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How are your PGCE placement teachers expected to act during meetings?

(73 Posts)
isthistoonosy Tue 17-Oct-17 19:23:09

I've been told I 'take up too much space' in the departmental staff meetings - and tbh I'm not sure what that even means. Its an hrs meeting I typically make at most one comments normally asking for something to be clarified because they are discussing something from last year (they don't make notes so nothing to refer back to).

All I can think is I once commented about the chemical risk assessments (that nobody wants to do) to say I can do them as I worked as a construction health, safety and environmental advisor for 12 yrs so its really no issue for me to do them (i.e. I am qualified to do them) and I have the time.

So would expect placement staff to sit and listen, join in, wait to be asked something ... would it depend on their age and work / educational background?

seven201 Tue 17-Oct-17 19:48:22

Our department meetings are an hour and have a lot crammed in. Are you one of those people who uses a lot of words when a few would have done? Did you say "I can do the risk assessment if you like?" Or did you go on about your relevant experience? Could you ask for clarification on some points after the meeting to just one individual?

isthistoonosy Tue 17-Oct-17 20:18:16

Our meetings have no agenda and seem to drift aimlessly the meetings don't end with actions or conclusions to discussions.
Yh I could ask later for clarification but often the meeting points aren't followed up in further meetings so if I then had something relevant to say there would be no chance.

I didn't go into my history as such said - I use to do chem ra / quality audits / ra etc for my old job, do you want me to do them / help? Feels weird to sit silently when I have done this stuff before and have lots more free time in school than full timers. I did ask to talk to the relevant person outside the meeting in more detail but they never followed up with me.

Feels like some of them just want to complain how busy they are but you offer to help or take workload they want you to shut up and go away.

MaybeDoctor Tue 17-Oct-17 20:35:13

Hmm. Of course you should have the chance/space to speak in meetings, but offering to do the risk assessments might be seen as a bit out of the ordinary? You are there to develop your teaching skills and no one expects you to do anything else.

It might be that you are not insured to do that particular task, so the person in charge might have filed your offer away under 'too difficult'/'too complicated'.

junebirthdaygirl Tue 17-Oct-17 20:40:50

Bit harsh to tell someone they take up too much space in a staff meeting. There is always someone you would like to say that too but common decency doesn't allow it. You sound fine .

FrogsLegs31 Tue 17-Oct-17 20:47:18

I think it’s a euphemistic way of them saying “we are a team and you are just here to watch, listen and learn”.

Rightly or wrongly you are being instructed not to have input during a dept meeting. While I was training I was definitely looked at like I had six heads when I tried to join in with meetings... the same team treated me completely differently once I was employed the year after.

I don’t agree with it but sometimes it’s better to ask for your clarification etc one on one later.

isthistoonosy Tue 17-Oct-17 20:59:27

Tbh offering to do RA's felt normal to me, but guess it may seem weird to others, but I'm learning to be a teacher and RA's are a part of that and a part I don't mind doing.

Think I'll just take my laptop and do my course work next time - listening to a staff meeting of people moaning, making no decisions and taking no actions, while not being able to speak up will drive me crazy otherwise. Need to just remind myself I'm not paid either way, I've already been told by the school they think I have met my learning goals for the term so I've nothing to prove really.

BlessYourCottonSocks Tue 17-Oct-17 22:40:18

Do you mean to sound quite as critical and 'know it all' as you come across? You do sound fairly arrogant in describing a staff meeting of people moaning, making no decisions and taking no actions, while not being able to speak up . Obviously you are desperate to chip in with your opinions if it will drive you mad to not be able to do so.

Clearly you are older than the usual PGCE student, but you don't know the background to discussions involving issues/pupils from last year.
Staff meetings may very well be a place where people are letting off steam about things, and may not be particularly well run, in your eyes. It won't make you popular to be suggesting to colleagues how badly they are doing and how much better you could run a meeting/do the job, however.

noblegiraffe Wed 18-Oct-17 01:46:12

Yeah you're not a member of the team or an employee, you're essentially a work-experience kid, which is probably, for you, a big step down in status. Things in meetings from last year don't really need to be clarified to you because you will have a mentor for each class who will be doing the organising for you.

Doing your coursework in meetings would be seen as really rude. Perhaps you should ask if you're required to attend them all. Our ITT students aren't.

isthistoonosy Wed 18-Oct-17 05:33:34

I've not said anything about them being well or badly run to the other staff just having a private rant here. Lots of them also sit doing other things on their laptops during the meeting so that won't be seen as weird, I don't think. I plan my own lessons and provide differentiated work for the students so I need to know their history and work levels to be able to do that, nobody organises my lessons for me.

I've been told to attend and join in, and then told not to talk - I'd ask to the HOD but we don't have one and no one wants to the lead the meetings, so no chair, which I assume is why we have no agenda or regular meetings etc.

So in your schools a work placement sits and watches until they have QTS and then they take on a full workload and joins in staff meetings and the rest of the role. No gradual build up of work and joining in the rest of the staff duties. Not what I had expected but good to be clearer on it, thanks.

Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies Wed 18-Oct-17 05:40:18

I've recently completed my NQT year. When I was doing my PGCE I never spoke in staff meetings. Ever.

I said about 3 lines during the course of my NQT year. Yesterday, I actually volunteered a couple of comments. I'm not a shrinking violet, but I've learned that sometimes it's best to just let other people talk.

