PGCE support thread

(57 Posts)
pgcestudent Fri 09-Nov-12 18:10:47

Hi All
Sorry if there already is one of these, but I couldn't find one and thought others might also appreciate a place to get support, share tips and let off some steam.

So, I'll start... I am doing a secondary PGCE and am currently on my first placement. School seems nice and I have taken a couple of full lessons so far. However, I am getting somewhat demoralised as even though my lessons were not perfect by any means (I am still learning though ffs), my mentor only ever seems to go through things I need to work on to improve my lessons next time but never actually mentions anything which might have gone well (or even ok).

So, am I being oversensitive? Should I just take the fact that he only ever mentions things to improve as a hint to just give up now? or what? I ended up going to the toilets to cry after my last meeting despite feeling that my lesson prior to the meeting was reasonable (not brilliant, but not too bad considering had never met the group before and was teaching in a room I had never been in before).

Sorry, that is such a long whingy post, but the constant focusing on what needs to be improveds without even mentioning even small things which might be ok, is really getting to me.

FromEsme Fri 09-Nov-12 19:17:08

Hi there, I'm on my first placement too but doing Primary.

Could you have a word with your tutor at the end of the next lesson and say something like "and what went well?" I wouldn't take it too personally, it's probably a case of wanting to point out where you can improve more than anything.

I personally actually hate my school. The kids are great, but morale is low, the teacher chats with the TA at the back of the class during my lessons, behaviour management consists of shouting and talking down to the children. There's very little focus on learning. My mentor - well, I've seen her once for about 5 minutes and I've been in for more than a month.

I'm just trying to keep my head down and get on with it. Before I started I was teaching ESL so I know that I'm not a terrible teacher. I'm a VERY frustrated one at the moment though as I feel I'm not doing my best and have very little support.

pgcestudent Fri 09-Nov-12 19:52:05

Hello, FromEsme. Sorry to hear your school is not good and you have little support. Have you had any formal observations yet? If so, how have they gone? How much longer are you in your current school? I am in mine until Christmas, so not long and we find out where placement 2 is next week.

I am dreading my formal observations though as I've had very little experience (though am a career changer) but they seem to expect brilliance from the start, instead of just that was OK, but you could have improved it with x,y,z. Tons of coursework to be handed in soon too.

FromEsme Fri 09-Nov-12 20:59:40

Not had ANY observation. My teacher says she'll observe me then wanders off or chats to the TA. My college tutor is aware and says to plough on. I've told her it's important, that she must do it: nothing. She hasn't given me any feedback, when I ask how I'm doing she says "oh when you get your observation, make sure that's the really good lesson, that's what matters." She doesn't give a damn, basically, about me or her class.

I'm only in school til Christmas too, thank God, but then we're not in again til April. And yes, ASSIGNMENTS, er, when the hell are you supposed to have time to do those? I have 6000 words and a practical task to do by mid-January!

I wouldn't worry about brilliance, seriously. A lot of our tutors have been a bit like that, but others have said to treat first placement like a practice and try out things to see what works. Those are the tutors I respect, they have realistic expectations and they tend to be the ones who are good teachers themselves.

pgcestudent Fri 09-Nov-12 21:39:58

I thought by law they had to remain within the classroom or easily accessible whilst students are teaching? It is dreadful if she is not around at all!

I have a 3000 word essay to complete by start january, another 3000 word one for a month later and a 6000 word dissertation for june.

Is your second school at a contrasting place to your first? Ours is supposed to be, which for me could mean anything!

FromEsme Sun 11-Nov-12 09:43:04

She is always in the classroom: just not really paying attention to what's going on (unless it's to yell at the kids.)

Our second placement has to be a different key stage, not sure if it has to be a different type of school.

FromEsme Mon 12-Nov-12 17:38:21

We can't be the only two PGCE-ers. Anyone else about?

OP, did you chat with your mentor today? Any improvements?

EcoLady Mon 12-Nov-12 19:42:31

Just wanted to say "hang in there"!

I started my PGCE (Primary KS2) last year but needed to retake my final placement. I've been in yr 6 doing that this term.

Today they signed the form for my QTS grin

It's a long slog but you will get there. Sometimes it is with the help of great mentors, sometimes despite the lack of help from poor mentors ... but you WILL get there :-)

pgcestudent Mon 12-Nov-12 21:04:58

Thanks, Ecolady, it is good to hear.

Esme, sorry for deserting the thread, I had a ton of planning to get done for today so I was up until stupid o'clock last night trying to get through it. On the plus side, apparently the lesson my mentor saw today was "much better" (could have fooled me - I thought it was much worse!), whereas the one he didn't see completely went to pot.... Argh!

