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Starting Training at 49 years old

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Optimumbiscuit, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. Optimumbiscuit

    Optimumbiscuit New commenter

    I was just wondering if any other trainees are starting their training around this age, and what their experiences where. Any problems that you may face, and how you are coping with, what might be, a complete life change.

    I have gone into Primary and am 2 months into my SCITT PGCE course. i'm loving it, but by crikey, am I tired all the time. I also find it hard to switch my brain down to the level of the children (year 2) particularly after having worked with teenagers for the last 25 years. I've looked online for support groups, but didn't have any success, although I did give up quite quickly. I hoped that maybe this could become a place to talk and share, or that someone could point me in the direction of an already existing group/forum. Anyhoo, let me know if this is of interest.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I am not on a teacher training course, but thought I might give you some ideas about the fatigue.

    You probably know all this or most of this anyway, but perhaps there might be one of two ideas you might find of interest.

    Firstly, and I know this is extremely difficult with all you have to do, but try and ensure you get 8 hours sleep each night. I know that is the most basic thing that even Year 7s know but it is so important.

    Secondly, try to organise things so you have one full day off on the weekend. Again, I know almost impossible to do, but at least try and aim for it.

    Thirdly, you have to ensure you are eating enough food and food of the right type and drinking enough water. If you are not eating enough or not the right foods, you are going to be tired. Make sure you eat lunch and take a lunch break.

    Fourthly, take vitamin B Complex since that will help with the fatigue.

    Lastly, try and get some exercise each week. If you can't get to a gym or on a budget, there are some good videos on YouTube. I like Gina B, Jessica Smith and Denise Austin.

    From experience, I would say take the time to investigate your diet and to examine what you are eating. I am in a journey of reversing osteoporosis and while some of it is genetic, it can be reversed with correct diet and exercise.

    Wishing you all the best for your new career.
    agathamorse and Gsr25 like this.
  3. tillc

    tillc New commenter

    Hi Optimumbiscuit,

    I started my PGCE at 47, having worked with adults as a support worker in mental health and learning disabilities. I went into primary, like you. I'm not the best example because I'm redoing my placements this year, but nevertheless maybe we can support each other a bit. Tiredness is normal, it is a very intense year. Try supplements, ginseng works for me, CoQ10 is good, some people like ginko biloba. Pepper5's advice to get 8 hours sleep a night and take one day off a week just wasn't possible for me, or a lot of other people, but I'm going to try to get at least 7 hours a night this time around because I can't manage well on less for more than a night or two.

    I had real problems trying to remember everything, I forgot something in many lessons that I taught because there was so much to learn and it was too much to take in all at once. Sometimes it was important, like demonstrating how to do a sum that the teacher had gone over with me and written down for me only the night before. How are you doing with your memory? I'm wondering whether it's an age thing.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi tillc

    If you are tired, you will find it difficult to remember things. I don't think it is necessarily an age thing but perhaps it depends on the individual. I am somewhat older than you but my memory is better than it was in my 30s and I think it is down to confidence - believing I can remember things. Having plenty of good food and rest will also help but as you say a lot of people can't manage one day off a week; however, I would aim for it even if you find it difficult.

    I wouldn't worry too much because the more you teach the subject matter, the more you will remember it and how to teach it because as you say there is a lot to remember.
    agathamorse and Gsr25 like this.
  5. reay73

    reay73 New commenter

    Hello Optimumbiscuit.

    I'm 46 and started a SD PGCE Primary in September. I know exactly what you mean about exhaustion and I've had a couple of wobbles on the way. I have children of my own so it really has been a challenge to deal with children all day and then come home to my own brood! Do keep in touch and let me know how you're doing.

    Best wishes.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  6. 43Meadows

    43Meadows New commenter

    I am also in my late 40’s and doing the SD pgce. All of the advice given is true, I make sure I do any tasks/homework/planning the day I am given it and as soon as I get home (usually takes about an hour). Then I have evening meal then I look at what I need to do the next day. My laptop is closed around 8pm and it’s time to read or watch tv. Bedtime is around 10pm so I get decent night sleep.
    This is a long half term and a steep learning curve so yes, I am tired, but I keep a Sunday work free to recharge. I like routine and structure so this works for me.
    agathamorse, Gsr25 and pepper5 like this.
  7. Gsr25

    Gsr25 Occasional commenter

    I’m nearly 40 and started my SCITT PGCE this year and I too feel exhausted! Some really good advice upthread to take on board. I go to bed early every night to make sure I get the 8 hours in, I plan out my meals to make sure I get the right foods in, I need to make sure I drink more water which can challenging! I’m trying to cycle to placement a few days a week but this might stop now the weather is turning as I’m in the sticks so dark country roads.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    teachers needing drugs to keep going. crazy. Even crazier that it is just accepted as normal. Caffeine, vitiamins, alcohol, and worse.