If you want to alienate everybody, do go in and ostentatiously click away at your coursework. But it will backfire on you.

borntobequiet Wed 18-Oct-17 05:46:06

They sound like pretty rubbish meetings. Keep quiet and put up with them and hope you get a job where they run them in a professional manner.
OTOH it doesn't make much sense for a temporary member of the team to take on an important long term task.

teaandbiscuitsforme Wed 18-Oct-17 06:47:33

I don’t think doing coursework is going to do you any favours either. Even if other teachers are doing work on their laptops, you’re not a teacher. You’re a student on placement. You might not see such a distinction but they will. You’ll be expected to sit there, make notes on anything relevant and look reasonably interested. I’d say contributions wouldn’t be normal.

If you’ve got something to contribute or you want something clarified, you would normally make a note of it and discuss it with your mentor at another time.

PurpleDaisies Wed 18-Oct-17 06:54:41

Think I'll just take my laptop and do my course work next time - listening to a staff meeting of people moaning, making no decisions and taking no actions, while not being able to speak up will drive me crazy otherwise.

This would be really rude. It doesn't matter if other members of staff are doing it-you're there as a student and your behaviour needs to be above reproach. You say you've already met your learning goals but if you're still there on placement (or going back after your second placement) you still won't have been signed off and the way you act will influence your final review.

I wonder if you're hiding your contempt for the department as well as you think you are.

FAkenameforthis Wed 18-Oct-17 06:59:41

I would say don’t ask for clarification. If you need to know more about a child’s levels then agree a meeting with your teacher or mentor to discuss that.

I think that just watching and listening is the way to go. I’m assuming if you’re PGCE you’ve only been there a few weeks and this is your first placement?

PETRONELLAS Wed 18-Oct-17 07:01:51

Doing a PGCE and saying you’ve got time to do extra tasks is bizarre. Well done on meeting your learning goals but you could be using the time to consolidate. Sit and listen in the meetings. If you’re not staying at the school don’t use up the meeting time getting them to explain something that will be irrelevant to you. In your previous work life things were different.

Changerofname987654321 Wed 18-Oct-17 07:26:28

A big part of department meetings is just an opportunity to meet together and talking about what is happening and let of steam.

I may complain about a few students in a GCSE class and my HOD knows I am proffessional enough and can be trusted to do what Is needed next.

borntobequiet Wed 18-Oct-17 08:16:18

Oh, and if I were your HOD and you were doing well in practice and pedagogy I would welcome your offer, ask you to do it and also to write the RA protocol for the department going forward.
Everyone's a winner.

noblegiraffe Wed 18-Oct-17 10:46:02

I plan my own lessons and provide differentiated work for the students so I need to know their history and work levels to be able to do that, nobody organises my lessons for me

You’re a PGCE student who has been in school a few weeks tops. The class teacher whose class you are borrowing is the person to ask about the kids.

Anewcareerforme Wed 18-Oct-17 18:03:57

"you're essentially a work-experience kid, "
noble I often read you comments on various thread as I find them informative and helpful and I usually respect your opinion. But I think the comment you made above is frankly insulting to the OP and other PGCE trainees.
This half term I'm planning 6 lessons from scratch and marking 100 books, and I'm happily taking it on as its part of the training, I doubt there's a "work experience kid" out there who is doing this. Secondly the OP is not a "kid" she's pretty obviously a grown women with previous experience in another job and even experience of what required doing maybe she can bring to the task new practices or ideas and I also suspect was just offering to help 1. to use her experience and get experience in a school setting, my training provider is constantly telling us to get as much experience as possible in as many different setting as possible. and 2 perhaps she felt she was doing the permanent staff a favour by offering to help out.
In my previous job I was extensively involved in the training of students we never saw them as "essentially work experience kids" they are valuable members of our team, they were invited to attend all the dept. meeting and their opinions were listened to and welcomed. We weren't so arrogant that we would assume that they had nothing important or valid to contribute verbally and therefore were "taking up space" and we also never assumed that they couldn't also make some sort contribution to the running of our large and exceedingly busy dept if they wanted too and were able too. This like PGCE students is part of their training.

noblegiraffe Wed 18-Oct-17 18:16:52

Meh, I've been a PGCE trainee. I've seen lots of them come and go. The ones who accept that they are there to learn and not to pass judgement or make 'helpful' suggestions to experienced teachers are the easiest to work with.

Some can be a complete nightmare.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 18-Oct-17 18:31:50

I think as the comment has been made to you, you would do well to reflect on it. I have always welcomed trainees. Mentoring has been the best CPD for me as a teacher, and as a HoD I value their input, particularly the "naive" viewpoint they bring, which can really give an interesting perspective which can be lost with more seasoned professionals. I don't mean naive in a derogatory way there.
However, the most successful placements are with trainees who manage to be respectful of the experience of the staff while at the same time asking questions and taking on tasks to develop their understanding. I think the person who spoke to you is suggesting you do not have that balance right. You are early in your course. I would take on board the comments and remember that teaching is much better in a supportive team.

larrygrylls Wed 18-Oct-17 18:35:00


I also normally read and learn from your comments but you are being unnecessarily aggressive here.

PGCEs are doing post grad work experience. Given the drop out rates of PGCEs and NQTs, schools should be doing the maximum to motivate and retain them, especially in maths and the Sciences.

The PGCE experience is meant to emulate real teaching and the actual criterion for a ‘1’ includes introducing new material and taking initiative.

Having said that, OP, your tone is a little off. You are coming across as somewhat arrogant.

noblegiraffe Wed 18-Oct-17 18:47:32

unnecessarily aggressive

The OP has been told they're being too forward in meetings, have slated (here) the organisation of the department and the way meetings are run, have suggested that because they've met their learning goals for the term they should just spend meetings doing their coursework (because just listening and not contributing would presumably be a waste of their time?). And they have just started their training!

I'm trying to point out that in the pecking order, they are nowhere near they are probably used to being and need to get used to that.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 18-Oct-17 18:51:08

What are learning goals for a PGCE trainee? How many weeks have you been in?

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