On the plus side, sometimes I am vaguely getting a glimmer of understanding as to what I should be doing. This will have vanished by the end of the week of course, when I have my next formal meeting... I am also having a formal observation next week. I am so blooming nervous it is unreal - especially as the kids are just starting to test my boundaries now.

How is it going for you?

EcoLady Mon 12-Nov-12 22:48:58

Oh, and planning gets faster and easier too :-)

pgcestudent Tue 13-Nov-12 19:40:57

Thank god for that!

Got another late night lined up for tonight. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ I am so tired.

pgcestudent Wed 14-Nov-12 17:08:32

What a thoroughly, thoroughly shit day. It was almost farcial (sp?)

FromEsme Wed 14-Nov-12 18:30:05

Oh dear, what went so wrong?

I have my university observation next week. The only time my tutor can come in is during a PE lesson or during art, neither of which I've ever done before. Would I be mad to do it during PE, considering I've NO experience of teaching it?

Any ideas guys?

pgcestudent Wed 14-Nov-12 21:28:13

Just overtired from several nights with only 4 hours or less sleep due to lesson planning, feeling ill and then to top it off, I read my timetable wrong and failed to show up to a lesson blush, so my mentor was (quite rightly) majorly pissed off and I was majorly pissed off with myself to mess up like that. Gah!

pgcestudent Wed 14-Nov-12 21:34:05

On the subject of your university observation though - I guess the main things they will be looking for at this stage are things like your interaction with the children, your ability to plan out what you are doing with them and your ability to keep them under control as well as wider involvement with school life (i.e. from chatting to you and/or your ITE coordinator). I'd stick with whichever one you feel more comfortable with even if you haven't given it before. PE is possibly safer I imagine., Less things to potentially go wrong!

FromEsme Wed 14-Nov-12 23:10:01

Oops, that's a shame you missed the class. I'm sure it happens though, so hopefully they'll forget all about it by next week.

How on earth are you doing so much work that you only get 4 hours sleep? It sounds like you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself. I try to keep lesson planning to a minimum, see what works and what doesn't rather than stressing out about everything being perfect.

Hm, my involvement with school life is practically nil, I hate the place and am out of there as soon as possible. The thing I'm worried about in PE is the idea of two of the kids running into each other and getting concussion or something. They have absolutely no self-control.

SandStorm Wed 14-Nov-12 23:15:08

I'm not doing a pgce - I'm doing a GTP. Got my first uni ob this week. She's coming to observe a maths lesson which would be fine but it's not been going great so far this week. Last week's lessons went a bit tits up but slowly back on the up now.

Fingers crossed and keep smiling I think is the answer.

pgcestudent Thu 15-Nov-12 18:26:57

Hi SandStorm - GTP's count too!

Are you doing primary?

SandStorm Thu 15-Nov-12 20:01:16

Upper KS2 here. Uni ob tomorrow (maths). I've had a mixed time with my maths but I had a really good lesson today so I just need to repeat it tomorrow. I've got a mixed year 5/6 class so lots and lots of differentiation.

pgcestudent Thu 15-Nov-12 20:13:20

Dumb question, but you know when we get observed, is it based on the stage we are in training or on say the same criteria experienced teachers would be judged on for e.g. on ofsted inspection?

Good luck SandStorm!

FromEsme Thu 15-Nov-12 20:25:44

Good question. Looking at our inspection criteria it doesn't really seem fair. There are things like "all children are learning/some children are learning/children aren't learning" and the inspector picks one of those.

Well in my class loads of the time some children aren't learning because my teacher doesn't teach them or just gives them things to copy down. When I try to do anything that isn't just copying, they have no idea how to do it because they've never worked independently.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 15-Nov-12 20:31:22

When we have trainees in, they get written feedback on every lesson they teach. There is always a teacher in the room, so there is always feedback to be given.

TwllBach Thu 15-Nov-12 20:34:57

I'm not doing a pgce - I'm an NQT - but I just wanted to say keep going! It is genuinely the best job in the world grin I remember feeling like I didn't have a clue, and I think for the most part I'll always be learning, but honestly it's so rewarding. Keep on keeping on!

FromEsme Thu 15-Nov-12 20:53:55

TheFallenMadonna your school sounds great. I have to beg my teacher for feedback and when she finally gives it, she doesn't really say anything.

I'm starting to get the feeling the school have put me in there because she is so crap that they want someone to support her. It seems so unfair.

pgcestudent Thu 15-Nov-12 21:44:05

I get written feedback after each lesson and this is great, the oral feedback though tends to vary from one teacher to another. One for example tries to balance out all the improve this, improve that with this went well, liked that idea and so on. Another tends to only focus on feeding back improvement targets which can be a bit demoralising.

In addition to this though, we also have formal observations where we get graded. I'm not really sure how this is graded though iyswim.

Twllbach, glad to hear there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now