Feel like quitting PGCE

(40 Posts)
takingthathometomomma Wed 22-Jan-14 21:13:25

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post or not, but I need advice/support!

I'm nearing the end of my first placement on a secondary PGCE course. I am very stressed out, feel like I'm not making any progress and feeling disheartened (jealous) when seeing other people I'm on placement with going from strength to strength and getting fantastic feedback.

I feel physically sick when I think about how much planning I have to do, and have been trying to plan this one lesson for tomorrow since yesterday. It's for an observation and all my efforts have gone into that - I haven't even started planning for the other lesson that I have tomorrow!

DD is four and at the moment I'm at my placement school from 7am - 6pm, and then still working when I get home. She cried to me today saying that she never has anyone to play with, and when she overheard me saying to DP that I feel like quitting, she said 'Yay then you won't be working all the time!'

I'm at the end of my tether, but don't want to throw in the towel in haste, especially as it has cost me so much and I'm halfway through now.

Any advice would be much appreciated...

Oakmaiden Wed 22-Jan-14 21:19:22

The PGCE is hard work, especially if you have small children.

?I guess my advice would be to keep at it unless you are certain teaching is not for you. Honestly - June will be here before you know it. And fabulous feedback in placement one, whilst obviously great for one's self esteem and confidence, makes no difference by the time you get to the end of the course.

stillenacht Wed 22-Jan-14 21:20:11

I'm a teacher of 18 years I feel like you every day. Sorry but I can't offer any words of encouragement. Your teaching will improve etc over time but marking, policies and buzz words will drag you down. I was just thinking tonight whilst marking year 11 books that I would never encourage anyone I like to be a teacher. Sorry xx

missmapp Wed 22-Jan-14 21:30:56

I have been teaching for over 20 yrs. Ok, I have just finished marking/planning for tomorrow and Yes, I do work to this time every night BUT
it is a rewarding job ( and working in a v tough area, I am allowed to say that!) and I do get the school holidays which makes the time away from my dcs in term time easier to bear.

I did a PGCE in my early twenties when I had no dh or dc and it was hard enough- but worth it. Is there anyone at your school/college who can support you??

Good Luck

Can identify as I found my PGCE such hard work and I didn't even have kids then. The placements are a bit of a lottery - do you have a decent mentor at school? Or a tutor at uni? Just someone who will listen and give you some moral support.

Why don't you feel like you're making any progress? Kids' behaviour and attitude or are the staff not especially supportive? Can anyone give you a hand with planning?

I really hope your observation goes well and that your stress levels go down once it is over. You are definitely wise not to throw the towel in yet, but can totally understand how your dd's comment made you feel worse. If it makes you feel better, I am currently a sahm to 3 dc and my 5 yr old dd cries because she 'wants to stay with her mummy... All the time!'

Hope you can find a supportive ear at school and keeping plugging away.

baggyb Wed 22-Jan-14 21:33:12

Can I ask what subject it is?

Don't give up.

Give yourself until the end of this academic year, you have almost done half! You can always have a break after you get your pgce and before you start yourNQT year.

This is the hardest bit, it will get easier.

Show your daughter you are not a quitter wink

Once you have the pgce, it is a qualification you have earned that nobody can take away. You might decide to become a part time tutor instead, but whatever you do, a qyalification is useful.

LoopyLobster Wed 22-Jan-14 21:43:49

Don't quit, but make it known to your tutors that you are not enjoying your placement. In my experience they are very good at placing those having an awful time in a far more supportive environment for the longer placement.

teaching is tough and inflexible, but even if you can't envisage a lifetime in a UK state school, the PGCE can be really useful for other, related jobs too. I had pretty much reached the end of my tether a couple of years ago, then discovered the joys of international schools. Life is now brilliant. Don't give up.

takingthathometomomma Wed 22-Jan-14 22:28:15

Thank you for all your advice. My mentor at school is lovely and supportive and has helped me plan a few lessons, but I still feel like I can't really find my feet. My university tutor is equally lovely, I just think I'll feel like a bit of an idiot emailing him saying "I can't plan a lesson"!

I think you all have a point though, (try and) get this bit out of the way and then decide what I want to do.

BaggyB it's in English.

Oh that's good you have decent support. Why would you be an expert in planning lessons, you only started 5 months ago! Try not to worry about feeling silly, just be specific in your questions to your tutor.

Good luck for tomorrow and try and get a decent kip tonight.

baggyb Thu 23-Jan-14 20:36:13

English is known for being a subject with lots of marking etc. All I can say is stick with it. It's the best job in the world and it does get easier. I promise.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 23-Jan-14 20:44:30

Hello OP.

