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    (Original post by pgce2013)
    anyone starting this September ?
    is it really bad as they say and initially how many lessons are we required to teach
    Yes, it is really tough.

    I didn't believe it beforehand, because I've always had good time management and found school/A-levels/degree/masters quite easy, so assumed I'd be able to handle it. But it's been really, really difficult and time-consuming.

    At my university, on the first placement you teach 50% of an NQT timetable (about 10 hours per week) and on the second placement you teach 67% of an NQT timetable (about 14 hours, but my current school has 50 minute lessons and I do PSHE on top of my subject so it's 17 lessons per week, plus 30 minutes registrations/tutor time each day). 10 lessons per week doesn't sound a lot, but when you first start it can easily take 4 hours to plan a lesson when you have to tick all the boxes and produce your own resources as well as the basics of deciding what you want the pupils to learn and how you're going to get there.

    Luckily it does get easier - it has to, as 4 hours per lesson isn't possible on the higher timetable in the 2nd placement. I'd say it normally takes me around one and a half hours to plan a lesson now, though some take longer and others take hardly any time at all as I can reuse resources I've made for other classes.

    You hear some real horror stories - people working 'til 2am most nights then getting up at 6am to travel to school. This hasn't been my experience - I'm normally in bed by 10:30/11 (but do get up at about 6:15) - although I did have the odd late night (midnight/1am) on my first placement when I was struggling with the planning workload.

    You will have to work really hard, but you can still take time off (I've always had at least Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening off, even if I've worked the whole rest of the time). These days, now the course is coming to an end, I tend to come home and relax for a bit before I do any work, then work for 2-3 hours, then have another little break before bed, whereas in my first placement I often stayed at school 'til 5pm, came home and worked through to 10/11pm and went straight to bed.
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    (Original post by StarBabyCat)
    You build up gradually. My uni stated between 9-11 hours a week. Many say more, 16 or 17 but that would be well into placement 2.

    It is the hardest thing I have ever done, yes, but it's been great too. You progress so much l.

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    I am just worried about the work load in particular lesson planning . I know this may sound silly but how much notice are we given on the lessons we are going to teach and are we notified in advance of what we are going to teach. I just cannot plan the day before I need at least a few days notice initially. Sorry I know I'm asking soo many questions to all you busy people. Are we also constantly observed, I mean for every single lesson. Finally with resources are we required to create them all our selves or is help given.


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    (Original post by myrtille)
    Yes, it is really tough.

    I didn't believe it beforehand, because I've always had good time management and found school/A-levels/degree/masters quite easy, so assumed I'd be able to handle it. But it's been really, really difficult and time-consuming.

    At my university, on the first placement you teach 50% of an NQT timetable (about 10 hours per week) and on the second placement you teach 67% of an NQT timetable (about 14 hours, but my current school has 50 minute lessons and I do PSHE on top of my subject so it's 17 lessons per week, plus 30 minutes registrations/tutor time each day). 10 lessons per week doesn't sound a lot, but when you first start it can easily take 4 hours to plan a lesson when you have to tick all the boxes and produce your own resources as well as the basics of deciding what you want the pupils to learn and how you're going to get there.

    Luckily it does get easier - it has to, as 4 hours per lesson isn't possible on the higher timetable in the 2nd placement. I'd say it normally takes me around one and a half hours to plan a lesson now, though some take longer and others take hardly any time at all as I can reuse resources I've made for other classes.

    You hear some real horror stories - people working 'til 2am most nights then getting up at 6am to travel to school. This hasn't been my experience - I'm normally in bed by 10:30/11 (but do get up at about 6:15) - although I did have the odd late night (midnight/1am) on my first placement when I was struggling with the planning workload.

    You will have to work really hard, but you can still take time off (I've always had at least Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening off, even if I've worked the whole rest of the time). These days, now the course is coming to an end, I tend to come home and relax for a bit before I do any work, then work for 2-3 hours, then have another little break before bed, whereas in my first placement I often stayed at school 'til 5pm, came home and worked through to 10/11pm and went straight to bed.
    Thank you that was very insightful, do you think their is anything I should do before I start to make my life easier. I am thinking of moving to where my placements are, hopefully this will give me some more time to plan


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    (Original post by pgce2013)
    I am just worried about the work load in particular lesson planning . I know this may sound silly but how much notice are we given on the lessons we are going to teach and are we notified in advance of what we are going to teach. I just cannot plan the day before I need at least a few days notice initially. Sorry I know I'm asking soo many questions to all you busy people. Are we also constantly observed, I mean for every single lesson. Finally with resources are we required to create them all our selves or is help given.