    Teachers in my school are going out on a Wednesday night and getting intravenous vitamin drips to help them get through to Friday.

    If you need any sort of drug to combat fatigue, the school should be reducing your workload. Of course that will never happen

    Why does the DofE allow this state of affairs?
    Shedman, agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Corvuscorax

    Thank you for your post.

    You are correct. It is insanity.

    What you write about teachers going out on Wednesday to getting intravenous trips is SHOCKING. I would never advocate that.

    You are 100% correct in all you write.

    What can we do????
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. greasychipbuttie

    greasychipbuttie New commenter

    I’m a mature student with children of my own, doing Primary and I feel all the above emotions.

    I’m not in a great place right now, need to find motivation. My subject knowledge is very weak, a lot of what we teach I’ve never heard of before!

    I’m giving it till Xmas. I owe my family to have a proper go at this!
    agathamorse, karon19 and pepper5 like this.
  11. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi greasychipbuttie

    If your children are old enough, they can pitch in and age appropriate tasks.

    Try to do eveything around the home in the quickest and easiest way. Everyone who can needs to help you.
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. reay73

    reay73 New commenter

    Hello again greasychipbuttie. I remember that we were in the same boat as fairly late applicants back in July. That seems like a very long time ago.

    I'm a mature applicant like you with children and I have had a number of wobbles about continuing with this. Part of me thinks it would be so much easier just to call the whole thing off and return to my old life. I really don't like the way in which it has come to dominate everything - even when I'm not working I spend far too much time thinking about it:). However, part of me feels I should stick with it, like you, until Christmas and then review.

    Do keep in touch and let me know how it goes. You're not the only one!

    Very best wishes, reay73.
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. happiness20

    happiness20 New commenter

    I can relate to this so much
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. hfmadill1

    hfmadill1 New commenter

    Hi, I am 45 and am starting part time Primary PGCE in February next year. I am already feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work I have to do before the course while also working at a secondary school plus looking after my own kids. It is really interesting reading your posts about what I can look forward to next year.
    I have just been told I will only get a week’s notice about where my placement will be. Is this normal? I could be up to 45 miles from home so could make finding child care quite challenging.
  15. 43Meadows

    43Meadows New commenter

    Hi. Yes it is normal to be a told a week before your next placement where you will be going. Most course providers realise how much work there is to do so are unlikely to place you too far from home. Most trainees on my course have a placement within a 30 mins commute which is doable.

    If you are starting yours in February my advice is just be very organised and keep on top of the work given to you.

    For anyone who started their pgce full time in Sept from what I have been told, spring is a heavy placement in terms of planning, assessing and doing assignments but it gets much easier after Easter in the summer placement. It is hard, time consuming, thoughts consuming and tiring but we will get through it, it’s not forever. We are almost a third of the way through already
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
  16. reay73

    reay73 New commenter

    43Meadows - thank you so much for pointing out that we are almost one third of the way to the end. It cheered me greatly!!!
  17. phatsals

    phatsals Established commenter

    Could I offer you all this word of advice, this is the longest term of the year, if you can make it to Christmas, you can make it through.

    This term is 15 weeks long, the break of 1 week in October just puts you on a little, it really is a killer, 7 and 8 week half terms. Get a printed calendar and mark off the weeks, 4 or so more to the Christmas break where you can at least try to catch up with yourself. It's then roughly 6 week half terms, a week at end Feb, 2 weeks April, 1 or 2 weeks in May.
    agathamorse and 43Meadows like this.
  18. Carltoz

    Carltoz New commenter

    Hi All,

    I'm 55 and started as SD Secondary trainee in September. I thought I might get a few looks because of my age but the staff where I work have been really really helpful. Though I had a dip in morale just before half term, with 2 weeks to go I can see light at the end of the tunnel :)

    Have a word with your TM or PM (if you have the same at primary) about how far you are willing to travel. A 2 hour commute where I am may not be that far distance wise (certainly not 45 miles) and remember you'll be travelling during rush hour.
  19. Debuni73

    Debuni73 New commenter

    Hi - I'm 46 and started my teacher training in September via the University route and am on Placement in a PRU.

    Its hard going, happy to share and help wherever possible.
  20. ArfurGudnesake

    ArfurGudnesake New commenter

    Hi, I am 39 and started my primary SCITT this year. I am really enjoying the course content.
    I have had a few wobbles so far, just trying to balance things with home life. I think I find it difficult to talk to others about this because there isn’t really anybody on my course who I can relate to on this level.

    I am planning to get some prep done over the Christmas break, ready for my next placement because I know it is going to be a busy one!

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