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Struggling on ACCESS TO HE DIP: TEACHER TRAINING watch

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    Hi guys,
    I started my access course in september and I have been enjoying the couse itself but I'm really struggling with the workload. I have Bi-Polar disorder and some of the medication I take effects my concentration, at times it feels like i am in on another planet when i'm in my lessons.
    Currently i'm supposed to receive extra support from a 1-2-1 tutor but as yet I have not received this, I havent really bonded with the class too much, I suffer with aniexty issues so its hard to go to them for help with my coursework. I emailed my tutor today to say I'm struggling and I'm strongly considering withdrawing from the course, it not what i want to do but i see it as if I'm struggling now it can only get worst as the workload gets more.

    Any suggestions would be greatly apprieciated

    Hannah
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    (Original post by Hmcpherson)
    Hi guys,
    I started my access course in september and I have been enjoying the couse itself but I'm really struggling with the workload. I have Bi-Polar disorder and some of the medication I take effects my concentration, at times it feels like i am in on another planet when i'm in my lessons.
    Currently i'm supposed to receive extra support from a 1-2-1 tutor but as yet I have not received this, I havent really bonded with the class too much, I suffer with aniexty issues so its hard to go to them for help with my coursework. I emailed my tutor today to say I'm struggling and I'm strongly considering withdrawing from the course, it not what i want to do but i see it as if I'm struggling now it can only get worst as the workload gets more.

    Any suggestions would be greatly apprieciated

    Hannah
    Hey Hannah,

    I'm avoiding work right now, and so I'll probably write a lot, to extend the period of avoidance. Grab a coffee, or two. I saw this and I've got a few tips to share. Right off the bat, I will declare that I don't know what it's like to be under medication or to suffer from anxiety. I raise this point as a disclaimer of sorts, in case I suggest something which you couldn't see yourself willing to do, or something which may for one reason or another be impractical. It's a long way of saying my word is not gospel: take whatever you find useful and discard the rest.

    Dropping out

    You posted this 2 days ago, and I hope it's not too late and you're still unsure. A fair amount of people in my Access Course dropped out. I think if you can stay on (that is to say if it won't cause any damage either financially, emotionally etc), you shouldn't. But this is also conditional. Let me unpack that a bit.

    You registered on this Access Course for a reason. Presumably, you want to be a teacher, and are currently not one. There is something about teaching as a career that you calculated as being significantly of more benefit, in whatever guise this benefit assumed, than your present career/situation. Further, you actually went and enrolled, which if we assume that you mulled over the decision for a bit, also suggests that you felt you could do it.

    What I'm trying to say is, although dropping out is rationalized as something that was unavoidable at the time, in many cases, that simply isn't true. Unless the reasons that cause someone to drop out cannot be addressed, only then can it truly be unavoidable.

    Like I said, I can't put myself in your shoes, but the fact that you're seeking possible solutions suggests that there's hope something might work, and hopefully get you back on your feet. Let's get into the meaty stuff.

    Separating the wheat from the chaff

    What I'm going to say here is a little controversial. Like I said, take from it what you may and discard the rest.

    I have Bi-Polar disorder and some of the medication I take effects my concentration, at times it feels like i am in on another planet when i'm in my lessons.

    We have in our heads an ideal picture of what learning should look like. This is especially so for mature students, who've been out of the game for a while, so to speak. You are not graded on how much you paid attention in lessons, strictly speaking. This may have some bearing on how well/quickly you understand your assignments and so forth, but nonetheless; your essays, your written work - that's what counts. If you are able to produce good work, then it doesn't matter how present you are in lesson. Many people in class are daydreaming anyway.

    My point is, don't feel like you have to be on the ball, all the time. It's as unrealistic as it is impossible.

    I havent really bonded with the class too much, I suffer with aniexty issues so its hard to go to them for help with my coursework.

    Making connections is great. It's nice to feel accepted or to feel part of something. However, if we go back to the earlier point I raised, you presumably enrolled to improve your life in some way, or thought enrolment beneficial. It was an inherently selfish decision; you did it chiefly for yourself, and that's perfectly alright. This decision was not predicated on you making friends with people you had not yet met. Therefore, strictly speaking, your decision to stay on the course shouldn't be affected by something that had no bearing on your decision to enrol for it. To reduce it further; if your dream really is to teach, then it cannot/should not/must not be contingent on making friends on your Access Course. This selfish decision also requires single-minded focus on what is to be earned by sticking with it. This is only the prescriptive foundational thinking behind this. I'm not ruling out the prospect of making friends; I'm just suggesting that it shouldn't be decisive in your choosing to stay or leave.