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    Hey,

    Yes, you know in advance what lessons you will be teaching. I was given my timetable about a fortnight before I began teaching, and had an observation week at the start of each placement where I had time to observe all the classes I would be teaching (which was great for learning names - I had a class set of photos and drew a seating plan as I figured out who each pupil was! - as well as for seeing how teachers teach in your school. There was also free time for having a look at department resources, getting set up with ICT access, and starting to plan.

    How much you know of what to cover depends on your department scheme of work. One of my coursemates is in a school where everything is centrally planned, the scheme of work contains lesson plans and everyone teaches the same thing. But this is quite unusual. In my first placement, the teachers gave me a rough timetable of what topics to cover in each lesson (I teach French, and it was things like Monday - cinema, what films you like, Wednesday - arranging to go out, Thursday - making excuses, etc.) but said it could be more flexible if needed. In my current school, the scheme of work is literally about half a side of A4 for a whole term's work, so it's not very detailed. I look at that and the textbook (which is rarely used in class but is a good guideline of what order to cover topics in, what content needs to be included) and work out what I'm going to do for the next few lessons and have a vague idea of what I'm doing in the longer term.

    How much you're observed again depends on the school. I think officially, for insurance, they're supposed to have someone there. So when the teacher is off sick you'll probably have a cover supervisor or supply teacher sitting in the back of the room. But in reality, the teachers know it isn't always beneficial to be watched, and you need to feel what it's like to be fully responsible for the class. The teachers I work with often sit in a landing/workroom area just outside the classroom where they can hear what's going on (and sometimes go away to do photocopying, make phonecalls, etc., but mostly they just leave me to it.

    Resources depend a lot on the school too. Some will provide almost everything because they want all teachers to do exactly the same stuff. My first school provided virtually nothing - there was no sharing of resources as a matter of course, each teacher had their own stuff on their harddrive and in a filing cabinet in their classroom. But if I was desperate and asked for help with a particular lesson they'd always be able to find me something. Most of the time I made all my own resources, which was very time consuming. My current school has shared files on the computer and a shared filing cabinet, but a lot of it is just stuff downloaded off the TES and isn't that great. They don't share everything, and I still generally make my own resources or adapt stuff I find online but at least if I'm struggling I normally can find a worksheet to use.
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    It does vary. In my placement 1 I was basically given a topic for the half term, and the freedom to do whatever I liked. I teach history. That was a lot of work, as I had to do a whole scheme of work from scratch, and I wasn't that good at planning at that stage. On my second placement I would ask my mentor what came next in the scheme, and I took as long to teach is as I wanted. After around 6 lessons on the Black Death I really didn't think I could do anymore so had to move on!

    Sometimes there was more to think about if you had to teach for an assessment or exam. That would be more structured.

    You can't really help but be 'hand to mouth' in the sense that I could barely ever plan more than 2 or 3 days ahead. And even then, that was at the very end of placement 2.
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    I thought I'd better add- at the beginning you'll do something like 1 lesson the first week of teaching, then build up to two, etc etc. So in that sense right at the beginning you do have more than 1 day! And you get more into the swing of things you can 'knock out' a lesson quite easily.

    The most time-consuming element is creating resources which can take aaaaaages. Then you have writing up lesson plans and evaluations; by the end I found that the most snore-inducing paper work ever!
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    Thank you all, I do appreciate it and its great coming from you lot. I now know what to expect so will not have a horrible surprise in terms of work load. I'm just worried and always like being on top of things


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    Taught a lesson on sun safety on Monday to my Year 2 group.

    School trip yesterday, Miss gets burnt even though she was wearing suncream!

    Miss is now off sick with sunstroke. :facepalm:

    I have to do additional placement days now. I don't know how many though.

    Waaaaaah.
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    (Original post by pgce2013)
    I am just worried about the work load in particular lesson planning . I know this may sound silly but how much notice are we given on the lessons we are going to teach and are we notified in advance of what we are going to teach. I just cannot plan the day before I need at least a few days notice initially. Sorry I know I'm asking soo many questions to all you busy people. Are we also constantly observed, I mean for every single lesson. Finally with resources are we required to create them all our selves or is help given.


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    As everyone has already said - lots of things really depend on your school.

