult so I recommend revising. You won't be able to register for them until September anyway but revising won't hurt.
    I made sure I had my room super super organised. I had stoage boxes with a pieve of paper taped to the inside of the lid with a list of exactly everything that is in that particular box. I know this sounds OCD but trust me when you are in the middle of planning or running around like a headless chicken you will be grateful that you are so organised.
    In terms of other books, I can suggest looking at the National Numeracy and Literacy strategies and different strands. I have found the teachfind website to be very useful as the strategies have been archived but the website has them all in a relatively easy to access order.
    There isn't anything really that I wish I had known before I started. I do think the flexi PGCE is slightly easier in terms of pace than the full time route but the same amount of work is there and the placements are just as taxing. Again just be super organised and when you get an assignment/portfolio/presentation start working on it straight away. I opted to do mine at Postgraduate level and not professional level which means more effort and a hell of a lot more work for 60 masters credits. I don't regret it but I could have done without it.
    I wish you lots of luck and you will hear people saying it is the most difficult year of you life but it is also extremely rewarding, you meet some fabulous people along the way and you are constantly learning everyday. If you ever need any help or advise re. the flexi route feel free to message me and I'll help if I can.
  3. Thanks so much for your reply - this is really helpful!
    I'll be at Christchurch doing upper primary & it's reasuring to hear that I'm not the only one to feel like this!

  4. aaww you're welcome.
    I am doing lower primary 3-7 at Bishop Grosseteste.
    You will be absolutely fine.
  5. EcoLady

    EcoLady New commenter

    Get lever arch files ... lots and lots of lever arch files. Then get some more!
    Then get more subject dividers than you could possibly every consider that you'll need ... then get some more. Tesco have sets of 5x10 for about £1.
    Plan for one file per subject, plus a couple for your 'professional studies', plus one for each placement, and a couple for each assignment, and some spares. I started my PGCE in Sept and have 18 files on the go right now.
    Memory sticks, external hard drive, spare SD card for camera for all the lovely pics you'll be taking in school.
    Cheap B&W laser printer if you don't already have one. Stock up on toner or ink cartridges and cheap paper.
    Cheap laminator & pouches. Tough stapler & tough hole punch. Decent scissors & a guillotine.
    Pens! Lots of lovely coloured pens & pencils & felt-tips & crayons and funky sparkly gel pens just to brighten your day when things get tough. Stock up when anything is on special offer. Stabilo fineliners are lovely for <strike>doodling</strike> highlighting lecture notes. Sharpies write on everything.
    Post-it notes.
    Your favourite A4 notebooks or paper.
    You get the idea - stock up on stationery.
    PE kit & whistle
    Name labels for your stuff - www.easy2name are great - try their 'funky' range. Don't forget that it'll need to be your 'teacher name'.
    Raid the children's section of your local library - read as many different authors as you can. Make notes of which you liked, why, how you might use them in school, etc (that's another file!). 2nd hand shops are great for supplies and The Book People too. Personally, I think that's more useful that trying to read the heavy stuff before you start your lectures. All the main books will be in your uni library, so no need to buy.
    Write a long list and give it all your friends and relatives who are still earning and/or have access to an office stationary cupboard. You want this stuff for Easter, birthday, next Christmas, etc. Make a loooooong Amazon wishlist. I got wiggly scissors & a circle cutter for Christmas!
    Keep searching on here - there are lots of other threads like these.
    And good luck :)
  6. Hi there
    I started a Primary PGCE in September.
    Re the reading - yes it will make a lot more sense when you actually start. But try to get a head start on it because it is hard to make time for reading when you start in school - and it has been my experience that a sound depth of reading is the key to the course - well, the theory side of it anyway. If you read something interesting/useful stick a post-it in the book so you can find it again later - nothing more frustrating than trying to remember where you read something months down the line.
    Brush up on your weak areas - for me it was Maths. I began practising the skills tests in the summer before the course started as I knew it would be an issue. I looked at the BBC Bitesize revision online and practised the tests on the TDA website. Result: I passed my uni audit and the QTS numeracy test first time. If I hadn't done that work in the summer I would have been trying to fit it all in now when I have lessons to plan and assignments to finish - nightmare!
    If you get given an idea of assignment titles/areas of research/themes etc then try and start reading up on them now, or as soon as poss. Get a headstart. Read, read, read!
    Good luck!
  7. Great advice & an excuse to go stationary shopping, thanks!
  8. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    I'd suggest an alternative of keeping as much stuff in an electronic format as possible. Pretty much all government (and even school) documentation is available online/electronically so can be saved into an appropriate placement folder on a hard drive/memory stick (Back it up!).
    MS Word has a review/comment feature so you can add comments, while you could quote sections from pdfs.
    You'll inevitably pick up some paper (e.g. lecture notes), which will need some filing. If you're feeling particularly skilled ICT-wise, you could scan in annotated lecture notes and just leave the originals in a file somewhere.
    Granted, I'm on the extreme end of things as a ICT teacher (I only handed in a CD and a couple of marked essays on my PGCE), but electronically storing stuff is going to save you a lot of time and money (printing costs!), even if you only store part of your work in that way.

  9. EcoLady

    EcoLady New commenter

    Agree totally - but I still get loads of handouts and I do find that if I want to look for something, I find it far easier to flick through the paper file than to open up lots of docs & pdfs. I couldn't manage my assignments without my files of printed papers, each tagged with coloured post-its. Looks a mess to an outsider but it's a method that suits me.
    It may be partly an eyesight issue - I just can't read screens for a long time and much prefer paper, with coloured pens and post-its in hand!
    And my Uni will not accept anything submitted electronically (yes, I know it's the 21st century, but they don't!). Everything is printed and signed and "submit 3 signed copies of this white form, get your mentor and tutor to counter sign the blue one and get a yellow one each week, green assignment coverpage ..."
  10. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    I'm a disaster with paper ( having been in this job nearly 4 years that hasn't changed) and I just wouldn't have got on with that. Thankfully we were encouraged to do it electronically by our tutors, although I did look on in horror at the multiple ring binders of my fellow business and L&T trainees of the time.
  11. EcoLady

    EcoLady New commenter

    The really sad thing is that the long list of examples is totally genuine! Love Cambridge :)

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