1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

The PGCE survival guide: swatting the fairytales and war stories

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by missibbotson, May 1, 2012.

  1. 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.
     
    Gsr25 likes this.
  2. 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.
     
  3. Great post, thank you! :)
     
  4. How refreshing! Thank you so much.
     
  5. jaimexuk

    jaimexuk New commenter

    How how how .... do you only work until 4pm and 2 hours on the weekend? The full time teachers on my placement schools work more than this. I'm sure I'm going wrong somewhere as although I don't stay up until midnight planning I certainly work until after 4. What's your secret? Even just the marking takes until after that time.

    Any tips greatly appreciated.


    P.S. I agree with your comment about smiling! I've found it really helped to build relationships and the pupils don't like it when that smile goes away!
     
  6. From someone who is starting a Primary PGCE in September... thank you! It is refreshing to see that not everyone hates their PGCE! :)
     
  7. I use every minute I have at school productively. I get here most mornings 45 minutes before the start of school (maybe I just work better in the mornings). A great way to get around the marking is to get them to do a lot of it themselves. I bring self assessment and peer assessment into a lot of my lessons e.g, I rarely mark my A level group's homework, instead we have a starter axctivity of looking through the work and marking it together. Of course I cant do this for essays so I have to take those in but I sit down and get it all done at once and try not to get any distractions.
    I think my approach is why I do it so well. I have recomended it to a few others who are now working faster. I do lots of one thing at once so my mind is focused.
    Also I use a lot of replicated slides in my power points. I have a year group specific writing frame that can be pasted in and changed to suit the lesson. Also my 'medal slides' that I use to demonstrate differentiated learning objectives are pasted in then altered.
    Yeah, my groups know something is up and Im not happy when the smile goes away. This is also demonstrated by me sitting on my chair with an unamused look on my face :)
     
  8. LOVE this post. So refreshing. Thank you OP

    Just wondering if you mark their peer assessments? I've seen a lot of teachers do peer and self assessment I just always wondered if they marked afterwards?

     
  9. No there is no need with the older ones. We sit and talk through the answers enough for them to get a good understanding of what was needed/ is correct. With the younger ones its wise to sometimes check a handful of work to make sure that they ar being fair etc.
     
  10. Do you really have to arrive at school by 8pm? I am a single parent and there are no child care providers which open before 8pm. Does this mean I can't do a PGCE?
     
  11. THANK YOU! I'm due to start my PGCE at UCB in September, and have been reading loads of these 'horror' stories on here and other forums, and honestly, they scared me to death! Don't get me wrong, I know how busy it'l be and how hard it can get, but after reading this I now feel much more confident, and at the end of the day, now really looking forward to starting the course. I'm lucky to already work in a school atm as a TA, so I'm going to try and stock up on as many ideas and sample plans!
    Thanks again :)
     
  12. That all depends on your school. The school day here starts at ten to nine, most teachers arrive between 7.30 and 8.15. I get here around 7.50-8.00 because you have got time to get photocopying done and set up for the day. This is something that will become normal throughout your career. However, on my last placement school didnt start until 9.00 and most teachers didnt choose to arrive until about 8.30. It all depends on the school day and culture but Id say anything after 8.30 is pushing it.
     
  13. Thanks - 8:30 could be do-able.
     
  14. a big thank you for posting this - have also been terrified about starting and am v v nervous and worried after reading lots of horror stories - going to try to make the year as positive as i can :) can your use peer marking techniques in primary as well as secondary?
     
  15. Hi ctinblue. I'm also starting my PGCE in september.

    I've just completed a weeks of observations in an outstanding primary school. They Y2 teacher is the professional mentor and on the SMT. She used self assessment in her lessons, so I'd say if it's okay for an OFSTED outstanding school to use self assessment, then that's a sign that it's good practice. Actually, the teacher I observed told me it makes the children more aware of their own progress and its a chance to discuss any common mistakes at the same time.
     
  16. thanks clementines [​IMG] very excited to start! where will you be doing your PGCE?
     
  17. Thanks for an excellent post ! I start my Secondary Chemistry PGCE in September and had been alarmed by the volume of doom in most posts. So thanks for some well needed balance.

     
  18. Glad to be a help. Any other questions keep them coming.
    Its sad to see so many negative comments on here. I do feel very sympathetic to those that have a bad time but then I also think a lot of it is down to personal attitude. This year has been all about using my initiative, being pro-active and thinking positively.
    Dont get me wrong, I have gone home and cried on several occasions (I have even cried in front of a group of y7's) but the days that something good happens makes it all worth it. These are just the little things as well, yestersay two of my most badly behaved y8 boys came to the staffroom to apologise for their behaviour, that made it all worth it as they were genuinely sorry. I am also doing a business project that the class is getting really stuick into and are doing extra work on their own accord which is very rewarding when you see your ideas engaging them. Its also great to be told you are pupils favourite teacher!
     
  19. So glad to hear your experiences MissHiggenbottom. Reading other posts on this forum is enough to put anyone off but I suppose most people who are happy and content don't feel the need to post. So glad you made the effort to say that it can be good :)
     
  20. I'm not going to lie, the PGCE is tough. I'm also sceptical that you can manage to get everything done before 4pm. But hey, some people are just super efficient.

    The thing is though, there are so many negatives. Yet there are so many positives. You will have ups and downs constantly. But it only takes maybe one kid to describe you as a great teacher or one parent to come and comment on how much their child loved their last lesson and it makes you feel on top of the world.

    It's very easy to focus on the negatives as we use the negatives constantly to improve our practice, but we sort of have to see it as a journey and you have to look past the sneering faces and rude comments. You can't take anything personally either.

    Good luck to anyone starting this year. I'm on my final placement and I'm probably one of the most sensitive, least confident and self-critical people around and I'm still going!
     

Share This Page