    On my first placement school, I assumed that I would have a week of observation, followed by a week of teaching starters, then a week of teaching bits of a lesson, before finally taking the whole thing.

    Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out like that. I had a week of observation, and then, on the following Monday, I got handed a copy of the text books, told they were on page 25, and basically got told to know myself out, because as of the Tuesday, I would be fully teaching 100% of all lessons. ( I had 10 hours a week on placement 1).

    I may be the exception rather than the rule, and I honetstly don't want to scare you, as you seem a bit nervous, but you do need to be aware that not all schools follow the 'rules'.

    Observations again, vary. On placement 1, i was observed every single lesson and got formally written feedback about 3 or 4 times a week. On placement 2, I've been left on my own to teach most of the time, and quite often my mentor forgets to observe me 1 week, so will end up having to observe me twice the following week ( Uni rule is one observation a week).

    I also agree with Starbabycat, it's not the lesson planning that takes ages, it is the resource making and the powerpoint making that takes foreeeeeeeeever! I used to like to be planned a week in advance, but i found it was really exhausting me, and taking up my weekends, so now I just plan a day or 2 in advance. I similarly have never been given any resources, teachers have suggested activities to me, or helped me think of how to teach things when I have been brain dead and lacking inspiration, but not once have I been given flashcards or a powerpoint presentation or a worksheet. I have though been expected to lend mine to other members of the department!
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    Has anyone worried about behaviour management before starting the course, and then found it not too bad?
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    (Original post by Lit2010)
    Has anyone worried about behaviour management before starting the course, and then found it not too bad?
    I worried about it, and it has been a constant area for improvement through the whole course (especially now in my school B which has more challenging behaviour). It's not been easy! It's particularly hard to stick with your principles, keep positive and consistent etc, as in the moment it's hard to bring up all that theory.

    BUT it really is something which gets better with practice practice practice and remember you will always have that support in place (why I love the PGCE) to help you, and the theory to ground you. All you need to do is:
    -Be confident
    -Reflect regularly on your teaching and what you've done... what worked, what went well, what could you have done differently. And then it can be a conscious thing like 'This lesson I need to use more praise' or 'this lesson I need to use more stickers' or 'this lesson I need to remember to use 'good choice' when speaking to the children' or whatever. Then it breaks it down in to achievable goals
    -Don't give up... it will take time for them to get to know you and for stuff to work
    -Have a positive atmosphere, keep in mind all the good things the pupils do. Hopefully this one will be easy as a new teacher!

    Our PGCE only had two behaviour sessions, and both later in to the course. At first I was gutted as I thought 'I really need this!' but having gone through it I really do think it's something better learned from experience, as long as you keep the overall ethos in mind.

    (Original post by pgce2013)
    .
    I'll add my courses format in to the mix... it's primary.

    First placement school, it was built up very slowly, first observing and helping out, moving to teaching bits and then to whole sessions (was a nursery so a session was only 3hrs). For the final block me and my practice partner planned practically the whole 4 weeks ourselves, and with the nature of it we could do it well in advance (but adapted lots through the weeks). The teacher was in there the majority of the time, as were at least 2 support staff, and usually my practice partner as well. We sorted out all our resources but the majority were bought items that they had rather than made sheets etc, though there were some.

    Second school, dropped in quite quickly to a lot of hours (as had school A experience, though it was completely different!). I am planning the bits my teacher plans, and I can do them as much in advance as I want but because of the set up and the time it takes I'm planning now for next week and will do this each week. Other teachers plan numeracy and literacy and send them on, so I can adapt them for my class and plan the groups for differentiation etc. This can be quite soon before the day. Some of the time I'm alone but with others nearby, sometimes with a TA or the class teacher acting as a TA. Again, I sort out resources but the school has lots of stuff as well and teachers who plan lit/numeracy sort theirs... it just so happens that my teacher is doing topic this term, so I plan that and sort topic resources for everyone.

    My uni needs one formal observation a week during block placement; half by class teacher, half by uni tutor.

    As you can see very different situations!

    A couple of notes:
    Don't panic about having someone in there with you, it's just part of the background and most teachers are very supportive. It's really helpful to have them able to give you informal feedback on your teaching, it helps you move on so much.

    Someone mentioned above about being thrown in at the deep end when they perhaps shouldn't have been (obviously that's happened now and that person has got through fine). If something like that is causing you problems please tell your uni! That's what they are there for, to support and help you, and they should be able to approach the school in a sensitive and professional way to remind them of what you should and should not be doing.

    xxx
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    Interesting the thing about the timetable building up gradually for some people - I had no idea that was so common.

