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Working hours and childcare during PGCE

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by PaulDG, May 1, 2012.

  1. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    In general you have to be in school all the time the school is open and for other meetings that would be directed time for staff - so you typically must be in school from 8:30 to about 3:30 (depending on the school's hours) and you should be present for the (normally weekly) pre-school meetings and will need to stay to any after school department or whole school meetings (typically one hour, starting at 4:00pm, again depending on the school and never more than once a week if that).
    I wrote should above because it's usually possible to negotiate not going to staff meetings and, some schools don't actually expect you to anyway (though going to them can be very informative for a trainee. In fact, they can be a lot more interesting to trainees than they are to staff who may well have "heard it all before"..)
    Most trainees are actually in school longer hours than the above as most find it useful to have access to the school IT systems, resources and classrooms when preparing their lessons. But you don't have to do that.
    And it is possible to negotiate not having to be present all the time the school is open. That may complicate things with getting you a placement that works, but it can be done.
     
  2. Thank you very much for replying. I am trying to get some more information out of the college who are just vaguely saying 9-5 or 8-5 which isn't really helpful. Half an hour can make a huge difference! I can get to a school or college as early as you like, it is just the leaving that is the problem. I am majorly stressed already!
     
  3. Cosmic_Rainbow

    Cosmic_Rainbow New commenter

    if you explain your situation to your uni they usually try to place you in schools close to where you live so that you can get back in time.
    also it reaslly depends on your school as to what time you are expected to leave. on my first placement you couldnt stay late as the caretakers locked the school up at 5pm so staff always left at 3:30/4ish . my second placement however stays open and i have left as late a 7pm before and staff are still here working. they also make comments about staff who do leave on the bell [​IMG]
     
  4. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I know several trainee teachers with children who have a time they need to leave by. I have never known it to be a problem - they just mention to the class teacher/person leading the staff meeting that they need to leave at 5pm to pick up little Johnny and is that ok. For parents evenings you might need to make alternative childcare arrangements, depending on the school - some might be happy for you to just attend part of the evening - but those are only a couple of times a year so it would hopefully be manageable.
    If you can make it in early in the mornings then that is great - you can show you are keen by being one of the first in, and you can get yourself organised for the day ahead. As long as you do both of those things at some point during the day then you will be just fine! I personally am not a morning person so I tend to stay later (currently in school 8am-6pm) whereas other colleagues come in at 7am but go home earlier. As a trainee I tended to leave school around 5pm, and found that this is when staff meetings tended to be over by as lots of teachers have families to return home to and don't want to spend all evening at school.
     
  5. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Actually, parents, evenings are very hard to predict for trainees.

    Depending on your placements, what year groups you have and how the placement school calendars work out you could end up doing half a dozen parents' evenings in each placement!
     
  6. I'm finishing my PGCE Biology and have found it really tough this year. We got an au pair in for the year (we aren't rich) because it was cheaper and more convenient than childcare for our two daughters (aged 4 and 6) . Its not so much the hours - they are fine. Most tutors will try to make sure you get a school within decent commuting distance so taht you can do the school run. (mine both got chicken pox over a 3 week period - that was FUN not).
    The more challenging thing is finding time to do all the lesson planning and preparation. You have no idea how much time that takes until you start. I get home for 6, put the girls to bed, read etc, sort washing, school bags and eventually get down to work around 9pm - then get up at 5.30 to get to school by 7.30. Then on the weekend when childless PGCE students get to go drinking maybe and spend Sunday studying. We are shunting children here and there. Balance life and family has never been so difficult!
     
  7. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    One of the things about being a teacher is "Every Child Matters".

    Except your own.
     
  8. internationalschools

    internationalschools New commenter

    I would be very careful following some of the advice given, as every school is different. In my school, it would definitely not be OK to not attend staff meetings as a student, or to say you have to leave them early because you have a child, as everyone is expected to attend them. I can see their point - it wouldn't be very fair on those without children if half the staff up and leave half way through a meeting and they are stuck there till the end. As a PGCE student you will be hopefully keen to work hard and get the full teacher experience.
    However, on the positive side, in our school you can leave anytime after the bell if there isn't a meeting - I leave at 4 on the dot most days (albeit with a large bag of marking to do at home!). Our management accept that some people choose to work ont he premises, others prefer to work at home - the work still gets done. If you do leave early, I would tend to bring it up conversationally that you have a pile of marking to do that night so they know you are still working hard.
     
  9. Can you stay at school to mark and plan? I would much rather stay until 6pm than to take work home where there are lots of distractions.
     
  10. Marking and planning can be done in school at end of the day but some schools (especially PFI) may close at a set time because otherwise it costs them more! My uni tutor advised get in for 7.30 - 8, set up, classroom, mark during lessons (self or TA or kids as appropriate) and mark at break, sort room at lunch and mark for half of it BUT take a break. Mark during pm lessons then plan and photocopy etc until 5. - 5.30. DO NOT take anything home.
    Sounds great but never quite worked out for me - good luck if you manage it!
     
  11. Thanks supermum! How do you mark during lessons? Are you not teaching then?
     
  12. There is no simple single answer to your question. Do discuss your situation in full with your tutor and they will, I'm sure, be as accommodating as they can - so will most schools who know that you have responsibilities. I advise my trainees that when on placement 8am - 5pm is the norm. Then there will be parent evenings and the odd day (INSET) where they may finish a 4pm.
    You will have to try and sort childcare arrangements, but don't sping things on the university, they have a huge job fitting students to places and a sudden - oh by the way IO can't go there because I drop my own off at 8am in a school in the oppostie direction... causes all sorts of hassle.
    The Sage
     
  13. I'm nearing the end of a Biology PGCE. I've had my children in childcare from 8am - 6pm, and having had two fairly local schools, have been fine. We have one later session each week (uni based rather than school based), and for that I've needed childcare help occasionally, but luckily my mum helped out there.
    My husband works away, so it's possible to do it without the help of a partner. However, I've needed all the help I can get at weekends. The times when I've had two children to look after (5&7) as well as plan / mark etc have been horrific.
    Parents evenings - I've attended more than I needed to. One school started them at 4, and were happy for me to leave at 5:30pm for my pick up. The other went on later, so I had to get a babysitter. We only have to attend a few though.
     
  14. Thanks for all your replies. College have advised me to treat the course as a full time job (ermmmm, yes I was planning to) and that they try to place people with children in a school near to home. I'm well used to trying to fit work around a child as I've been doing it for the past 6 years, but it's always stressful coming into a new situation when you don't know the expectations. Husband has had a chat with his boss and hopefully he will be understanding. We have no local family whatsoever so I can't rely on that as a back up!
     

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