Advanced search

PGCE with kids

(20 Posts)
rosajosephine Fri 10-Jan-20 07:50:06


Anyone who already had kids when doing your PGCE how did you find it? How did you find the work load?

What kind of childcare did you have in place? And how long were the days?

I'm a single mum of four and wondering if it's even possible for me to do it....

Any advice greatly appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
PurpleDaisies Fri 10-Jan-20 07:59:31

No children, but I’d expect to be in school at the very minimum from 8 until 4 every day, most likely longer. You’ll usually stay for staff meetings and parents evenings to which finish later. Placements can be a long way from home (mine were an hour’s drive away but that wasn’t the worst) so factor that in too.

It’s a very, very busy year in terms of workload because you’ll have your own classes (or class in primary) so all the planning and marking to do for them. That takes ages as a trainee. On top of that you’ll have university assignments which usually are timed so you can get the bulk of them done over the holidays. You also have to produce an evidence folder showing you’re meeting the teaching standards which takes bloody ages.

What type of course are you looking at? Teaching is both wonderful and utterly awful at the sane time.

SansaSnark Fri 10-Jan-20 08:10:24

I did my PGCE last year, although I don't have children. There were people on the course with children but I'm not sure if any were single parents. People with caring responsibilities were given closer placements where possible, or you could look at schools direct so you know where you will be placed for most of the year.

If your children are very young I do think it would be difficult as there's a lot of paper work and admin you will need to do, and the only time for this is evenings and weekends.

You'd also need some occasional childcare for late evenings, as you are expected to do things like parents evening/open evening which can go on until 7/8 in the evening. Some schools also do twilight insets which you'd be expected to attend.

If you do go for it, I would speak to course providers before applying about the support they can give you.

There are some SCITT courses which offer a part time option as well, which takes longer but might be more doable?

toomanyleggings Fri 10-Jan-20 10:05:35

I wouldn't even consider doing the course in your shoes or in anyone's for that matter. Teaching is not the profession it used to be

NotAPenguin Fri 10-Jan-20 13:55:56

I am doing one now with 2DC at secondary school and it's really hard work. I have a DH but he works away a lot and works long hours when he's home. I knew that it was going to be tough so it is as I expected it to be - I'm finding it doable but feeling guilty that DS2 (12) is a bit neglected. I honestly can't imagine doing it as a single parent of 4. Also i don't foresee it getting a lot easier next year or even really after that. Teaching is really hard work!

SansaSnark Fri 10-Jan-20 16:27:15

@NotAPenguin That's a good point about the NQT year. I have less paperwork to do this year, so I'm working a bit less at weekends, but I'm often in school for longer hours- doing things like phone calls home, after school detentions and so on. I also have an after school NQT meeting once a week and I help out with after school revision once a week until 4pm, as well as any meetings etc.

I also have duties etc to do, which I didn't have last year, so often the only chance I have to talk to people is after school. And sometimes safeguarding/serious behaviour issues come up, which have to be dealt with there and then. All phonecalls home etc, are down to me to deal with and this can take a long time too!

In general, I am finding the NQT easier, but I'm definitely spending more hours in school in the week!

lostsoulsunited Fri 10-Jan-20 16:30:22

I wouldn't even consider doing the course in your shoes or in anyone's for that matter. Teaching is not the profession it used to be

^ This. The PGCE and associated placements are very demanding. I know two parents who both started the PGCE and both left the course because of the impact on their family, they were lone parents.

toomanyleggings Fri 10-Jan-20 17:39:38

You'll be in school until 6pm, rush home, rush to pick your kids up, rush tea, rush bedtime, then you can sit down and start planning and marking for the next day. You'll be lucky if you see your bed before 12 and then you'll still lie awake worrying about the ten jobs you didn't get done , the lesson observation you've got coming up and whatever horrible incident occurred in school that day. I say run while you still can

lostsoulsunited Fri 10-Jan-20 23:52:38

..and then up early, in school before 8am and spend the day with no time for a cup of tea or the toilet and even your teenagers start to say they don't see enough of you.

experimentnumber626 Sat 11-Jan-20 08:31:17

I have applied for a PGCE course (awaiting interview). I have 2 DC's in primary school, my husband is able to do the drop off to breakfast club, and we will then be using an afterschool club in a local nursery 3-4x a week. The cost is a big worry.
Having said that, working with young children in education is all I've ever known, I am so exited to finally be looking at investing sone time in 'me' and my career. It frustrates me no end that my wage at the moment is so low and that I'm dependent on tax credits and my husband just to scrape by when I know I have so much more to offer.
My advice would be to go to an open day with an open mind, they can then be frank with you about the time demands and the work expectations. I did this, and was reassured that placements would be within my home county (the university is not).

JellyfishandShells Sat 11-Jan-20 08:46:04

There is a university with a bias towards B.Ed and PGCE ( ex teacher training college) near us and quite a few parents in my DDs’ primary school started doing their PGCEs there whilst their children were at the school. One, a close friend, is now a head teacher, another I know did it as a lone parent with three children

They had all done some kind of voluntary or TA work first, though and this is an area with plenty of primary and secondary schools within close reach so placements weren’t hard to get to.

PurpleDaisies Sat 11-Jan-20 09:25:26

I did this, and was reassured that placements would be within my home county (the university is not).

