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Struggling to arrange classroom experience for Computing PGDE [Scotland]

(12 Posts)
PGDEComputingExperience Mon 13-Nov-17 15:42:04


I have recently graduated with an MSc in Computer Science, and want to apply for Secondary Computing PGDE courses beginning next year.

I’m currently in the process of emailing secondary schools in the Central Belt, to enquire about the possibility of spending a day or two shadowing staff in computing departments to get a better understanding of the demands and challenges of teaching.

However, I have not yet had a reply to any of the emails I have sent.

I was just wondering if any wise Scottish teachers here might have any advice on what I'm doing wrong? Should I be following up with a phone call? I haven't done this yet as I do not want to pester anyone!

I would be grateful for any help at all! smile

Hohomcfo Mon 13-Nov-17 19:42:50

Not my subject so can’t help in a practical sense... who are you emailing? Have you got contact names for anyone? Have you tried your own old school, if still near it? It is a lot more hassle than you would imagine to have an observer in. You make us worry about our lesson and our performance. You affect the kids sometimes. You need minding at break and might expect to be talked to over lunch, when we need to work (or talk to pals or whatever). Just being honest. I always offer something if I get a request but I do prefer a morning a full day is too much. And a couple of mornings with time between them better than two in a row. We also have student teachers, classroom observations, all sorts of things to fit in. But it is so frustrating! If your email makes it clear that you will take crumbs and don’t feel you’re doing them a favour it will help. If I got on well with someone I’d be more likely to have them back for longer. When you’re in, ask if you can help, walk round the room etc (if teacher happy with this) don’t just sit staring at me. Good luck!

Passmethecrisps Mon 13-Nov-17 19:54:58


This is my subject so I may be of some help hopefully.

The subject is desperately short staffed right now but that is a double edged sword for you. Departments are on their knees and will struggle to give the time to a student. But someone full of enthusiasm and ability will be brilliant to have in for a wee while.

Try again with an email bearing in mind some of the advice given above. Maybe suggest popping in after school for a chat before trying to arrange an actual observation. And yes to trying your own school or one you have a good relationship with in another way.

I am happy to look at the email you have written and make suggestions.

PGDEComputingExperience Mon 13-Nov-17 20:08:32

I'm emailing the general admin/headteacher addresses, if that's what you're asking? I'm just looking at schools that do indeed have a Computing department (I know not all do) anywhere from Glasgow to Edinburgh.

I'm actually from England myself, so unfortunately do not have a previous school I can contact. My DH's aunt used to be a Headteacher in Paisley, so I've just called her tonight and she's offered to ask around - but it's not looking good. sad More frustratingly is that my Dad is an Engineering teacher - but in England! No help really!

Oh I can completely understand that it's difficult to accommodate people looking for experience, with everything else that needs doing. I've tried to make it clear I'm grateful for anything they might be able to offer, and I'm also a bit older so am confident enough to get stuck in and help in any way I can.

I had not considered that my presence would make teachers feel anxious. It would never occur to me to judge lessons or performance so it's really helpful to hear that perspective. If I am ever successful at getting in somewhere (fingers crossed!) I will be more conscious of what I do/say and really make sure I'm helpful.

It is a little frustrating. I'd love to teach Computing. I know that the uptake for PGDE Computing is not especially high - but you ideally need some experience before you apply, and of course it can be difficult to arrange for all the reasons you've mentioned. Tough one.

PGDEComputingExperience Mon 13-Nov-17 20:18:49

Hi Pass smile

I am very enthusiastic! I find that my enthusiasm is often met with attempts to direct me to industry, but I can't think of anything I'd rather do than teach the next generation what (I consider to be) the most valuable skills for success over the coming decades. I think I do have the ability - I am graduating with a distinction, and I am also lucky to have a DH who works as an Engineer so can keep me connected and up-to-date.

I think suggesting an after-school chat (or perhaps helping with after-school clubs?) is a great idea, thank you. I shall try that next! I think I was perhaps going in too strong before.

Thank you very much for your kind offer. Would you perhaps mind taking a look at my re-drafted email if I send it to you by DM?

Passmethecrisps Mon 13-Nov-17 20:27:33

Feel free. I am on maternity leave at the moment and work just outwith your preferred area so I can’t put you in touch directly. However, I would suggest you look at school websites and look for the name of the computing PT. You can then either get their email address from the council website or be more specific when sending an email to the enquiries email address. It also means that you have a name to ask for if you call.

I can only think of how overstretched our department is and the thought of having someone around to watch is frankly terrifying. But if you can make contact gradually you should be able to get your foot in the door.

PGDEComputingExperience Mon 13-Nov-17 20:36:06

Thank you! I have DM-d you.

I had wondered whether it would be better to contact teachers directly, or go through the admin or Headteacher address. I have been deciding to err on the side of caution and have gone with the latter, but I will try direct emails and contact names. The worst they can say is no! smile

Thank you again!

cdtaylornats Mon 13-Nov-17 21:37:32

You might get a better response from private schools like Dollar Academy or Wellington in Ayr. They both have computing departments and after school activities.

PersianCatLady Mon 13-Nov-17 23:05:34

Have you tried the School Experience Prograame on the Get Into Teaching website?

PGDEComputingExperience Tue 14-Nov-17 11:05:00

cdtaylornats I'll have a look at those schools, thank you very much!

PersianCatLady I am aware of the School Experience Programme, but unfortunately that's only for prospective teachers in England (and possibly Wales, I'm not sure . . .). Thank you for your help though! smile

And thank you to those who also contacted me with advice - I'm very grateful! flowers

PersianCatLady Tue 14-Nov-17 11:34:47

Sorry, I had not realised that it didn't apply to Scotland.

PersianCatLady Tue 02-Jan-18 16:02:22

Hi All,

I thought I would just let you know that I started a new PGCE 2018 thread here for everyone's progress updates -

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