    In both placements, I did an observation week, then the following week had to teach all my classes. I assumed this was normal, though I know a few people who held off from teaching everything at first, mostly because of ongoing assessments and stuff.

    In my first placement, I had to teach 10 hours per week and for the first few days I was fine as I planned ahead as much as possible in the observation week and thought I'd allowed enough time to plan for the end of the week. But I ended up spending all of Tuesday evening reviewing/replanning lessons for Wednesday, and the same on Wednesday for Thursday, so on my first Thursday evening I was left with three lessons to plan from scratch for the following day. Bearing in mind I said it took me 4 hours to plan each lesson at the start. I ended up crying and giving one of the lessons back to the HoD to give me time to plan the other two, and the following week I shared the teaching of a couple of lessons with my mentor. After that I was fine and managed to teach my full timetable every week.

    Basically, my point is that regardless of what the school's practice is in terms of when you start teaching your full timetable, they should respond to your needs. I was quite happy to be thrown straight in (my mentor said they wanted my role in the classroom to be unambiguously that of a teacher, not some kind of 'helper' or TA by having a phased start, and on the whole I agreed), but I needed to take a step back for a few days when the workload first really hit me, and the school responded to that, so it was fine.
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    In other news... SIX SCHOOL DAYS TO GO!
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    Ha ha, luckily I'm done and dusted on placements now it's the pesky maths getting me down! Second go tomorrow! Fingers crossed!!!!!!!!!
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    (Original post by StarBabyCat)
    Ha ha, luckily I'm done and dusted on placements now it's the pesky maths getting me down! Second go tomorrow! Fingers crossed!!!!!!!!!
    You will be fine with the maths if I passed it I'm sure you can. It's good they've changed them so we have to pass before we start ITT


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    I am contemplating if I should defer or just get on with the PGCE in Sep this forum has freaked me out. It has always been an ambition to become a teacher


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    (Original post by pgce2013)
    I am contemplating if I should defer or just get on with the PGCE in Sep this forum has freaked me out. It has always been an ambition to become a teacher
    Don't panic, go for it. Be prepared to work hard but remember to give yourself a break sometimes.

    Remember you'll be in uni for several weeks at the start of the course, and between your 2 placements, and that's a nice break too because most of the time you can come home in the evening and do no work.

    Just get organised as soon as you can (not now, but in the first couple of weeks at uni) by making sure you have plenty of folders, paper wallets, dividers etc., some shelving (or one of those folding plastic crates) to store it in, and that when you start placement you can keep your stuff more or less tidy so you know where it all is when you have to prepare your folders in case they get moderated at the end of the course.

    You can do it - we've survived it.
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    Why would you want to defer? What difference would a year make? I read all the forums last year and freaked out too, and it was even worse because I'm a mum and I didn't know if I would cope. But if I can then anyone can!
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    (Original post by StarBabyCat)
    Why would you want to defer? What difference would a year make? I read all the forums last year and freaked out too, and it was even worse because I'm a mum and I didn't know if I would cope. But if I can then anyone can!
    I was thinking about preparing myself fully and maybe gaining more experience in a school. Is it possible to defer my current place? I do not want to go through the interview process again


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    (Original post by pgce2013)
    I was thinking about preparing myself fully and maybe gaining more experience in a school. Is it possible to defer my current place? I do not want to go through the interview process again


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    You would have to check with your uni, but it is not very common for people to be allowed to defer.

    What you have to remember is that, yes, there are loads of horror stories on here and on the TES, but thats because we all tend to come online for a rant and to let off steam. For every 1 horror story there is probably 2 or 3 good stories, but people don't tend to write about them.

    Getting more experience in a school is always helpful *but* and it is a big *but*, you only learn by doing, TA-ing or teaching small groups does not help to prepare you any better for a PGCE. Also, each school is so different, you could get experience in a particular type of school, and find that your two placement schools are very different. Personally, I think that if you want to be a teacher, you are better off doing PGCE sooner rather than later.

    You need to have thick skin to be a teacher and to roll with the punches. It all sounds scary now, the anticipation of something is always worse than the event itself. but once you get stuck into the course, you won't have time to worry about stuff, you'll find yourself just getting on with it. The year absolutely flies by.
 
 
 
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