I wouldn’t take as I’d this as gospel. Lots of students are made assurances like this which turn out not to happen when the u I can’t find enough placements.

toria658 Sat 11-Jan-20 09:42:06

I only survived with a good nursery and I had a good sleeper who would go down at 7pm and only required two night feeds. I was a lone parent. Hardest part for me was getting the uni to help with a placement which met nursery pick up times and did not send me miles out of my way during rush hour ( which was the original placement). Make sure placement is suitable for your circumstances. Also, if possible, have some time at the weekend so you are able to do paperwork and essays. It is a tough gig with children but with organisation it is achievable. Good luck! smile

bringmethehumous Sun 12-Jan-20 00:59:36

I did my PGCE as an older parent with 3 dc (2 in infants 1 in secondary) my partner lived and worked away the majority of the time. I had lots of voluntary school based experience before starting the course (my previous jobs were in SW and early years so we’re also useful experience). Without that I would have struggled. I knew a lot of basic classroom and behaviour management and could focus more on what to teach, not how to teach.
Whatever expectations there are of you re. Hours at school on your PGCE are only the same ones there will be when you qualify anyway so you have to be able to commit to them long term.
The university were exceptionally helpful and always placed those with caring responsibilities (particularly lone parents) as their first priority and none were placed with a significant distance to travel as they were realistic about the demands and wanted you to succeed.
My younger children started off at school breakfast and after school club but the hours were too short for placements- doors didn’t open until 8am I was expected to be in school before that. I was incredibly lucky to have friends who rallied round to support me until I found the most wonderful, flexible childminder- I would never have qualified or completed my NQT without her. I received a bursary to train that covered my childcare.
I very nearly quit during my main placement as I was so exhausted and stressed but my tutor was very stern and told me to get on with it as I was doing fine!
My advice, from the very limited scope of my experience, is go in with your eyes open. You will work exceptionally hard, be constantly worrying that you are not doing a good job at work or as a parent or as a student, have no social life and very little sleep. Line up good quality, flexible childcare that feeds your kids and pay more for it if needed as not having to worry about hungry kids when I picked them up at 6pm was a lifesaver. Keep the time from pick up to kid’s bedtime for them (if they are young) and get up early enough to have a calm morning even if it means even less sleep. Be prepared for the eye rolling ‘mummy’s working AGAIN’ comments that are designed to get your guilt juices flowing!
If you still think it’s for you then go for it! My kids are all a few years older now and don’t bear any long term grudges - they still roll their eyes and say ‘are you working AGAIN mum’ but have respect for the work their teachers do as a result. I absolutely love my job despite the huge workload and hating our one size fits all education system.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

45andfine Mon 13-Jan-20 09:14:34

I did it as a single parent of 4 ( 3 at primary, one at secondary).

It was hard. And I suffered alot of guilt because for 9 months I felt I truly neglected my own children.

Choose your training provider carefully, mine was excellent at ensuring my placement schools were within 30 mins of children's schools.

Then make it clear to your mentor at each placement that you'll work hard, but that your children will come first. Again, my placement schools were brilliant at accepting that I couldn't be at school at 8am, but that I would ALWAYS be there by 0830am.

Don't try and compete with the youngsters who can work 8-6pm.

Accept that you will need to work every evening and weekend during training. But do so knowing that it's not forever and once you're qualified you have much better control over work life balance.

It was the lowest part of my life, I contemplated giving up in the February because I was crying so much, struggling with behaviour management and work load, but... 4 years later, it was worth it.

Once qualified I worked 0.52 of a timetable and gave back the time I'd neglected my children.

4 years later I've found great balance at working 4 day week, using my day off to ensure I don't have to work weekends.

Teacher recruitment is at all time low, use the fact they NEED you, to strike a hard bargain.

Good luck.

SansaSnark Mon 13-Jan-20 09:47:31

If you want certainty over where your placements will be, do schools direct.

PGCE placements can change last minute, schools have staffing changes or bad ofsted and can no longer support a trainee. Ime unis make lots of promises but end up giving some people quite unreasonable commutes.

rosajosephine Mon 13-Jan-20 16:43:51

Thanks for the advice, lots to think about.

Yes I've been looking into teach first.

OP’s posts: |
PurpleDaisies Mon 13-Jan-20 16:52:12

Teach first is very hard. You’re usually in very tough schools chocked straight in at the deep end.

Honestly, if you found it tough as a TA, it really doesn’t sound like the right move for you.

PurpleDaisies Mon 13-Jan-20 16:54:38

Sorry, wrong thread!

Letseatgrandma Mon 13-Jan-20 17:00:28

My PGCE nearly killed me and to be honest, I think the NQT year was worse and the year after that even worse!

And that was as a young person with a boyfriend who did all the cooking and cleaning, and pre kids. It was actually also before learning objectives, success criteria, plenaries, 3/5/7 part lessons and lots of other things! We just had to do a lesson plan, tick if they’d got it right and be reflective!

I cannot imagine doing a PGCE with a child, let alone 4, let alone as a single parent.

What will you do if your child is sick? On your parents evenings, snow days, inset days?

If you’ve got really good family support though, then that will be invaluable.

Good luck. I am desperate to leave and wouldn’t recommend teaching to my worst enemy so am probably not the most sensible person to reply though.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in