I will be honest with you and share my experience.
It may not get better, it didn't for me, in fact it got far worse.
I know this may not be what you want to hear, but I believe in calling a spade a spade.
If you don't think you can cope there is nothing wrong with throwing in the towel. I wish I had done, it would have saved me a near nervous breakdown.
I wish you well and hope it works out for you, if it doesn't so what? It isn't the end of the world and at least you have tried, given it your best and can't have done more thanks

takingthathometomomma Thu 23-Jan-14 23:32:26

baggyb that's what I'm worried about. I'm enjoying the whole standing at the front of the class teaching thing (except when I get shitty constructive feedback..), but I feel like I'm drowning in everything else. And one of the teachers who hasn't marked his books since October has just asked me to mark them! Do I say no?

morethan thank you for your honesty. I think I'm going to have to have a serious thing about it. Like I said, the teaching side I enjoy but I'm not a machine. I just can't keep up!

baggyb Fri 24-Jan-14 16:13:56

Absolutely say no! You are a student, not a slave!

Grockle Fri 24-Jan-14 16:18:24

I hate to say it but I've been teaching for 15 years and I still feel like this. I leave the house at 7.30, get home at 6-ish. DS has breakfast and dinner with his childminder, not at home.

I'm looking for a different job now. This is no way to live.

NaffOrf Fri 24-Jan-14 16:42:52

Show your daughter you are not a quitter

No. Show your daughter you are not a mug.

There is absolutely no shame in walking away from this.

I taught for a decade (Secondary English, like you), then I walked without a job to go to because I couldn't stand it any more.

Better to get out now, honestly. Good luck x

MothratheMighty Fri 24-Jan-14 16:43:38

You can't mark work you haven't taught, and the fact he's not marked them since October shows he's struggling too. Marking is also an assessment and informs planning and support. Pointless and lazy of him to ask you.
As for the PGCE, I'd keep going until June as you've invested a lot in it, unless you really can't manage and you start being incapacitated by your fear.
It doesn't get easier, and the hours you work will not reduce, but you will have the holidays to do lovely things with your children.

Gosh, sounds pretty stressful.
With the planning, all I would say is focus heavily on the learning outcome, get your success criteria to be the steps towards achieving the learning outcome and write your learning intention based on the generic skill you are teaching.

For example, if you want them all to learn their number bonds to ten,
Learning intention: we are learning all the number bonds to ten.
Learning outcome: all children will be able to find two numbers that make ten.
Success criteria: 1. Choose a number card. 2. Count that many fingers. 3. Count how many fingers are left. 4. Find that number and check that they make ten. 5. Stick both numbers in your book.
Then the activity is kind of planned for you.

And NO WAY do that bloke's marking!!!!

Are there more good moments or more bad ones? I would weigh them up and decide that way. Although it is a tough tough job, it can be v rewarding too.

takingthathometomomma Fri 24-Jan-14 18:50:17

I am really grateful for all of your answers, you have no idea how much this support has meant to me! I have decided to stick it out for as long as possible and hopefully finish the course, even if I do end up rethinking my career.

I do have another question though! My placement school has a lot of students which is great as we can all support each other. One of the students always has brilliant lesson plans. As he knows how stressed I've been with trying to balance the course with DD, he's been sharing them with me quite a lot. I think cutting a few corners may be the only way I'll get through the year and he doesn't mind at all, but I'm wondering if this makes me 'look' bad. What do you think?

MothratheMighty Fri 24-Jan-14 18:53:00

I work in a planning team of four, and we share plans with each other. Different strengths.
If you work out what makes his plans so brilliant, you can begin to put some of those elements into your own planning.

sarahquilt Fri 24-Jan-14 19:55:05

I suggest you finish it so at least you have the qualification. However, in terms of working as a teacher, I can assure you it doesn't get much better! I've been a teacher for 11 years.

DoctorDonnaNoble Fri 24-Jan-14 20:00:29

English teaching is very hard. The marking workload is one of the heaviest of all! But...when it's fab it's bloody marvellous and those times will come! They didn't really for me until my second job as a teacher. But I've had marvellous times since and some excellent observations - after being told I was at risk of failing my PGCE!!

I would try and plan with him so you can soak up his 'way' of doing it and take notes as you go so you can replicate it yourself. Not much point in teaching his lessons long term as you won't build up confidence in your own ability.

Oh god I think I have hugely dumbed down your planning as I am in ks1, sorry about that, I need to FTFT!

takingthathometomomma Fri 24-Jan-14 20:15:42

checkpoint grin not to worry, it's a really good way of breaking things down so I'm sure I'll be able to apply it to my classes!

I think he has really developed his skill of breaking things down to the right chunks for each different class, something I need to work on!

Nojustalurker Fri 24-Jan-14 20:23:50

I struggled initially with planning a lessons and it has taken me a while to get to the swing of things. I am in my fourth year and I actually plananed my lesson on a post it note in ten minutes the other day. So it does get much better.

On a practical note. Keep a list of different teaching activities you can use, I used to keep mine in an exercise book, divide it into different sections eg starters, main activities and plenaries. This means you have an ideas book ready to go.If you look on tes you can get power points called things like the starter generator, they are full of different activities. Keep it handy and keep added to it. This means if you need a plenary but can't think of one you just need to scroll through the PowerPoint, find an appropriate one and copy and paste into your lesson PowerPoint.

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