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.

Bumpstart Thu 15-Nov-12 23:29:14

Hi, I m a teacher and i currently am the mentor of a young lady doing her detlls, which is for life long learning [adults]

I do't give her written feedback every time, but I do give her absolutely loads of advice, support encouragement etc, to the point where it is a major distraction from my own work. I am giving her lots of support now in the hope that she will gain confidence from it and be a genuine asset to the team before the end of the placement.

I am sorry to hear that some of you are having a difficult placement. I have colleagues who I would never expect to mentor a trainee, as they just don't know how to engage in supporting someone in this way.

Teacher trainers are really a special breed, and if you think your tutor at university is good, then you are lucky. I'm not sure I could be one.

Best of luck with all the assignments!

pgcestudent Sun 18-Nov-12 16:04:53

Thanks bumpstart. It is useful to have views from the "other side".

Thankfully the end of my week went slightly better - though that may have been my mentor taking pity!

Still, trundling on... (and spending Sunday afternoon planning lessons...)

I hope all is well with everyone else.

FromEsme Tue 20-Nov-12 22:45:18

Oh dear, had a really bad observation today sad My tutor underlined two elements as not meeting the standards. I'm so embarrassed - I actually started crying in his office sad

I'm just so stressed. My class teacher is really unpleasant. She simply doesn't care at all. She uses no behaviour management - so I'm not sure how I'm expected to. I spose I just have to go for it, this is the element my tutor picked up on.

I feel really dreadful and stupid about all of this sad

pgcestudent Wed 21-Nov-12 17:02:08

Oh no, Esme. If it is any consolation, I had an observation today with the normal class teacher which was a big pile of poo. I suspect that many things didn't meet the standard (to the point she didn't give me feedback yet). The whole class were a nightmare, I kept 4 in for detention afterwards, the level of the work was too high for them and one of the ones I kept for detention tried to threaten me. Thankfully I have no planning to do tonight, but I'm verging on the giving up side of things atm.

FromEsme Wed 21-Nov-12 18:28:57

Oh dear, sorry to hear you had a bad day. I am feeling better today and you will be soon too, I'm sure. I think it's a bit of a rollercoaster like that.

Nice one on having no planning - can you do something nice instead? I'm working through The Hunger Games as my relaxation time.

Don't give up though! Just think, however shit it is, you can make it through the year and then you'll have the qualification. You don't HAVE to teach in the end.

Is there anyone on your course you can contact for support? Or someone at university? Ours do drop in sessions every week. Our head of department said that he has seen so many people cry at these sessions that we're not to worry about getting emotional!

SandStorm Wed 21-Nov-12 20:13:29

I'm at uni this week and one of the things that has been said to me by a lecturer is that (and I quote) "everyone has crap lessons". This was a teacher of 40+ years experience as both a teacher and head. It was really nice to hear because most of the time we're being told how we have to be so on top of everything, all the time. And actually, we can't. We've only been at this for 2 months.

My observations have been okay so far (my appalling lesson wasn't being observed thank heavens, but was still the subject of discussion in the staffroom afterwards). Just remember, if you're outstanding now, where do you go?

We will do this! When I get down I just remind myself how many people apply for PGCEs/GTPs and how few actually get offered a place.

pgcestudent Wed 21-Nov-12 21:41:21

Very true, SandStorm. I guess I'm feeling a bit demoralised as all the other students in my school are loving it and getting great obs. Then someone from my course put as his status on Facebook how he'd just an observation and got goods with some outstandings and had been told how great he was. Now, sorry to sound bitter, but those kinds of comments to a blanket audience are not the most sensitive for those who've had a shitty day sad.

FromEsme Wed 21-Nov-12 21:58:01

pgcestudent yes, I find it REALLY annoying when people are like YAY I'M DOING SO WELL! It's very insensitive and I never do it. I really think people need to take step back and think about how others might be feeling.

EcoLady Wed 21-Nov-12 22:12:12

My final two days as a trainee ... and we've got Ofsted coming in!

I'm solo in my class as my mentor is covering another yr for someone signed off sick.

pgcestudent Wed 21-Nov-12 22:14:49

It wouldn't be so bad I think, if they were equally as quick to share their 'downs' as their 'ups'.

