After five years of teaching English abroad, I came back to England with the sole purpose of training to become a teacher. It was a further two and a half years until I managed to start a GTP during which time I did as much as I could to prepare myself for my training. I did months of voluntary work experience in order to secure an LSA position. I worked as an LSA for two years during which time I did a 24 week subject enhancement course alongside taking some A level modules in the subject I wanted to teach. Preparation is key .... Well, I did 5 months of my GTP before I decided to leave the program. I decided to do my GTP in the same school as I was an LSA (something I was a little dubious about as my experiences as an LSA had not always been positive ... I mean being asked 'Who are you?' by a member of SLT that you have said good morning to for the last year isn't the greatest feeling in the world!) However, I guess I was flattered into taking the position by the HoD and the training school leader (sucker ... one born every minute!) From the off I was given a class to teach entirely by myself and no one ever came to check (and rarely asked about) my progress with. I would ask my own questions in the beginning, give feedback on progress and ask other teachers for advice but gradually as emails went unanswered and advice became increasingly vague and unhelpful, well, I stopped asking. I had no guidance about how best to plan lessons, deal with any behavioural problems, keep student records, mark books ... I was just left to get on with it. In addition, I was given two other classes to 'team teach' ... one a bottom set year 8 and a second set year 9. Now 'team teaching' to me implies that it is done together but I went from observing lessons to doing about three starters independently to planning and teaching full lessons entirely by myself in the space of about 5 weeks. So by half term I was trying to plan 9/10 lessons a week entirely alone with no actual idea about how to do it efficiently and sometimes spending 3-4 hours (per lesson) planning and getting all the paperwork in order. I hadn't had a proper mentor meeting for 5 weeks, only managing to grab 5 minute conversations in the corridor (where my desk was located as there wasn't room in the office for me), my professional mentor was nowhere to be seen and one of the class teachers decided that she would much rather be catching up on other business instead of observing my lessons and giving me feedback. I was barely surviving on 4 hours sleep a night, cereal and no weekends! I didn't have my first formal feedback until mid December (from someone from my training provider) but to my amazement gain a 'good' evaluation. This gave me a momentary boost but alas I made it until February until I made my decision to quit. So basically the reason for this ridiculous sob story (I have just read it back as realised that is exactly how it sounds ... apologies) is to ask whether this is a normal training experience? And if so I am full of admiration for those who manage to complete it. Huge well done.