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Why you SHOULD teach in secondary schools :)

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by sparkle90, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. Hi all
    This forum is so negative lately! I'm loving my PGCE and wanted to put it out there that it's not all bad. At the end of the day it's what you make of it. And I haven't had the perfect time - my first placement wasn't all that so don't think I have had it easy. If you want to do it - go for it.

    Someone on here has been promoting their rather miserable blog. So, I have responded to it myself with my 10 reasons with why secondary teaching is great. And I'm sure primary is fun too for those who do it (don't want to leave you guys out!).

    Any other positive comments are much welcome on this post! Share your good experiences!
    Will paste mine below...
  2. 1. The Workload is not immenseWhen you are on the PGCE you teach between 8-13 huors a week depending on what your uni guidelines are and how confident you feel. I am teaching about 12, and as I am lucky enough to get to repeat some of my psychology lessons as I have 2 classes, it dramatically cuts down the planning J most mentors will be accommodating of this. If they don’t offer this – just ask.You will be expected to work a lot when you do your NQT. But this really depends on the school. Many will already have schemes of work in place so you can use them rather than start everything from scratch. Also, if you know what classes you are going to teach before the summer holidays, use your time wisely and plan then. And remember not every lesson has to be amazing. Sometimes, my classes make posters or answer questions from a text book. If it’s once in a while, it’s fun! My mentors and uni tutor stress the importance of not overdoing it. And often, less is more! 2. Poor Behaviour of Students isn’t in every single class Behaviour is secondary schools in England varies. Same with primary. But hey, nothing new there! Don’t believe what you read in the media about 99% secondary school pupils hurling chairs around the classroom and 99% of teachers having mental breakdowns. It’s such a ridiculous exaggeration. I am by no means an expert on behaviour management, but observing good teachers, having good advice from uni tutors and reading the book ‘Getting the *** to behave’ means I’m getting there, and excited to start fresh with my own classes in my NQT year. I currently teach a year 11 class with a good few pupils with criminal records! They're lovely and you wouldn't know it. So don't expect the worse, a school may look bad, but look closely and chances are you'll be pleasantly surprised.
    3. Don’t get your knickers in a twist about management Yes, some senior staff are annoying and introduce silly policies. Find me one workplace that doesn’t happen? Right then. So it’s not just schools. And at the end of the day, so long as your pupils are behaving and learning, most school will be happy for you to use your own techniques in the classroom. 4. Chill out about performanceThere has always been pressure on teachers to achieve targets. If your class receive dramatically lower than expected results, yes you will have to explain why. But you can’t sit the exam for them and if you show you have taught them just as well as all your other classes then fine! Students do feel pressure, but that’s the nature of exams. Write to the government if you have the time! Again, don’t read the headlines – 99% of teachers do NOT cheat with exams. How would they do that exactly? And controlled assessment/coursework has been mostly cut out. 5. ObservationsLesson observations when you are a qualified teacher happen about once a term. As an NQT they are more regular, and almost every lesson as a student teacher – but you get used to it and they feedback is helpful usually. Some schools do check to make sure you are marking books, but so long as this is done at reasonable intervals (as any normal teacher would) then again - no biggie!
    6. Lots of Flexibility in Lessons
    Some schools will have schemes of work in place – don’t complain – save yourself time and follow them as its less planning for you! If you don’t like the way something is supposed to be taught, or you have done it really well in another school, talk to the head of dept and I’m sure they’d be happy for you to give it a go if they are confident in your teaching ability. 7. Being in the Public Eye

    Teachers are seen as professionals. Whilst for people who live extremely close to the school they are working at this may be more of a worry, I’m sure a lot of people rarely bump into pupils. Keep your facebook/twitter/anything else on the maximum privacy settings. And don’t go to pubs that sixth formers may go to (why would you want to anyway?). 8. Teaching other SubjectsYou may be asked to teach additional subjects. This can be a challenge if you know little about the subject, but schools are more likely to want to use your talents! Teaching extra subjects is great for your CV, breaks up your week if you’re tired of teaching the same thing and will most likely have some resources available already. 9. Pensions and pay – a big issue at the moment
    I can’t sit here and say I agree with the governments proposed changes to pensions. It’s awful. But its not going to stop me teaching. Clearly most people don’t do it for the money! And hey there is plenty of time before student teachers retire for it to change again. Can’t say much about pay freezes as I haven’t looked into it, but look at the pay scale – in your first few years your pay goes up each year. Plus you can get more money for more responsibility. Not all doom and gloom now!10. Don’t know what to call this random point?Teachers want pupils to get good exam results and experience so they can get good jobs in the future. This point on the blog seemed a bit random to make it up to 10 about conformity etc. You can have your own goals for what you want your pupils to achieve!
    <u>Hope some of you out there agree with me! I've written this quickly in about 15 minutes so apologies for any typos.</u>
  3. The Negativity on these forums is so upsetting to see..I have seen the miserable post to which you refer and to be honest they are all points that can be raised and adapted to any profession....

