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Want to quit PGCE :(

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Bobdog, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. You need to have a long chat with your personal tutor at Uni. Just about every PGCE student has doubts at some time during the course about whether teaching is really for them (usually after a day with a difficult class and a lesson that went wrong). Most of these work through the difficulties, have better days, and carry on to successfully complete the course. However, for some people, withdrawal from the course is the right option. This should never be regarded as 'failure'. The PGCE is an educational experience - and the person being educated is YOU. You're finding out things about yourself, what you're good at, what you're not so good at. You're developing new skills. You're discovering what you enjoy about work (and what you don't). If, in the end, you decide that teaching is not for you that's fine - you've learnt something about yourself. Your tutor will have had dozens of conversations of this kind over the years and will be an effective counsellor, helping you to think and talk though the issues you face, and helping you to make a decision about whether your current feelings are a 'blip' from which you will recover, or whether teaching really is the wrong profession for you. Whatever you decide is fine - do what is right for you.
  2. Your first placement sounds exactly like mine! I started my PGCE in
    Sept and enjoyed every moment of it until my first placement. It was a
    negative environment, within my second week of the placement my class
    teacher said that I should think about whether 'teaching was for me'.
    This began a downward spiral and I too lost all confidence. On speaking
    to my personal tutor, her advice was to go to the pub and get drunk/
    think about whether teaching was the right profession for me
    (helpful!). As a trainee I was prepared and welcomed constructive criticism,
    however, all I receieved was criticism and no advice on how to
    improve. I was and still am really disappointed with the 'help and
    advice' I received from my course provider. As a trainee you invest and
    sacrifice a lot to do a PGCE. My course provider would always tell us
    that we had a responsibility to them to conduct ourselves in a
    professional manner- does this not also apply to them?
    I have
    since decided to defer my course until next year. I am now volunteering
    in some schools, which has been amazing! I now enjoy being in the
    classroom again, and I am taking the opportunity to learn from the great
    teachers I am now working with. I have learnt so much in the past
    couple of months and my subject knowledge is so much better. My
    confidence is also beginning to come back! I put this down to being in
    supportive and encouraging environments. I don't know if this is an
    option that may help you, and it was one I struggled with(I was worried
    what people would think etc) but life really is too short to worry about
    other people's opinions. If it means I will have a successful and
    enjoyable career, but just a year later then expected- I'll take
    Only you can decide what is best for you, just don't think you're the only one feeling the way you do.

  3. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    You're new...and it's a hard job. I'd say two things - don't expect every lesson to be a wonder of education, sometimes it's well worth planning out a few "bog standard" lessons since that's all you will have time for in the future.
    An observer will see all sorts of things you don't - some based on the fact they're just watching (Little Jimmy scrawling in his book) or on their experience (Was that the right question for that EAL kid?). It also wouldn't surprise me that your tiredness/stress is present in your delivery.
    Let them...then ignore them. You're doing what you think is right for you - PGCE students have the benefit of more time to really nail down stuff your average classroom teacher can only do very briefly. You're organised because you have the time to do so - they've probably forgotten the days when they could afford themselves the time to get all the planning and marking done like you have (speaking of which, I really should get that year 7 marking finished...).
    As a tip - compromise. It sounds like you are doing too much and understandably it's getting to you. Get some resources from the internet, do a few "normal" lessons when you're not getting formally observed and make sure you reuse your own resources whenever possible.
  4. I'm on week 4 of a 5 week placement and I have felt very similar twice already during the placement. I'm ok now purely because I can see the light at the end and I know I'm going to pass, but I often have those thoughts that I'm just not cut out for it.

    Thing is, I'm in a very young class (FS/KS1) and despite the amount of planning and differentiation needed I still find that the key to success with them is to have 'the hat' on every day, that is to be enthusiastic, to talk to them in the right way and to have tonnes of confidence. Some days I just don't have that and the class really do respond to it. But then if I do have it, I have a great time. It's annoying because I can't always control how I feel each and every day, but thankfully I've had more good days than bad and for that reason I'm just into the 'good' category. I have satisfactory elements though; my behaviour management is awful (due to confidence) and I find assessment during a lesson very difficult. It's also a very unorganised, unstructured environment and things get left everywhere with not enough space (classroom far too small) so children often have to work on the floor with whiteboards. It's almost like I'm being pecked at every day not just by the children, but all sorts of other things. If there's anything I can't complain about, it's the fact I have very supportive colleagues and so far I've not really experienced any level of 'bitching' or the like. In fact it probably does happen but I don't even think about it. It's just not worth it anyway, I'm training, and I'm doing ok according to my mentor.

