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Thinking of quitting PGCE

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by franco5885, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    I've just started my 2nd placement school and am thinking about quitting the PGCE course. My 1st placement school was brilliant, I enjoyed teaching, had a really supportive mentor, got on with all the staff, and I must have done something right because they've offered me a job for next year!
    However, now that I've started my 2nd placement, it's become apparent to me how little subject knowledge I have. My whole life I've been good at music, but being good in something doesn't mean you can teach the subject. I look at my subject knowledge audit, and there's so many gaps it's untrue. At school I always enjoyed certain aspects of music, but others were incredibly boring! For this reason I did my Degree and Alevel in music technology, not music, so it's simply not my field. Which is why my uni tutor put me in an academy for my 2nd placement, where music technology is taught throughout the school.
    I was very enthusiastic about the prospect of this new school, and after my new mentor met me on the induction day, he was looking forward to having me around. "Finally a music technologist as oppose to traditional Alevel or Degree level music graduate." The problem is, the things that I learnt a number of years ago at Degree and Alevel standard, he is teaching to Year 8's at this school! Even the traditional topics that I was co-teaching at my 1st placement to Year 10's, they're teaching to Year 7's at this academy!
    I've never felt so low in my life. I feel like a complete fraud, how can I teach these students, what can I possible teach, when the Year 10 and 11's in this school are possibly more advanced than I am?!
    I'm way out of my depth and am actually losing sleep, appetite and think I am suffering from depression. There is so much pressure because I feel that teaching was the last thing I could offer as a career. I've tried working in the music industry (which is impossible as a career), and have always had the mindset that I could always fall back on teaching the subject I love. Now it appears that even though I love the subject and love learning about it, there's so much more I don't know!
    I've searched around online and I'm not the only PGCE student that has contemplated quitting at this stage. I want to concentrate on my actual teaching, behaviour management, lesson planning, and even completing my assignments for uni, but I can't do any of that if I don't even know about my subject. I need time to just learn the curriculum and expand my knowledge, but time is simply something I don't have. I've been locked in my room for days reading and learning things, trying to play catch up on education, but I fear that there's just way too much to learn, and way too much for me to do.
    What should I do?
  2. I think it's fairly standard to have a wobble or two on the course! I keep finding things that I don't know and getting spooked by how little I think I know. The advice I was given was to take the opportunity to sit in on classes on my weaker areas but not to stress overly and try to fill all the gaps at once. No one can know everything about their subject but if you've got the foundation on which to build through self-study should an unfamiliar topic come up, you're ok!
    You say your mentor is enthusiastic about having you- maybe talk to him and see what he suggests as an area to focus on instead of overwhelming yourself?
  3. RGJM2012

    RGJM2012 New commenter

    I am currently on the GTP and sometimes feels like it is quite soul
    destroying. I have wobbled more than once about my subject knowledge, somedays I feel as thick as a brick! The most basic things can leave my mind blank when put on the spot, it's a constant feeling of presssure to know everything! I think the previous poster made a very good point about looking things up as you go along and just try and keep one step ahead, I too have to remind myself that we are still learning ourselves!
    You can spend hours planning something and have it ripped
    apart in minutes. I know it isn't personal and the tutors and mentors
    are there to guide us and allowing us to go down the wrong path would be
    wrong so they have to give us the bad news whether we want it or not
    but sometimes (when you're knackered) it is
    really hard to take. Add that to trying to continue a family life, keep
    your house looking less like a pig sty and keep on top of planning, uni
    assignments, evidence collecting, evaluating, reflective diary entries
    etc etc etc sometimes makes you wonder why you bothered applying! Then your class will do something brilliant and it brings everything back into line [​IMG]

    I really enjoy the interaction with the children, being there to witness the moment when the 'penny drops' due to the time you have taken to plan and deliver something. I know it will be all worth while when we get to the end and that we will go into our NQT years prepared. But I have to confess, I have looked at other jobs as well as teaching. I think if it comes to July and the application process goes mental if something slightly different comes up I will have a year off teaching before embarking on my NQT. I know not everyone will agree but as a single parent I would be lying if I said I was managing my home life and work life as a balance. Having worked part time for 7 years it has been full throttle from day one so if I didn't take a post til the following January at least I could get myself back into some kind of routine! That said, my second placement has just started, new mentor, new class, whole new school (very down to earth and close to where I grew up!). I am enjoying it already and feel like I can breath when I'm there (first placement in a very structured/scary school! felt constantly under pressure)and if they had a job coming up in the summer I would be very happy there!
    As you can see by my post for me the training is both a mental and emotional roundabout! Ups and downs galore. I'm sure we'll all make it through in one piece and as the saying goes 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!'


  4. Many people make the mistake that having a degree in a subject or realted to a subject makes you an expert teacher. It does not - often what you studyt at degree will not match what you now have to teach. What you have done is idebntifed areas where you need to increase your knowledge and unerstanding and that is the first step - now you need to plan to fill in the holes as it were. It will take most teachers up to five years before they will feel fully confident to teach all aspects of their subject to all levels.
    Talk to your tutor and get him/her to provide help and support.

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