Hi there, As the title would suggest, I'm currently a trainee doing a School Direct PGCE and I'm having some issues. I'm really hoping to gain some objective opinions, so thank you in advance to anyone who replies. Unfortunately (and not so uncommonly as one who hope), I'm really not enjoying my PGCE. The reasons are many and quite involved, so please bear with me and thank you for your patience. I love English, and I love to learn. I have always been very academic and spent the majority of my life being told that I would make a good teacher. This has followed me from a very young child, all the way to the present (I'm 27 now). Up until last year, I was adamant that I most certainly would not be a teacher as I had had quite a bad experience at school despite my love of learning and honestly never wanted to set foot inside a school again. Now I'm sure you're wondering why I started a PGCE at all. Well, here's the honest truth: I needed a career. I know that people say that teaching is a vocation and you need to be 100% committed, but that can't always be true for everyone, and sometimes people just need money to live on. And even though I had my reservations, deep down I knew that everything my teachers and friends had said over the years was right - I would make a good teacher, and I figured, best case scenario I actually really enjoy it and I have a career I enjoy, worst case scenario, I stick it out until I finish my NQT year, maybe teach for a few years in Ireland (since that's where I'm from and I plan on moving back) and get into lecturing in university or research work. Either way I'd come out with a new qualification. Well, I underestimated the worst case scenario, because I'm in it now. I started my PGCE in September and it has truly been the hardest four months of my life. I knew it would be difficult, but it should not be as hard to deal with as it has been. My first placement school was a complete disaster: my mentor was inexperienced, only an NQT+1 who didn't even attend the university's mentor training, and for whatever reason, took a dislike to me; the HoD was new and constantly busy; the PCM was new, though she tried her best; and generally I felt that most of the English department viewed me as a nuisance. I was completely thrown in the deep end with nine hours of teaching before the first half-term, plus an hour of 'Administration' where I had to do whatever job the office manager decided to give me, and my free hours for planning were spent chasing up other teachers, or answering the phone, or photocopying for students. I felt completely overwhelmed and when I tried to ask for help, my mentor would make a comment about how little I was currently doing even though I was supposed to only be teaching a maximum of 6 hours by Christmas. I tried my best yet my feedback seemed to get less and less helpful as went along and far more personal. I was slightly unprepared for one lesson, as in I had my resources but had to organise them while the students were reading silently, and suddenly I was told that I was always disorganised and this was added to all my lesson feedback, whether I was prepared or not, as if to have some record of it. Eventually it all got too much and my work was beginning to suffer so I asked my mentor if we could sit down and discuss some things that I was worried about. It just so happened that this took place after my observation by the PCM, which was fine, two birds one stone and all that. By this point I was incredibly anxious and depressed, crying often and walking three miles home every day in the dark to avoid getting the bus filled with students. I thought that I was possibly overreactign and reading too much into everything so when I spoke to my mentor and PCM I brought up the issue of my mental health nad asked if my feedback could possibly be more constructive and less personal, which they agreed is just good practice anyway. I thought that was the end of it. Things seemed to get better, my mentor sometimes said things that upset me, but I figured it's hard to change overnight and I felt bad that I had to put everyone in this situation for being so sensitive. My lessons were going well, students seemed to be learning and my feedback was mostly positive. So you can imagine my surprise when I got my Foundation assessement back full of 'Inadequates'. I was completely shocked, I'd been doing well, everyone had said so, now they were saying I hadn't, but they were really proud of me for coming to speak to them, and that that was a really big accomplishment. I realised then that they had been giving me good feedback because I had told them about my metal health, and apparently there had been phone calls and emails back and forth with my university tutor about how I wasn't progressing. I was aware of none of this. Now, I'm on a Cause for Concern. I was devasted at first, but feeling hopeful to start over on my next placement and prove that I can do this and that I'm not inadequate. That was until this week. I had a meeting with my tutor and one of the PGCE directors yesterday, and it is clear that all of the responsibility for the failure of my first placement has been put down to my mental health. I've been told that my final placement will now be entended until the end of July instead of finishing in June and it was not so subtley hinted that I can also extend into next year, or 'take a leave of absence' if I need to, because they don't want me to worry about reaching 'good' (which my university demands to pass the year) by the summer because I 'may never reach it'. Yeah, they said that to me. I don't know what to do. I was excited for my next placement, but now I'm dreading going in for a meeting tomorrow. How am I supposed to do my best and make it through the rest of this year if the expectation is that I'm going to fail? I feel completely lost. I have never failed anything in my life, and I'm not a quitter. My natural response is to work hard and prove them all wrong, but is that really a good reason to carry on? And at what cost to my mental health? Because as much as I don't want them to use it as the sole reason for wht's gone wrong, I can't deny that I have been suffering. And then there's the financial implications. If I leave now, I'm £4,500 in debt with nothing to show for it. And if i stick it out to the end and get my PGCE, I don't think I could make it through my NQT year. And sure, I could postone it, but unfortunately life is happening at the same time as all this, and I am hoping to go through fertility treatment this year, which I've already put off for a year because of the PGCE and I don't want to have to wait any longer because the chances of it working are only going to get smaller. I also worry how I'm going to manage an NQT year pregnant and finishing off my Masters, which was my original plan, if I can't make it through this year. I really don't know what to do. Any advice would be incredibly helpful. Sorry it's an essay, thank you if you stuck all the way through.