    Take it on the chin, grin and bear it, literally. Do what you can to get through it because right now you don't really have time to be making decisions to quit and I really wouldn't into a placement in case you regret it. You might feel differently after a great lesson.
  5. Notwithstanding

    Notwithstanding New commenter

    I have quit the PGCE as I was feeling very much the same way. That was the right decision FOR ME, but may not be for you and your own unique situation, so definitely speak to your course tutor. Feel free to drop me a PM.
  6. The best advice I can give is to roll back a bit on the time you are spending planning and marking etc. You NEED to have 'you' time. PGCE is tough, no doubt, but staying up until 2am is going beyond the call of duty. You need to work hard, of course, but you also need to work smart. Can you reuse a resource? Are there resources or worksheets in school that mean you can plan a lesson in less time than it takes you to teach it? Sleep deprivation causes stress, and probably more stress than faffing over planning a perfect lesson plan

    Make sure you give yourself some time off each week, and make sure you get some time each evening to do something you enjoy (eating a ready meal while you mark books and watch a documentary about OFSTED doesn't count). Unless there was a book trawl, or an especially important observation on the Monday, I kept Friday and Saturdays completely work free

    Remember that each school is different as well. Some trainee's mentors will just sign off on observations without giving any proper feedback and allow them to be outstanding because it makes them look better as mentors. Others will do everything by the book, give criticism, feedback, and honest appraisal. Don't worry about what other people are doing. Focus on meeting your targets, ask for help when you need it, and don't be shy about going to the pub on a Wednesday if you just need to unwind!
  7. I'll keep this short as there is a lot of advice already - talk to your uni tutor. You must tell him/her how you feel and get an objective perspective on whatyou are going through. Remember that we all go through highs and lows. This is a difficult time and like a pupils going from primary to secondary you are feeling the change. Talk toi your tutor and/or a student adviser and do nothing rash!
  8. ILoveTeaching

    ILoveTeaching New commenter

    I am sorry you are having such a bad time. I thought I would give you some advice from the point of view of a school based mentor for ITT students. I have worked with many trainee teachers over the years (Some great and some not) and it can be difficult to give feedback to trainees without them feeling totally deflated, bullied, etc. I always try to balance my feedback with lots of positives too. Surely if the kids are enjoying your lessons then your mentor should be pointing out all the teaching standards that you are clearly meeting in each of your lessons? Is your feedback all negative, or are you just remembering the negative bits?
    I agree with other posters that it is a really hard job, particularly at the start. All I can say is stick at it! Once you start your NQT year you will be observed far less and really find yourself as a teacher. I found that from halfway through my NQT year all the fuss was over and I just got on with it and it got easier and easier by the year. Yes it is still hard work, but I really do believe that you are in the hardest part....
    Keep the faith, nod and agree during your lesson feedback, get QTS, get a job and it will all be easier next year. :) Hope it works out for you.
  9. Only you know what is right for you but I had to reply as I really empathise. I went through a similar bad placement and was repeatedly told that I needed to work out whether teaching was for me. I had been certain that it was but my placement mentors really put doubts into my head. When I started my next placement my confidence was completely shot and I felt sick at the prospect of having to plan and teach lessons in a similar environment. I made myself ill over the whole situation. But, my new mentor was really lovely so I was honest with her and explained how low I felt. She was great and slowly she helped me rebuild my confidence. If your doubts are due to your previous placement, I suggest that you be brave and just go for it! If you're in a supportive school they will help you by giving you feedback in the 'correct' way - constructive criticism rather than constantly negative feedback. If they do that, your doubts should start to melt away. The alternative is to defer your placement - it's not a choice between quit or carry on now.
    Good luck with whatever you decide. If you ever want to chat feel free to send me a PM.
  10. Hi I was wondering if OP is still around to let us know what they decided to do and how they are doing now? This is EXACTLY the position I am in now, the same point in the course, same first placement, same feelings, EVERYTHING! It would be nice to see what decision they make.
  11. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    looking form the other end of the telescope with 20+ years teaching behind me. I now work on supply, some schools seem to give their students a far far harder time that I was given. Some teachers seem to have forgotten what it is like to be young and nervous.
    The biggest advice I could give you is to actively take notice of the advice they give you and be seen to act upon it. So a different placement may work better for you.
    Having said that, it does not get easier as an NQT AND crucially, experienced teachers seem to be treated just as badly in many schools.
    Some school "leaders" seem to delight in being tougher than Ofsted, hoping that this will lead to an "outstanding" medal for them to wear in their future career.
    do you need to teach right now, maybe you would do better with some none-educational establishment experience following some years working away from schools?
    Have you ever been away from schools where there is no work to take home every night?

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