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PGCE - Honest opinion sought regarding work load please...

(28 Posts)
VanillaPumpkin Sun 16-Nov-08 11:25:31

So I know it is incredibly demanding and hard work but realistically what do I need to prepare my dh for??

I am currently a SAHM so obviously do everything regarding looking after the children. I have applied for my PGCE and told dh that it will be worse than me working full time grin.
He is now panicking saying that his job isn't flexible and he will have to sacrifice his rugby and what will I be giving up? etc etc.

I am going for worst case scenario when I describe the workload to him and he wants a more realistic view.
So what is your Mon-Fri like please?
My children will be 4 and 6 and at school and I have a childminder in mind for them. We were discussing whether we would need a second car or to invest in a big trike thing (CM about 2-3 miles away) when he started panicking and I now get the impression he wants me to put it back a year or two until we move and his job is less demanding (we are forces to make things more complicated)
I want to do it here and next year as course is good where I am.
So honest answers please. How bad is it???

hercules1 Sun 16-Nov-08 11:56:47

You will need to work in the evenings and the weekends. You will not be able to attend any of your own childrens school events and will never be able to collect them or drop them at school. I used my childminder during the holidays still to keep up. THe first year as an NQT is easier but still lots of work at the weekend and evening.

I did it with one 5 year old and it was hard. 8 years later and I still work pretty much all day sunday but that's because i am now in the senior management team and wouldnt have to work at the weekend if it werent for this.

Lots of people do it with several children but it is a hard slog and far worse than working full time.

VanillaPumpkin Sun 16-Nov-08 17:02:48

Thank you. This is what I expected. I don't think he 'gets' it or believes me really.
I know I will have to work evenings and weekends but he will be about then and so can care for the children at least.
It is getting his head around the childcare that is causing an issue really. We have been spoilt up till now with me not working and so are going from one extreme to another and I need him to undertand that. Problem is I don't think he will want me to do it....

Is there anyone currently on the course who could comment.....or are you all too busy to MN....

youknownothingofthecrunch Sun 16-Nov-08 17:24:25

I have just left the course (I'm pregnant and can't afford to take 2 years off work to finish it grin but I will be going back).

It is a full time job (without the pay) - so you will be in the school from around 8 til after 4 every day (depending on school/mentor meetings etc). When home I worked until at least 9pm every night, and this wasn't even including when assignments are due. Weekends were eaten up too.

There is a lot of lesson planning, reading (both Uni stuff and School rules/procedures/work schemes), independent work.

You are expected to use your initiative and be a functioning member of the school, not to be carried.

On my course it was 4weeks at uni then school til christmas, then 6 weeks uni, before 2nd placement til June.

Is that any help? I really didn't stop because of the work load - it is doable, but your dh needs to be realistic about how much time you will need to devote to this. It is a big commitment, but very worthwhile.

Blandmum Sun 16-Nov-08 17:31:48

You will need to work in the evenings and on the weekend. And this will continue when you are a trained teacher.

I arrive in work at 7.45. I leave at 4.30. I bring home marking during the week and also spend time planning lessons. Between this and report writing, parents evenings open evenings etc I would add on another 10 hours of work ourside my normal school hours.

The upside is that I do relativly little work in the holidays.

I work full time in secondary school, and I'm fast at marking and planning

VanillaPumpkin Sun 16-Nov-08 17:45:10

My Mum is a teacher. I know this is what I want to do. I have no doubt and am really excited by it, but bloody terrified too sad.
I promise I don't under estimate the work involved.

Blandmum Sun 16-Nov-08 17:49:56

It is the best job that I have ever had and the most fun.

But lots of work.

IME the work load while and student is much the same, but in different ways IYSWIM. You'll be planning less lessons.....50% timetable max, but your lesson plans will have to be very detailed. and you have the accademic work to cover as well.

remember you will have a grant (non means tested) which would help to pay for a second car etc

VanillaPumpkin Sun 16-Nov-08 17:51:57

Sorry - Youknownothingofthecrunch I completely missed your post shock. Your post is helpful.
I am expecting at least 8-5 in school plus evenings and weekends. Children are in bed at 7 (and still will be when I do the course I think.) so I will have the evenings child free to work too.
The work doesn't worry me in that respect. Missing my children does though....<sigh>

VanillaPumpkin Sun 16-Nov-08 17:54:11

I didn't mean the other posts weren't helpful by the way shock. They are grin.