Anyway, let's hope tomorrow is better all round!

I had an email from my tutor today that she will come and observe a lesson next week - all fine and well, but she picked my worst group when I am doing stuff with them that doesn't fit into the observation-friendly 3-part lesson... Hooray!

pgcestudent Wed 21-Nov-12 22:16:37

Good luck, Eco. Sorry, I didn't mean to ignore you, just cross-posted. Do you know if Ofsted are planning to observe your lesson?

EcoLady Wed 21-Nov-12 22:24:37

I can expect them to drop in as part of their touring around. They may want to talk to me about the way the school has supported my training.

It's quite exciting really - I've been signed off as passing QTS, so I have nothing to lose and can gain from the experience.

pgcestudent Thu 22-Nov-12 19:29:09

How were Ofsted, Eco?

I just got my details of my second placement and they have decided to place me in a school which was in special measures until this summer. I am going to complain.

FromEsme Thu 22-Nov-12 20:49:31

Wow pgcestudent that's tough...

EcoLady Thu 22-Nov-12 21:41:44

A school that has just come out of SM is likely to be doing the very best of everything. Weak staff will have gone and everyone will be striving for improvements. It's probably a great place to train!

I've had a 'normal' school, a 'fraiffully naice' school and a 'more challenging' school. I learnt the most in the challenging one, had the best Mentor there and the most supportive atmosphere.

It's where I'm being Ofsted'ed now and I will be very sad to leave them :-(

pgcestudent Wed 28-Nov-12 19:18:32

Hi all - everyone still hanging in there?

Got an obs. tomorrow, not looking forward to it and certainly not prepared! The subject is very dull as and dry and the group is my worst. Gulp!

pgcestudent Thu 29-Nov-12 18:17:52

Hi guys.

Just popped in to say obs went great. It is such a relief!

How are you doing?

EcoLady Thu 29-Nov-12 18:26:14

Well done pgcestudent!

My final placement school have given me my first bit of supply teaching this week :-)

pgcestudent Thu 29-Nov-12 19:34:39

That's great. It must be good to actually be earning after all the effort of qualifying!

FromEsme Fri 30-Nov-12 20:11:55

Oh dear, truly awful day sad My teacher has suddenly decided she's going to be helpful and when I had a meeting with her and my tutor she made out I'd been really lazy about asking for help. Such bollocks. I know my tutor had a word with her before and now she's trying to pass the buck and make it look like it's my fault I'm not doing that well.

Really pissed off.

Leafmould Fri 30-Nov-12 20:25:01

Oh dear esme, I am so sorry you are not being supported by your teacher. Hopefully you will have contact with other teachers soon who are able to offer you their full support.

EcoLady Fri 30-Nov-12 20:40:31

Oh Esme, poor you. My first mentor was crap too, I just didn't realise how poor they had been until I got a better one. Chin up - you WILL get through this. You ARE learning and you ARE making progress :-)

FromEsme Fri 30-Nov-12 20:43:08

Thanks for your support - I'm feeling really shit about this.

pgcestudent Sun 02-Dec-12 13:57:25

Hi Esme - I tried to post a reply several times, but my tablet kept eating it! Not sure what was happening there.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I hope you are feeling better about things. Just remember, if your course is like mine, you don't have much longer to go in your current school, so try to grit your teeth and get out of it what you can - you'll be in another school soon.

Also, have you tried taking notes about your mentor? For example, when you have approached her for help, write down exactly when you approached her, what you asked her for and what her response was. Also, try to be as visible as you can when asking for help from her, so that other members of staff see you asking her for stuff and she will therefore be forced to respond. Just make sure you gather evidence that it is her, not you who is being uncooperative as asking for help to improve teaching comes under teacher standard number 8, which you will need to evidence that you do this at the end of the course (if your course is set up like mine).

Hope that helps at all.

Keep with it, it's almost Christmas smile.

nkf Sun 02-Dec-12 14:09:43

Keep going. Try to see another teacher at work. That can help. Or even better, follow a difficult class to another more experienced teacher. See how she/he handles them.

Some people are useless at mentoring. Utterly useless. And you often don't realise they are useless and think it's all you.

Finally, you can learn as much from a crap lesson as you can from a good one.

Good luck.

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