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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.

pgcestudent Tue 02-Apr-13 21:53:28

Thanks. I think it's just the "this isn't going to end" aspect. Good to know there is light at the other side.

Definitely relying too much on chocolate though - it is doing my waistline no good!!!!

YoullNeedATray Tue 02-Apr-13 09:12:19

(NC'd Eco here)

Don't get demoralised by the box ticking sad. It's just how that school does it. Every school is different, which is why everyone says to visit before applying for jobs if you can. Chin up - enjoy some time for your self over Easter and take the positives from this school. It's all great experience, even the box ticking and dealing with arrogant pupils.

I'm exhausted after my first full NQT term but loving it. The "Oh! I get it!" moments mean SO much more when it's your own class. I've got some demanding parents but they seem to like me so far. We're "Good" with a Head pushing for "Outstanding" but it seems to be in a very supportive way.

You WILL get there! All schools are not the same. Eat chocolate, drink wine, sleep and look after yourself. smile

pgcestudent Sat 30-Mar-13 23:49:52


I just wondered if any of us student teachers/nqt's are still around?

Currently in my second placement school and HATING it. School is so-called "outstanding", but lots of box-ticking, "how can we be outstanding today" type training sessions. Lots of focusing on, "you should do this to get an outstanding observation" and lots of arrogant children who are much less likeable than those at the last school (far from middle-class arrogant).

I won't be applying for teaching jobs after this. I'm just aiming to get through the course atm.

pgcestudent Sat 19-Jan-13 00:21:40

Hi Ecolady.

For my part, I am waiting to start my second placement now, so I have a nice easy university-based couple of weeks (when I should be working on my assignments, but am actually using the time to catch up with dc's) before placement 2 starts.

Still miffed over the end of placement 1, but hey ho. Never mind.

Otherwise I'm just trying to get started on some job applications. The other scary bit - getting a job at the end!

How is your NQT going?

EcoLady Thu 17-Jan-13 21:10:04

Just popped in to see how you guys are getting on this term?

I got QTS at end of Nov, a few days supply in the same school in Dec ... then landed the first job I applied for! Amazing luck. It's close to home, the age range I wanted and a lovely school. Having to do the extra placement really worked out to be the best thing for me.

There are two PGCE-ers in my school. right now, going through the trials and tribulations.

Chin up everyone - it is so worth it in the end!

pgcestudent Tue 18-Dec-12 23:23:57

Hi all, if any of you are still around! Sorry for the absence, mainly due to a work overload.

However, I'm now in the last week of first placement and wondered how everyone else was getting on?

After the last few posts, I think I finally nailed discipline (with the current classes, which means it may well be crap at the next school) and had some fab lessons and really good obs. However, I just had my summative report meeting with my mentor and am back to pissed off again. He marked me as "good" against four of the eight teacher standards and "satisfactory" against the other four, whilst saying in the written comments what a good job I'd done and whilst also saying in his oral feedback that in cases where it was borderline between the two, he'd put the lower grade. Then, because he marked me satisfactory for 4 standards, he marked the first placement as satisfactory overall, saying "no-one should get a good or outstanding in their first placement, you can't because you've only been doing it for 7 weeks".

Now, I understand the last comment, but, I had to write my own schemes of work, current teachers at the school have asked to use my lesson plans for future lessons and both my university tutor and the ITE coordinator at my school graded the lessons they observed as good.

I think he has issues with the fact that he received a good grading in his last obs and therefore won't give me the same, but am really pissed off given that all comments were positive etc and in his own words "you've done a brilliant job and fitted right in to the department" hmm.

Grrr. I know it's a pass, but still, grrr.

clam Sun 02-Dec-12 14:21:14

I have a pair of students at the moment - preliminary visits at the moment, then main placement later (B.Ed 1s)

Presumably your teachers went to the mentor training at your university? The one thing that stood out for me was how important it is as a mentor to be welcoming and supportive and that all feedback really should start with the things that went well. Not rocket science, is it? Sounds like your teachers drifted off at that point in the training. Not good.

My students are LOVELY and a pleasure to have around. They're keen, enthusiastic, helpful and pro-active.

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.

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.

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

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

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 :-)

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.

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.

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!

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 18:17:52

Hi guys.

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

How are you doing?

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!

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 :-(

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

Wow pgcestudent that's tough...

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.

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 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?

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!

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.

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.

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