Whether you’re a career changer, thinking about starting a BEd or you’re planning on taking the PGCE route you’ll find lots of advice here. Charlie Taylor will answer new topics containing "Dear Charlie" in the subject.
Thanks missibbotsen and nemo., this is all very reassuring. :)
I think you're right that a lot depends on your attitude to work and stress, and what you're used to. I managed to complete my MA dissertation whilst working 2 jobs (one full-time and one part-time - usually a total of 50-60 hours per week, plus teaching dance in my spare time), so I think I can handle this!
I know it's going to be hard work, but I think so long as I employ my usual strategies (start early, do big chunks of work, have a good break every evening), it should be OK.
I'm happy to do some work at weekends, but not constantly. I teach dancing for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon and then have my own lessons after that, so am hoping to be able to keep that time free. But that would still leave me Sunday daytime for PGCE work, and both evening weekends off...
umm.... admittedly it is 20+ years since my PGCE and a lot has changed since then (it has got a lot harder and has a lot more paperwork), but I was never through by 4.00. I'm still not!
and ..... most schools in this area (Berks) start at 8.30-8.40, so arriving at 8.00 is pushing it, 7.30 woudl be far better.
Caveat: my only experience is in secondary - if you are primary it may well be completely different!
"Treat negative feedback from observers as the observers weakness. I was lucky though to mostly have professional feedback" is the way to irritate your mentors to the extent that they will stop trying to help you.
Well said! And I totally agree! There is too much negativity on here. In the student teachers thread someone had done "10 reasons why not to teach in a secondary school" and I re worded it all to say why you SHOULD.
I am on a PGCE secondary course. I get in school at 7.45 to do photocopying etc, then leave when the bell goes! And on this placement I don't think I have done evening/weekend work once? Apart from a tiny bit of GCSE essay marking in front of the TV!
I get to school that early because I work better in the morning. I am in bed by 10pm as I love an early night and makes getting up at 6am no problem.
I'd been thinking lately - why am I not working every hour under the sun (like the ppl seem to be on here and on my course!)? And spoke to my mentor about this. She said there is no point making fancy resources all night when less is very often more! And she says my lessons are great, never asks to see what I have done in advance and is happy with my progress (as is my uni tutor).
This bank holiday weekend I just chilled. Got in and planned my 3 lessons for the day within an hour. Year 7s will be making up a story (effort for them, not me) then doing a quiz (which I nicked off the science museum website). Year 12s and 13s will be doing exam practise. The pupils will be doing the work - which is how it should be! I will obvs go round, offer advice and facilitate discussion - but I will not spoon feed them! All lessons have a starter and plenary too before anyone panics!!
Def recommend getting the **** to behave and the lazy teachers toolkit. Tbh I think I get on with pupils well as I am always in a good mood as have had a good nights sleep and still see my family and friends. After being ridiculously stressed during the final year of my degree - I made being chilled out my priority! I was a horrible grumpy stress head and have no intention of going back to that.
One tip I would add - try and get lessons that you can repeat. I appreciate this is more a secondary thing. My year 12 class on mon and tues I then re teach to another year 12 class on wed and thurs. This means I just tweak by making improvements as realise some activities could have been better, but literally halves the planning load.
sparkle90- even though it was my aim to reassure the future trainees, you have somewhat reassured me too that I am not the only person who isnt working all the time, as I sometime have to ask myself if I am missing something, but obviously not!
The less is more thing is a really important one. There is no point making fantastic work sheets full of info cos all you are doing is spoon feeding them and then you get the gut wrenching feeling when the class leaves and there is a bunch of screwwed up sheets on the floor of the back row full of work they have copied off the clever kid. I hardly use work sheets, instead I rely on discussion, the use of writing frames on power points and the class making notes (it is always worth teaching your class early on how to be an effective note taker even in ks5, yes it seems pretty simple but we are graduates, they are teenagers!)
From a 50% curious and 50% jealous position (!) I'm surprised that people are finished at 4pm. I'm getting in the car for the 1hr+ drive home from my placement school at that time!
How do you reflect on every lesson? We have to right a side of typed A4 on our evaluation of our performance and the children's progress for EVERY lesson we teach and I can't imagine it being physically possible to type up three of these everyday and finish at 4pm.
As I started with, I'm genuinely curious about the way different courses get their trainees to keep a paper trail! I'm someone else who has come from industry and applied organisation and efficiency to the yearlong process but would find it a physical impossibility to be finished before 8pm everyday with my course's workload.
SlippersandagoodbookWe have to right a side of typed A4 on our evaluation of our performance and the children's progress for EVERY lesson we teach
That is ridiculous! Talk about your course provider trying to make something out of nothing. I hand write an evaluation for every lesson. This is divided up into a few sections including; subject knowledge, teaching, learning, classroom management and resources. Each of these sections get at the most three sentences, sometimes it is not necessary to fill them all, somethimes one may get a full paragraph depending on how the lesson went.
And by the way, Im in the same boat with the drive. I finish school around 3.45 and then have an hour drive home straight through the city centre, if I could express my sarcasm I would state it's a lovely end to the day when Ive been up since 6am!
missibbotson reassured me too that I am not the only person who isnt working all the time, as I sometime have to ask myself if I am missing something, but obviously not!
Reflecting on each lesson takes me about 5-10 minutes. We only have to fill in a template sheet with questions such as: were your LO's met, how do you know, how did you ensure all pupils progressed, did all pupils participate, how would you improve participation next lesson, how would you teach this lesson differently next time etc. I fill it in by hand at the end of lessons/free period. Also we don't have to provide 3 pieces of evidence for each QTS standard like some courses do.
Obviously this post isn’t to say that it is easy for everyone. Courses vary HUGELY. And I would imagine secondary/primary is different too (e.g. being secondary I don't understand how free periods work for primary people as the class are together the whole time). If I was on your course I could well be working til 8 too!
I think the point is just to be made that in 99% of cases people don’t feel it’s the worst year of their life - which is quite important for prospective PGCE students to know. And that if you can make things easier for yourself by using existing resources at the school, swapping with people on your course, looking on TES etc, then definitely to. All the best with the last few weeks of your placement :)
(no idea why the font varies throughout? can't work out how to change it!)
EJDWDo you have any tips for workload management for the younger ones? I am going to be teaching KS2, year 4 - 6?
Very obvious suggestion but make use of self and peer marking at every opportunity!
Marking can eat up a lot of time especially if you are unlucky enough to be in a school that requires 'quality marking' for each book, every lesson.
If you make the SC really clear before they start working then Y4 + can easily, with a little managing and modelling, self-assess against this criteria and save you a lot of time.
To go back to the original topic, most people do get through the year and say they enjoyed it (when it is all completed!). How hard you will have to work depends on two factors:
(i) How organised you are.
(ii) How much paperwork your course wants you to provide.
However, even if your course requires a rainforest worth of paper for *cough* pointless *cough* tasks and you organise your workload then you still shouldn't be working every hour of the day and night like some of the horror stories that you read.
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