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Struggling with PGCE- starting to think I'm not good enough

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by ringley25, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. ringley25

    ringley25 New commenter

    I have completed two placements and I will be starting my third and final placement in May. I'm currently suffering from depression and anxiety and I am awaiting CBT treatment. I am suffering with fatigue and I often feel overwhelmed. I am not living at home and I moved from Manchester to London for the course. I absolutely love interacting with pupils and feeling like part of the school community. My issue is I am struggling to move on from satisfactory. Unfortunately my providers often knock my confidence and they make me feel as though I am not good enough for the course. They said they do not feel confident in me being a teacher come September, they said if I do not improve in my final placement they will not grant me the qualification. They even described me as weak the other day. I know I have progress to make and I always thought I had potential to be a great teacher. This has been a huge blow to my confidence and I am starting to think maybe I am not cut out to be a teacher anymore. I have dealt with a lot of different obstacles this year, but I am afraid it is all too much for me. This has set me back mentally, as I was doing fairly well before hand. Is anyone in a similar position?
  2. surfblue33

    surfblue33 New commenter

    What you describe sounds similar to my time in my first placement school (I only have two placements). My confidence was constantly knocked by my tutor and I wanted to give up so badly. I hit a wall by February half term and was ready to run for the hills. Somehow I carried on.
    Things could not be any more different in my new placement school. My new tutor is very very supportive. The department is nurturing and hey I am now allowed to make mistakes. If a lesson goes badly, well it's not the end of the world anymore. I now have space to grow and develop as a teacher...and I make progress .....every week! I still feel overwhelmed and fatigued though and so does everyone else in my cohort.
    What I'm saying is........your new placement might be what you need to turn things around. Don't let them get you down. You have come so far. Hang in there.

    A fellow PGCE sufferer
    MissSimps91 likes this.
  3. Janey214

    Janey214 New commenter

    I know the feeling, i decided in the end that the PGCE wasnt for me. I left my old job in search of something more fulfilling and indeed teaching is fulfilling but it took over my entire life. It started to suck the life out of me. To the point where I had no life. My mental health started to decline and my physical health started to decline. I decided to draw the line. I didnt leave my old job to start a job which would make my quality of life worse. At the end of the day it depends on what you want for your own life and if its your calling. You will know in your heart what is right for you.
    All the best x
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I had a similar experience during my NQT year - lack of support, constant stream of criticism, and so on, it really affected my confidence. My mentor even suggested that I should look for jobs outside of teaching. I moved to a different school, and completed my NQT year in a supportive and friendly environment.

    See how the third placement goes before you make any decisions. A change of school might help you. Good luck!
  5. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Its not you, its the carp system
    EmilyTattum and pepper5 like this.
  6. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Bless you @ringley25 it isn't at all uncommon to feel like this towards the end of the PGCE year, even when you ARE getting a lot of support from your provider.

    I did my PGCE as a mature student and vividly recall the relentless pressure of those final months. As with you, I reached a point where I lost all confidence and couldn't believe I had been stupid enough to think that I had the necessary skills and ability to become a teacher. I was on the verge of packing it in and disclosed this to one of the other trainees, whose wife happened to be a mentor for PGCE students at a different provider - she rang me and made me realise what I had achieved and how close I was to completing it: she made me believe in myself again and I've now been teaching for 15 years.

    Please find someone to talk to: another trainee or a teacher at your school, your mentor or school-based tutor, or ring the Education Support Partnership (previously Teacher Support) on 08000 562561 (24/7) for help and advice.

    It's a huge achievement to have completed those first two placements, especially when also struggling with depression and anxiety - is there any chance your GP would prioritise you for CBT as this could really help?
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
  7. Findlotte

    Findlotte Established commenter

    Well, a 'good' teacher has the ability to reflect on their practice - are you doing that?

    What is it that isn't going so well? Is it a particular element of teaching (planning, behaviour, assessment etc) Why are they grading you low? What are their targets for you? What are your targets for you?
  8. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    This sounds similar to my situation when I was training; no worries until my final placement and then suddenly my teacher mentor started to complain about me to my uni tutor (without saying anything to me) and saying she didn't think I wanted it enough and I wasn't "committed enough" so I spent two months depressed, crying at home every night while still up all hours writing plans...

    My very last observation, a week before completion, "saved" me (in the words of my uni tutor) because of the teaching he saw me do and he told me he'd reminded my teacher mentor that I was just a student and she was expecting me to teach like an experienced teacher.

    Eight months later in my NQT year I had an Outstanding from Ofsted (this is some years ago now) and I was really pleased to bump into someone from my placement school the following week on the bus, so I made sure I told her and hopefully it got back to my teacher mentor. It was definitely her who made me the wreck I was during my final placement but I managed to survive despite her (and I heard later that year that she'd gone off long-term sick with stress).

    So do try not to listen to the doubters and have faith in yourself. Not everyone around you at school necessarily knows what they're talking about, so unless they're giving you constructive feedback to help you improve, try to ignore them and concentrate on the abilities that you have. Difficult, I know, but important to do.

    Edited to add that I'm still teaching, am a valued member of leadership, full-time UPS teacher and have had several students of my own to mentor! So what did my own mentor know, huh?! ;)
  9. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    How is the final placement going so far?

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