I do need someone to say it is do-able though.
Oh crap, mildly hormonal so perhaps shouldn't be posting this now hmm...

youknownothingofthecrunch Mon 17-Nov-08 10:10:46

It is do-able grin

The reason I have had to stop is rather complicated. With no Uni near my dh's work I moved me and the 2 children halfway across the country so that I would have my family nearby while I studied. I kept telling myself it was only for 10 months - but then the pregnancy would mean I would have to defer some of the course for a year which would mean uprooting the family twice, with a newborn - too much.

So effectively I was doing it all as a single parent of 2 as well (dh came down at weekends). It was hardwork but I never felt as though the workload was too much IYSWIM. Yes, I didn't spend as much time with the dcs, which was tough, but I tried to set aside time with them. If you were planning on starting work at 7 I would expect to be sat at a computer until at least 10 each evening. But planning lessons is about being imaginative and creating new ways to express and explain a subject that you have a passion for - so it's not all work smile

You just need to keep focused on the goal and try to enjoy the work. After all you are there to teach because you want to, not because it's just a job.

Don't bank on the grant either - I heard something about it being cancelled, you might want to double check it.

Don't forget that once you have done the first year you can go part time. You have 5 years to complete the number of hours needed to surpass NQT status if you wanted to lessen the workload afterwards.

VanillaPumpkin Mon 17-Nov-08 11:01:21

Oh thank you. I feel slightly better today, (apart from the fact that both the children were sick in the night and so we are all off school for two days and a part of me is thinking this would be a big problem if I was on the course hmm.....)
I am looking at Primary and loving the days I am currently volunteering in school. It is scary though isn't it. I admire you with your thrid child on the way and still doing it grin.
I have no family support here, but if I moved to where the family support is then I wouldn't be near a decent course.

Thanks for the info about the five years to get NQT status. That might just keep me going through the dark times grin. Knowing there is an option grin.

I beleive there is a payment of about £3k in place at the moment, but it is reducing year on year isn't it? This money will pay my fees at a guess so then I have the childcare to fund. At least I don't currently work so we won't be losing an income while I train. I have £3k inheritance stashed too which DH and I have talked about and decided this is just the sort of thing it could be put towards.

Ah what the heck. I really won't know unless I try will I?
I was low yesterday as I sent the application off and was then panicking a bit I think....I was very positive after the open day at the Uni. And hey I may well not get a place in any case as it is very competitive isn't it?

VanillaPumpkin Mon 17-Nov-08 11:03:31

Heck - thrid ??? beleive??? Gah!

Of course I meant third and believe blush

youknownothingofthecrunch Mon 17-Nov-08 11:56:20

I'm sure you'll be fine! But do check on the funding. Last year they changed the funding for English, secondary, from August (no talk of it when I was applying angry)

It will cost you money to train, but then you will be earning so much more the year after that it will be worthwhile.

You seem to have a very realistic view of the work and effort you will need to put in (which is more than a lot of the students on my course had).

VanillaPumpkin Mon 17-Nov-08 17:01:50

Thank you. I needed your pep talk.
I do think I have a realistic view, but everyone seems determined to stress how difficult it is and hard work etc (important to understand I know) and so then I worry that I don't have an idea....
I might not even get an interview after all this lol.
I will look closer at funding if I get an interview. I have had a superficial look but obviously not filled in any forms at the moment. DH worries about the costs but this is an investment for me and our future...
The teacher who has done my reference sent me a message to say I was a natural and would make an excellent teacher one day and she went the PGCE route. I am going to print that off and keep it with me grin.
I am expecting to do at least 7-10 in the evenings plus work at the weekends (though I hope not all weekend). I wish there was some reading I could be doing now to help me. Anything you recommend?
The course lady said Children's Minds by Margaret Donaldson so I have that but would like something more about the teaching I suppose...

marjean Thu 20-Nov-08 20:18:45

I'm currently in my second year (of a flexible 2 year PGCE). I have one two year old and one 10 month old. I'm also pregnant with my third. I'm in school on a part time basis (3 days a week).