    I love your 10 Reasons to teach...

    I start my PGCE in September....and to be honest the horror stories have NOT put me off!! But knowing that there are still positive people like your self make me eager to start :D
  4. jaimexuk

    jaimexuk New commenter

    I've only got 9 weeks of my PGCE left, yet the horror stories on here still put me off. Hahahaha
  5. katnoodle

    katnoodle New commenter

    Well done sparkle90! As an NQT I agree with your points. I'm at a fantastic school with teachers who have been there since before I was born (and I'm no spring chicken) and if they're still enjoying the job then it can't be that bad. You just need to learn to cope with the workload, and experience will make you better at behaviour management and planning. The only thing I really wish would go so very much away is the marking - but with 16 different classes a week I do have it worse than most!
  6. Brilliant Sparkle, thank's so much, this is DEFINITELY the kind of posts I want to be seeing in anticipation of starting my Seconday PGCE =D

    Oh and I totally agree about the negativity. It's a shame, but I wouldn't let anybody elses bad experiences put me off.
  7. Job well done sparkle, thanks for the positivity.

    I have read all the disheartening posts but I have every intention of taking my pgce experience on its own merits. I am well aware of the pitfalls (parents both worked in public sector). I'm also aware that like any other profession\job it will have its rubbish days. Thank you for reminding myself and other alike why secondary teaching is brilliant!!
  8. s249

    s249 New commenter

    I totally agree with you too Sparkle.
    I too love my PGCE.
    There are so many more reasons to teach in a secondary school, and I feel that you are spot on with yours too!
  9. MizUnderstood

    MizUnderstood New commenter

    Wow - wish I was only teaching 8-13 hours per week! I think the gaps are slightly wider than that!
    With my provider I started on 12 hours back in October, my second practice was 16 hours and am about to start my final teaching practice which is 20 hours - the same as an NQT.
    AND we don't finish until July!
    As much as I love my course I am looking forward to just teaching as an NQT without thinking about assignments, that's what gives so much extra work on the PGCE, especially those of us that need to be writing them at the same time as doing teaching practice.
  10. katnoodle

    katnoodle New commenter

    MizUnderstood, you sound like you'll be well prepared to make a good start with your NQT year. I see a lot of posts from NQTs who are struggling, and lots of them state that they got 'outstanding' observation grades as a trainee. Unfortunately your practice often dips when faced with the sheer volume of planning and marking, and you can't plan whizzy lessons so often. Good luck!
  11. nandos33

    nandos33 New commenter

    Great thread! It's so nice to get a balanced/more positive view. I start my PGCE in September and while it wasn't putting me off, the tales of never seeing your partner/children while on the PGCE were making me feel rather daunted!
  12. Thank you for everyone who took the time to read it, and I'm so glad there's lots of you that haven't been put off! Made my morning. It wouldn't have put me off either, teaching is what I always wanted to do, but I just don't want people thinking that their dream career is going to end up to be super stressful and make you feel worthless. Yes some people will drop out along the way, but it's not for everybody.
    As for PGCE hours, I couldn't speak for every institution. So yes some will be more, and whilst I have enjoyed only teaching about 13 hours, I know I'll get a shock in September but that's to be expected. What will shock me more is actually being responsible for a class all on your own, no mentor sitting in the corner at the back. But it's exciting!
    Good luck to everyone who is starting a PGCE or NQT year in September :)

  13. Thanks for the thread, it's nice to know that there are some student teachers out there who don't hate what they do, it's not good for them or the children! Good luck finding an NQT post :)
  14. Thank goodness we have somewhere to share the good things about our PGCE and not the naff things for a change. It has to be the mark of any successful teacher to be able to see the positive side of things. Case in point:

    I had to keep a student (y7) behind in class at breaktime because he shoved another student. This student has autism and is very much- my way or the high way. The library lesson is also used to try and get students interested in wider reading. One of the texts I used was the Tom Becker novel "Darkside". So we used his detention to talk about what texts he enjoyed this lesson- he left with his nose buried deep in "Darkside". Reading 1, TV 0!
  15. I agree with this post as well. I think I may be one of the few PGCE students to dare say they have been enjoying the course. I have had two excellent placements and worked with wonderful members of staff. The one piece of advice I have for future students is to be very organised....do all assignments on time and ensure you collect your evidence for your standards in a timely nature...then you will not have all the horror stories you have been reading about in some of the forums. Basically be organised guys...also have fun and relax on placement....remember no one is perfect....

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