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Trainee teacher - feeling disillusioned and upset.

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by angelclaire37, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Hi there,
    I started my teaching practice last week, a long time after my fellow PGCE students who started weeks ago. I initially started with 15 minute revision sessions, and taught my first full length classes yesterday, one of which my mentor officially observed. I did a further two revision sessions today. My problem is that I am really struggling badly with nerves, although I am as confident as it gets in real life. Also, I got a lot of negative feedback from my tutor after the observation, which has really knocked me for six; I do understand that I will need to improve at the beginning but I just feel completely useless. All my friends and family think I was 'born to teach' and I have loved every part of the PGCE, right up to actually teaching! Thought I would love teaching but at the moment it is just such a scary experience. Also had a bad experience today, one of the revision sessions didn't go very well, and it was in a teacher's class who had not entrusted her teachers to me previously, or seen me teach before. I now feel an absolute failure, the teacher did not seem happy with me one bit. Will things get better? I want to be a good teacher more than anything in the world, and happily give everything in my PGCE 100% effort, I'm just feeling so disillusioned and terrified that the college won't end up offering me a job at the end of the course (which is what was suggested would happen when I started the PGCE).
    Thanks for reading this, it would be wonderful if you or anyone could give me some advice.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Hi there,
    I started my teaching practice last week, a long time after my fellow PGCE students who started weeks ago. I initially started with 15 minute revision sessions, and taught my first full length classes yesterday, one of which my mentor officially observed. I did a further two revision sessions today. My problem is that I am really struggling badly with nerves, although I am as confident as it gets in real life. Also, I got a lot of negative feedback from my tutor after the observation, which has really knocked me for six; I do understand that I will need to improve at the beginning but I just feel completely useless. All my friends and family think I was 'born to teach' and I have loved every part of the PGCE, right up to actually teaching! Thought I would love teaching but at the moment it is just such a scary experience. Also had a bad experience today, one of the revision sessions didn't go very well, and it was in a teacher's class who had not entrusted her teachers to me previously, or seen me teach before. I now feel an absolute failure, the teacher did not seem happy with me one bit. Will things get better? I want to be a good teacher more than anything in the world, and happily give everything in my PGCE 100% effort, I'm just feeling so disillusioned and terrified that the college won't end up offering me a job at the end of the course (which is what was suggested would happen when I started the PGCE).
    Thanks for reading this, it would be wonderful if you or anyone could give me some advice.
    Thanks.
     
  3. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    This seems a rather odd suggestion to me for a start. Put that aside for now and focus on getting the lessons sorted.
    Negative? Or constructively critical? I spent an hour and a bit today debriefing a trainee on an observation, and although I would say we spent about 60% of the time focussing on targets for improvement, he and I both know that that it was designed to support him in improving. If, however, your mentor is being negative without offering advice, then you need to take each point offered in turn and ask for strategies for improving.
    It's hard to trust "your" class to a trainee, and when things go to pot, it's not always easy to hide. However, you need to talk to her and, again, ask for strategies to help you to improve.
    Yep - and so it should be. It's a huge responsibility. But you will find that it gets easier and less scary over time. Honestly.
    Yes, but not on their own. You need to:
    - stop being scared and ask for help, but make it specific. "What do I do if X happens?" is easier to answer than "How do I make this lesson work?"
    - observe observe observe - look at things you think you could do, and things you'd like to be able to do, and things that you think you could never do. Now ask for help with these.
    - start teaching. Revision is hard because you're not entirely in control of what's happening.
    Do you have a professional mentor as well as a subject one? Talk to them too. And don't worry so much; it's only useful to you if it's focussed!


     
  4. Thanks so much for the reply. To be honest yes, the feedback from the observer WAS constructively critical, I am just not used to (I guess) finding things so difficult, and being criticised so much. Need to get some strong shoulders I think. Really glad that it gets easier and less scary all the time, just doesn't seem like it at the mo. Also, I am having real problems with my mentors, as they just don't help or advise me at all, even if I specifically ask. I do have a good tutor (professional mentor), so I will ask her for some advice. Re the tip to start teaching hopefully I should be able to get fully into it after Christmas; there is only 1 teaching week left at my college until Christmas so I'm hoping to get proper, regular teaching hours after Christmas. I have ANOTHER observation of my teaching next week, which will only be my third ever teach, so its all so terrifying. Will do my best to take on board the criticism and comments my tutor made during my observation yesterday, I'm worried though that I'm going to panic and go to pot! Do other trainee teachers have similar experiences to me?
    Thanks kindly,
    C.
     
  5. I am a trainee too. I've been teaching 5-6 lessons every week for the past 3 weeks. I was terrified about my first one, but it went okay. The second full lesson I taught, to a low ability Yr.8 was an absolute disaster. I coudn't get anyone to listen to it, it was really really bad. I thought it would get better the following week, I had my first and only formal observation from my university tutor with the same class. And it went Absolutely Horrible. I didn't get graded for it, but I think my tutor didn't give me a grade just because it was so bad and he didn't want to discourage me. But it is from that class that I have learnt the most, it is that class that I try out different behavior management techniques and different teaching methods.