It's fine. It really is. Lots of people get stressed out but there's loads of support available. It's one of those jobs that could literally be 24/7 but I find that if I set myself deadlines, I'm not working into the night or at weekends. I'm lucky in that my placement is kind of close to my house but I take my children to nursery for 8. I'm at school for quarter past. I fill my day with as much as I possibly can, then leave at 3.30.

No grants though but child tax credits help with my nursery costs.

VanillaPumpkin Thu 20-Nov-08 21:46:18

Thank you MarJean. That is great to hear.
I hear all the bad stuff and then think they can't make it that impossible surely??? grin
Do you have any books you would recommend I look at before I interview / start?
Got my letter from Ucas today so the Uni must have my application...amongst the masses...

SpringySunshine Thu 20-Nov-08 22:04:38

Slightly different perspective:

My mum started her degree when I was almost 5 & my sister was 9 weeks old. She then did a one year PGCE & has worked as a full-time teacher ever since. I have no memories of feeling that I didn't see her enough - she was always in the house at weekends even if she was working (I could at least go & have a quick cuddle every so often) & had every school holiday off which none of my friends had. & most importantly, it's what she wanted to do - I'd never want to think that she'd missed out because she was worried about not seeing enough of us.

marjean Thu 20-Nov-08 22:28:42

No worries. I'm really lucky in that my dp is a teacher and is able to give me good advice and keep everything in perspective. We've both found that some people become beside themselves with worry about assignments and lesson observations etc. But speaking from my own experience, being a mother (even though mine are much tinier than the ones I teach!) has given me so much confidence going into the classroom. My attitude is a lot more laidback than many of my peers. If I get any cheek, I just think 'well, my kids love me!'. And if you've juggled two kids, managed a house, done the weekly shop and school run, you can do anything.

And like SSunshine, I'm the child of teachers and I think it's a great job to have as a parent. We never had to worry about care over the school holidays and I remember them being around all the time. There was usually a pile of marking on the kitchen table but it never took over anything.

As far as prep goes, my interview was pretty standard. They asked me things like 'what 3 qualities do you think a teacher must have' etc. They didn't expect me to have any prior knowledge, though of course, I used my experience of voluntary work in a school a lot.

When you get on the course though, for great practical ideas there's a book by Paul Ginnis called the Teacher's handbook that is fab.

Good luck.

VanillaPumpkin Fri 21-Nov-08 11:13:36

Oh thank you both.
I am alot more up beat now having read your positive messages. I had a great chat with the lady at the Uni open day and I have a friend who is a teacher who said because I already have children I will keep a good sense of perspective and know how much I need to do.

My mum is a teacher too and like you I don't remember missing her being around hmm and she was there for the holidays. I do agree about the school work being there in the kitchen though grin. Sometimes we had to go into the school with her, but that was fun because we got to look at the library books or do new jigsaws or play games. I found that really exciting tbh. Also I don't remember her not being there for sports day etc, I remember my Granny and Grandad being there. She remembers missing it of course!! My Mum is at a private school now and does ridiculous hours so based on that I will be sticking to the state schools grin. She is head of a dept too though and of course we as her children are all grown up now and so it only impacts on my dear stepdad who only notices really because he is now retired....

Anyway I am rambling as I am putting off the housework....I have told DH that our house will only be cleaned during the holidays if I get the course and have warned all my family they will be getting vouchers for Christmas next year grin. I will also be resigning from the Toddlers (obviously) and the Nursery committees....Freedom grin
Thank you again, I really do appreciate it, and will reread this thread before any possible interview....Yikes.

hissyfit Fri 21-Nov-08 20:28:54

Hi vanilla pumpkin

I did it with a 6 year old. I didn't find it at all academically challenging after coming straight from my degree, but it was far more time consuming. Uni days were 9 - 5 lectures, and school days were about 8 - 5. I worked most evenings and weekends. In fact, I remember having a weekend planned away (which I'd organised prior to accepting the course) and I absolutely panicked that it was just not possible to go away!
I just worked till the small hours during the week so I could do it!