    Asking for Help/Bonding etc

    I won't patronise you with empty statements on how to make friends. You have friends and you know how to make them. Given how few genuine friends people have, you also understand how rare truly meaningful connections with people are. Probability says you probably won't find a best friend on your course, even if you make an effort to reach out. That also doesn't mean you shouldn't. Whilst you may not find someone with whom youll spend all your spare time getting work done with, friendships of convenience can be made, and these are rewarding in their own way.

    It's important to overcome the initial resistance by simply asking. I usually go for who I think is very able. Able students like learning and get a nice ego-boost from teaching (generally). They are quite willing to help. There will be moments where you hesitate, and in those moments, remember your goal, and remember that you're doing it for you.

    Workload

    A lot of what I say comes from a paradigm. This is to say there is a fundamental belief/assumption driving my thoughts etc.

    A useful paradigm for workload is: you eat an elephant one bite at a time.

    I don't know your current set-up in terms of the commitments you have etc. What I recommend may be unworkable. Pick and discard accordingly.

    Access workload is fairly tricky, although my currently university workload makes Access seem pedestrian. From my current position, I think I can deliver a few helpful tips.

    1. Keep a visual record of your deadlines: your smartphone calendar; a physical one; your diary; all that needs to have the deadlines written in. This way you'll never be caught by surprise, and you're more likely to stay on top of things. I say more likely, because you can still put the work off (like I'm doing). However, you can avoid this if you...

    2. Start your essays 10 days before: On my access course, we'd get assignments 2 weeks before the deadline - sometimes a bit more. You should start writing the essay about 10 days before the deadline as a rule - even if it's just an essay plan. Why? Getting started is the hardest part, and you always appreciate whatever work you've done to get past that stage. The first few days, you need to focus on gathering research material relevant to your question. You can also use this to interrogate your tutors and figure out what exactly they are looking for to assign a good grade - whatever that means to you. I'd say always aim for a distinction. That said, 10 days seems like a long time to come up with 2000 or so words, but time flies, and it's easy to get distracted. You can avoid this if you...

    3. Work on it consistently: I'd say you should be dedicating 1.5-2 hours a day on an assignment during week days, and 2 to 3 hours on weekends. That will get you the 15 or so hours it takes to produce a decent essay in 10 days. My point is, work consistently; daily. Where some days are tricky, even 15 minutes is helpful, because the work stays fresh in your mind, and you're constantly thinking about it. You can have conversations about it with your classmates, or you may hear something on the news or radio that's relevant. You're more likely to make that connection if it's fresh in your mind.

    Currently i'm supposed to receive extra support from a 1-2-1 tutor but as yet I have not received this

    Remember that bit where I said it's useful to operate from paradigms? It helps reframe situations in your mind, so that what is externally the same is subjectively no longer the same. You enrolled for you, and may have paid money to do so. Therefore, you are entitled to this help. Them not giving you this help is in a way, compromising your dream/goal, and that's just not on. Therefore, it is incumbent upon you to exercise some agency and proactively seek the help you know you need. I can see how you may hesitate so as not to feel like you're being bothersome etc.

    A simple shift of perspective can reduce this somewhat. Let's take our paradigm for a spin. Remember that bit where you decided you wanted to do this? That you were going to enrol for this course; that you thought yourself able etc. Just as this decision was not predicated on you making friends with people you'd never met, it was also not predicated on keeping everyone happy. Kicking up a bit of a fuss about not receiving the help you need is not being bothersome (I'm heavily assuming that's why it seems as though you've not done anything about it as the tone of your message suggests). From this paradigm, it's necessary for the attainment of your goal, and if some people get annoyed by it, who cares?


    It not what i want to do but i see it as if I'm struggling now it can only get worst as the workload gets more.

    It's good that you don't want to withdraw, because implicit in this is the possibility of you willing to do something to reverse the issues you're currently having.

    I can't suggest any magic regarding the work; you need to do the reading, and you need to do the assignments early. The only way you'll start reducing the workload is through consistent, sustained effort. There's nothing enviable about working 12 hours in one day; it usually leaves you too tired to repeat the feat the next day, which breaks the chain, and makes the following day more likely to pass without much to show for it. The trick is timetabling 4-5 hours of good quality work every day. You could get up early and do an hour in the morning. You could do another hour during a free period. Another hour before dinner, and two hours after dinner. The key is to make that routine and habitual - not a spontaneous occurrence.

    I hope this helps. I am also doing the exact opposite of what I've just said, so on that note, I will stop and go back to my work. Forgive any grammatical errors as I haven't edited this
 
 
 

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