    Some lessons will go really really good, some will go bad. We are more likely to have good lessons when we are not getting observed that's absolutely normal. I think you will gain the confidence with every lesson that you teach. and It will get better. Just talk to your mentor and talk to all the other teachers too. Go observe other's lessons. Check if you've got any Advanced Skilled Teachers in your department, go observe them. You can learn so much from them.

    And also, dont worry. It will get better. I have only done a few lessons but I can feel the difference in my confidence levels compared to my first few lessons.

    I think the key is to really know your subject knowledge well, that really does boost your confidence up. Have a few spare activities planned, just incase your planA is not working out too well.

    Good luck. I have a joint observation with my subject mentor, professional mentor and my link tutor on thursday. I am very very nervous but I am just going to try my best to look and sound confident and most importantly try and make your lessons interactive and interesting. If pupils are engaged, you will receive atleast some positive feedback. :)
     
  6. Thank you so very very much, you have no idea how reassuring your post is to me, as is the knowledge that I am not alone in feeling like this. Bit gutted that there's a 3 week Christmas break when I'm just getting into the practice of teaching, but at least I'm not starting the New Year as a complete teaching virgin, now that WOULD be terrifying! :) Am continuing observations, have done a lot of that, and enjoy it and get a lot from it, as you say. And I did get praise on my subject knowledge and rapport with the students, so its not all bad. Good luck to yourself, sounds like you are doing great! And thanks for taking the time to reply to me, I know just how heavy the workload is for PGCE, I'm currently in the middle of a 2500 word essay, so I really appreciate your response.
    All the best, and many thanks.
     
  7. lily_w

    lily_w New commenter

    What you are feeling is normal. I did my PGCE last year and it is tough at the beginning, especially before you get used to being in front of a class, but it will get better. We've all had a lesson that didn't go so well and this is only your first placement so don't beat yourself up. Listen to any advice that people give you and try to take it on board. It is hard at first because sometimes it can feel like they criticise everything! Observations are tricky and they make you feel so self-conscious but you have to try and forget the nerves and put on an act. Fake confidence and eventually you will become more confident. Good luck - it's a steep learning curve but you can do it.
     
  8. That sums up my experience exactly! I've been obsessively worrying that the qualified A Level teachers who are mentoring me are just going to think I'm useless but this reply, and the others, have reassured me immensely. Looks like I needed some of the positive reinforcement we are taught to give our students :) Thats spot on re feeling like they criticise everything, I guess its something I'm just not used to.... normally you start a new job, its easy after a week or 2... any there's no criticism needed, I guess I just have to develop a thick skin and not take the criticism personally; it is there to help me develop.
    Thanks for your kind response and your support, hope things are going well for yourself.
     
  9. Before you leave for Christmas, I would ask your mentor/teachers for advice on what you need to work on. Then make sure you include the points they give you in your lesson plans for after christmas.
    The PGCE year can be really tough (I found myself crying numerous times!). I often found that I was not receiving any praise in one of my placements, so if you are being praised for the things you are doing well I wouldn't take it too badly.
    Some teachers are also not as experienced in mentoring and observing students, and some just don't want them in their class (in my experience).
    Good luck, just try your best and don't take it personally (I know it's hard not too).
     
  10. Brilliant idea re asking for advice from my mentors, my tutor will be giving me advice anyway, as I have another observation next week (yikes!). Hopefully I can show that I've improved from the one I had yesterday, and have taken the comments on board. I'm sorry to hear that you were in tears during your PGCE, I too have been sobbing my heart out tonight! Very unusual for me! This forum is fantastic, so supportive, it has cheered me up hugely.
    Thanks SO much for the kind words! Good luck to you for the future, it is people like yourself and the others that have responded that make the teaching profession so worthwhile and keep people like myself going when the going gets particularly tough.
     
  11. As long as you are willing to take their advice on board (show this in your lesson plans) I shouldn't think there would be a problem!
    These forums are really nice, I agree, so many people willing to offer advice!
    And if they don't offer you a job, don't worry - if things don't improve with them would you want to work there anyway? Look for a job somewhere nicer! Hopefully it will get better though.
     
  12. Great advice, thanks, am meeting my tutor today, then I'm going to prepare a lesson and take all the advice on board... if show that I have done this next week then that is already showing improvement I guess!
    Ha ha re job, good point well made!! Thanks for the reply, big big help.
     
  13. ihatemondays

    ihatemondays New commenter

    Hi angelclaire, I hope you had a good productive meeting with your tutor today. remember it is early days in your teaching career and your nerves are partly down to the pressure you are putting yourself under.
    As a mentor, I ask my ITT students to carry a note book, then they ask the observers to write down both strenghts and areas for development within the lesson. I also ask them to agree with the observer a couple of targets or areas to focus on for the lesson.
    I hope things improve for you, dont give up.
     

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