It is possible, but is also absolutely knackering - you need practical and emotional support.

My NQT year was marginally better although I am extremely lucky to work at a school very close to where I live, thus cutting down travelling time drastically compared to uni. I now work 8 - 5 (with short lunchbreak) and do about another 5 - 6 hrs at weekends and evenings.

I tend to need to work at least a couple of days during any holidays, sometimes a bit more, but manage to have some days off.

Its the sort of job that you MUST love - I earned more doing office work years ago if I were to work out my hourly rate! However, there is scope to move up and I love it!

Good luck!

Cupofteaplease Fri 21-Nov-08 21:06:36

Hi VP,

I am currently doing the PGCE with a 3 year old and 18 month old. It is very hard work. On a uni day I leave the house at 7.30 and sometimes don't get back until 7, depending on lectures, by which time my children are both asleep. On school days I'm in school from 8 until at least 5.30pm. I am lucky that my current placement is in a local school, this is not always the case- an hour's commute is not uncommon.

I am doing the PGCE MFL course so I have to spend a month teaching in Italy in February- I have no idea how I will cope without seeing the girls for a whole month (dh won't come out for weekends because of expense)

As for childcare, we have given up our third edroom to an Au pair, and we combine her with a child minder, and at the moment it is working. However, the AP living with us is an added stress which I could well do without! I feel sad sometimes that I am missing my dd1's last pre-school year- this is time I can never have with her again and that makes me sad. I miss not being able to speak to her nursery teacher and ask about her progress, I miss taking dd2 to music classes etc (the AP or CM do these things now) and doing things such as making a dentist or doctor's appointment are a logistical nightmare- it is beyond working full time, as you cannot take ANY time off. If you do not complete a set number of days in a school, you fail the course.

Next week, my dh starts a new job on a shift pattern, and I am very nervous about getting the children home from the CM, fed, bathed and to bed quickly, before settling down to work! I work until at least 11pm each night, but often allow myself at least one day free at the weekend (this isn't the case if I have assignments or lots of planning, as I do this weekend). I feel it is unfair on the children to work all weekend, every weekend. I want to see my children, and they want to see me!

Money wise- I get a grant of £4000 from the TDA, and I was able to apply for various student loans and grants, including a nominal amount towards childcare.

I realise most of the information you will be given is quite off-putting and daunting, goodness knows loads of people tried to dissaude me! However, I am learnign do much, and I'm loving the variety, the chance to meet a great bunch of new people, having an insight into new schools and most importantly, using my brain again! I had begun to think after 2 pregnancies that I would never form an intelligible sentence again!

VanillaPumpkin Sat 22-Nov-08 12:08:50

Thank you both, especially for your honesty about missing your dc.
What you describe is what I am expecting. Whether I cope is another matter of course, but I truly hope to give it my best shot and feel I have my eyes open about it all. I have never known what I wanted to do in life and so the revelation when I went into the school and realised just how much I wanted to do this was such an exciting feeling.
Goodness I hope I at least get an interview after all your helpful replies shock...

hissyfit Sun 23-Nov-08 10:45:06

Good luck vanilla pumpkin with the interview which I'm sure you'll get!

Let me know if you want any help with it.

VanillaPumpkin Sun 23-Nov-08 13:54:49

Thank you. I will certainly be after some help I am sure!! Will be in touch wink

babbi Tue 16-Dec-08 00:02:52

This is very helpful as I am also hoping to go down this route , however am having a bit of a panic attack reading Cupofteaplease saying that she has to go to Italy for a month ?? I am hoping to do MFL (French /Spanish / Italian) also - does everyone have to go away for a month ? I am in Scotland - we do the PGDE. Can anyone advise please ? TIA

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