This is a post with regards to the negativity you will see circulating around the student teacher forums. These posts are enough to put anybody off, they certainly would have done if I had seen them this time last year. So the general horror stories of PGCE courses go a little like this: Once upon a time there was an innocent PGCE student, they worked very hard and had always dreamed of becoming a teacher. However, their dreams had been stolen by the wicked witch. The wicked witch was the student's mentor and she did everything she could to make the PGCE student cry. If the wicked witch needed a break, she would get the nasty goblin students or their parents to grind down the poor PGCE student. But the PGCE student tried so hard, they stopped up every night until half past 3 and then woke again at half past 5 full of cold and depression ready to start another day of ridicule and observations.... So we get the picture...For a <u>minority </u>this is true and I am deeply sympathetic for these PGCE students. However, there are a few tips that I think I could share that could make the PGCE year as enjoyable and positive as mine has been. I am a secondary trainee who has never worked after 4pm and does a maximum of 2 hours work at the weekend, has a good relationship with my mentor and usually looks forward to monday morning (but not as much as friday afternoon). Tip 1: Before you start, read the books. How to survive your teacher training, pimp my lesson plan and getting the *** to behave are all excellent insights to teaching. Have a read through these, a lot of it is self explanatory but they set you up with a can do attitude. Additionally, watch repeats of Waterloo Road, once you have taken all the drama in, discard it, that stuff does not happen in everyday schools and you should never act the way the teachers do! Tip 2: Get organised. Start your PGCE with a good teacher's planner, a notebook and some ring binders. Seems pretty obvious but if you start of organised then you will know where all those pesky documents are that you were given in September when it comes to this time next year. If they give it you, its important and can probably be used in your standards file. Tip 3: Get some allies. The best thing I did was make friends with the fantastic people on my course. Then we made a social network group (private of course) that we all joined. This has been the perfect platform for advice etc. It is a great space to share good websites, a better place though to ask each other questions or just have a general moan about that naughty year ten that wont put his phone away. Tip 4: Plan your preperation. Ever heard the saying fail to plan, plan to fail? Never could this be so true. Its all about the medium term planning. Make sure you know what each class is doing for the next 3-4 weeks even if the ins and outs of the lesson are yet to be confirmed. It provides what is sometimes called a 'learning journey'- fantastic to share with the older ones as it adds value to the learning. Also plan your planning, I choose a few periods a week where I know I am going to plan certain lessons. I also do a big chunk of planning at once. I find it confusing to do a lesson plan then a bit of marking then some assignment work. Tip 5: Always smile before christmas, then keep on smiling. There is a debate, should you smile before christmas? or should you let all your pupils know exactly how much you can be compared to Ms Trunchbull? I started smiling from lesson one, this creates a positive and friendly atmosphere and thats when the real learning happens. Just dont forget those boundaries! The best of luck for you all next year. The PGCE is what you choose to make it. Mine has been a pleasure.