First PGCE placement - any advice?(31 Posts)
Hi there, my first placement starts on Monday, for 7 weeks.
Am pretty nervous, and want to make a good impression/be useful/do a good job.
Can any of you give me any 'unofficial' advice that my tutors may not have passed on? I am taking my own mug.
Try and be helpful and don't just sit silently in the corner when you're observing.
Wash your hands and take vitamins. Week 3 you catch the worst cold ever!
Time the teacher's starters, games etc. Helps you to plan a bit more.
Offer to pay tea money and do go into the staffroom to meet people. Bring in cakes on your last day!
Grow a thick skin. You are going to do things wrong and at least once you'll think that you can never be a teacher. That's normal! Just come back the next day!
Thank you Trouble it's quite nerve-wracking! And there is loads of paperwork I need to do aswell.... <deep breaths>
Listen to and act on advice the teacher gives you. Be firm with the children from day one - don't let them try it on with you because you're new. Offer to do marking, set up for the next lesson, etc. Show initiative. Bring your interests and personality into your teaching.
Behave like a teacher straight away - pick the children up on misbehaviour like not hanging coats up, leaving a messy table, shouting out. Take your cue from the class teacher.
Why are you taking your own mug? Is its secondary?
Don't talk loudly over the teacher (I had a student who used to do this all of the time when I was in the middle of teaching a lesson-I'd open my mouth and her voice would appear).
Say at the start-if there's a spare minute, would you like me to tidy the book corner/sharpen pencils etc, then you aren't constantly asking, 'what do you want me to do now?'.
Smile and be positive!
Why are you taking your own mug?
You're not a teacher, then?
Don't arrive and leave on the bell - our student just now does that and also meets the other students for lunch every day so there's never any time to go through things with her because she's never around when I'm not teaching.
Keep up with whatever paperwork your uni expects. If your mentor has to set weekly targets, make sure they set them and that you plan your teaching activities to show how you're going to meet them.
Make friends with the office staff. They'll be the ones who help you unjam the photocopier.
Don't use all the laminating pouches!
Find out the behaviour / sanction / reward system in the school and class... and stick to it.
If you need help ASK! Don't try to soldier on then fall apart.
(Primary) Take mug with lid for playground duty. Offer to go out and help on the teacher's duty day. Be ready to read a story, sing a song, play a game at any time, and offer to do so. In a primary day even offering to line children up and walk them to assembly is a big favour that means your teacher can pop to the loo or get a drink. Tidy up any mess you make straightaway e.g. Scissors away, offcuts in the bin, books stacked in right place, as space is at a premium in most schools and piles of stuff appear throughout the day...if they aren't dealt with straightaway then post-school becomes one long tidy up for the teacher, before they can start any prep. Act like a teacher from the start...we all interact with and discipline/praise each other's classes as they move around school: be very smiley but firm and positive "please walk" father than "don't run" , and praise the behaviour that you want eg "thank you Nathan for holding the door open".
Make that a mug with a lid as in most schools especially primary uncovered mugs are not allowed out of the staff room.
I'd agree with asking the teacher what they want you to do in moments when they are teaching, e.g to work with a small group, do marking etc.
Always arrive early, and stay beyond the expected time.
From the first day you have got to look the part and work the talk, even if you are petrified.
You need to know all the internal behaviour policies of the school and ensure that you act on them from the first minute you are in the school.
Don't expect this to be easy, it will not be but the whole purpose of you being there is to get practical experience, so you need to pay particular attention to how the teacher you are working with handles the class and ensures good behaviour. Just remember they are at the coal face, doing it everyday and have the practical experience, what you have been told at college by somebody who has not been in a classroom for 10 years (sorry to all at college) may not always be the best advice.
Expect to be shattered by the time in school, the intensity is simply not like anything you will have been used to.
The other thing that you really need to understand is that there three groups of trainee teachers, those that are just naturally gifted and can immediately make the classroom come alive, the majority who have to work at and get the practical experience before they become good classroom teachers and those that frankly are always going to be struggling. If it is obvious that you are in the later group, maybe after the first placement is the time to consider whether you are actually cut out to be a teacher - look up the statistics for the drop out rate over the first 5 years of teaching, its horrendous. Better to consider a career change now than struggle for a few years before coming to the inevitable conclusion.
Having said that most people are hard on themselves so do get an honest opinion from the teacher you are with. Hopefully they will give you an honest response.
Thank you everyone! I am practicing my power poses to project a presence and have ironed all of my clothes (my previous publishing colleagues would be surprised!).
There is just so much to take into account, lots of standards to cover, and lots of reflecting. I'll be fine once I know all the ground rules of the school and know where everything is, but I hate that initial uncertainty. All of your advice is much appreciated!
Know that you'll make a thousand mistakes a day. Learn from them.
Know that you'll make a thousand mistakes a day. Learn from them.
Get actively involved in the life of the school beyond your class and try not to take feedback personally- learn from mistakes. Qualified teachers are
or at least should be learning all the time
Befriend the TA as she knows where everything is! Could be a he but not so common. Listen to the advise and be seen to act on it. I have found teachers over the years get a bit narked if they spend time giving advice only for it to be ignored. Those that act on it get more help. Just an observation.
Yes to the mug.
Learn how to use the photocopier, laminator.
Actually that TA thing is very important.
Make the TA feel important, ask their advice etc etc. Always helps :P
Ask the teacher what they want you to do during input time - some will be happy if you want to help out doing little jobs like sharpening pencils or whatever, but others very much want you to sit and model good listening to the class.
Basically if you do better than I did with greatest hits like falling off my chair, and then the arse of my trousers splitting while I was bent over the table working with a bunch of infants - you're onto a winner! (I passed with a good despite all of that - just spent one day with my jumper tied around my waist hiding my split trousers)
I split my skirt because a child put his chair on it. I was showing my knickers! Luckily I had a pair of leggings at school.
You'll be too consumed with planning to care about making an impression.
Don't hog the photocopier
Find out which children in the class have SEN and read their IEPs/ equivalent. Ask how best you can support these children.
Remember, some children with SEN (and some without), find it difficult to have a new adult in the room. Be sensitive to their anxiety. Most children will love you immediate and be vying for your attention. Those who don't, need plenty of praise and specific positive comments on their efforts and abilities. This will help them to feel less anxious.
Particularly tricky behaviour: make this/ these children your helpers during delivery time. Make them feel liked. They will be less anxious and follow your direction better, as a result.
Develop a 'teacher's voice'. (Project)
Follow the ways of your mentor - and retain or abandon good / bad practice when you move on.
Buy a Frixion pen(s) in the right colour for school marking (and conceal it about your person).
Warn your family and friends that you're not emigrating bit may not be contactable for the next six weeks.
Be prepared to get really very poorly, not get much sleep and work harder than ever.
Remember that it gets easier.
Observe who sits in which chair when in the staff room. Chairs won't have names - but they may have 'owners'.
immediate -> immediately
bit -> but
Know that you'll make mistakes and that the teachers you're observing did (and do), too. Make honest notes when you appraise your lessons. If you note down what you felt went badly and endeavour to make specific changes to improve on those areas, you'll be unlikely to fail!
Oh - and beware of the staff room biscuit tin.
Hi there, just checking back to say thanks for all of your suggestions and tips. Placement is going well, school very friendly, and children lovely. Never get time for much tea, so cup useless.
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