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    Hi,

    I have a place on a post-compulsory PGCE at ioe starting this September. Everything I read about the PGCE (or even what I am told by the lecturers at Greenwich/UCL) is that it's really, really intense, really hard work, that you have no life, and that it has a huge drop-out rate.

    At the moment I work full-time hours, and am doing an undergrad degree, which means I have no life, attend lectures in the evenings, and spend all weekends writing assignments and my dissertation. It's hard work and stressful but I've been doing it for four years so I'm used to it.

    I'm wondering, how can the PGCE be worse than what I'm currently doing? I know it will be a different kind of stress, new things to learn, lesson planning etc, but I'll be doing that and only that full-time instead of juggling two things work and uni. With all this said, could it really be that hard? All the horror stories and people dropping out are a concern to me, and I'm not sure what to think.

    Thanks,
    Kat.
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    Hi Kat,
    Like you, I am moving from a job to a PGCE this year. I have spoken to quite a few current students and some of their comments have reassured me that there are some things you can do to mitigate the long hours.
    We shouldn't be doing a full time table so there will be some time to do work during the day and to save the low intensity stuff for the evening (researching, making things for lessons).
    I think the experience will vary enormously for each person and my ITT provider said people with work experience tend to get on quite well as we are (or should be used to) planning our own time. Personally there's a lot I'm bring in terms of skills from my previous work.
    I can't imagine how it could be any harder than you are already doing.

    I found this article that shows to drop out rate has doubled (20 to 40%) in 10 years, so it can't get much worse! Each profession has it's ups and downs.

    http://www.theguardian.com/education...-within-a-year.

    And, even though it is from 2013, here's the reason we are going into this...
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...ys-survey.html

    All the best for your finals!
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    (Original post by akemikat)
    Hi,

    I have a place on a post-compulsory PGCE at ioe starting this September. Everything I read about the PGCE (or even what I am told by the lecturers at Greenwich/UCL) is that it's really, really intense, really hard work, that you have no life, and that it has a huge drop-out rate.

    At the moment I work full-time hours, and am doing an undergrad degree, which means I have no life, attend lectures in the evenings, and spend all weekends writing assignments and my dissertation. It's hard work and stressful but I've been doing it for four years so I'm used to it.

    I'm wondering, how can the PGCE be worse than what I'm currently doing? I know it will be a different kind of stress, new things to learn, lesson planning etc, but I'll be doing that and only that full-time instead of juggling two things work and uni. With all this said, could it really be that hard? All the horror stories and people dropping out are a concern to me, and I'm not sure what to think.

    Thanks,
    Kat.
    Academically it's not that diffficult. If you've done a degree which is largely theoretical and essay based, the PGCE ones are quite light in comparison and relatively quick and easy to research and write.

    The weeks in university are a nice break - lectures/seminars/workshops, chat with coursemates over lunch and in the pub at the end of the day, a bit of reading/essay writing in the evenings and at the weekends but plenty of free time still.

    The teaching placements are a really steep learning curve. I found that during my first placement (teaching 10 lessons per week) it initially took me about 4 hours to plan and resource each lesson. So that was 40 hours of planning, plus all the other things we had to do (10 hours of teaching, tutor time, attending school/department meetings, reflective journal, lesson evaluations, marking, contacting parents where needed...).

    By the end of my 2nd placement (teaching 17 lessons per week) it took me more like 1.5 hours to plan each lesson so although I was teaching more lessons I actually had a lot more free time and a bit more of a work-life balance by the time May came around.

    There are definite peaks and troughs in the year and there will be weeks when it all feels completely unmanageable and you want to quit (probably in November when it's dark and miserable and you get home in the dark to sit and plan lessons when you feel like it should be bedtime). But if you get through them, there'll be better weeks.

    The best advice given to me during the PGCE was my subject tutor who told us on the first day "Just keep turning up." It's impossible to be prepared for everything, to do all of the recommended reading, to teach amazing lessons every day. But if you persevere, keep turning up and prioritise the essential things you have to do each day, you'll get there in the end.
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    myrtille has some great advice!

    Keep in mind a FE PGCE may be slightly different as the placement and uni will run all year with your timetable split between the two all year.

    I made a decision i wouldn't do any work on weekends have pretty much stuck to that! Do all your planning inbetween lessons on placement and it's all good!
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    I think the reason it is so hard is for 2 reasons:
    a) The work you are doing is just mentally draining so the long hours don't help and
    b) I think many people don't expect it so it is all comparative. Probably if you went into expecting it to be tough then it wouldn't be too bad. The jump to me is like GCSE to A-Level. You feel you work hard at GCSE level but when you get to A-Level you realise what work really is.

    As for timetable this was my normal placement timetable. [I did a QTS degree so it will similar but a couple of difference]:
    6:30am - Get up, shower, breakfast, etc
    7:30am - Leave for school (it is normal to be staying a half an hour drive away)
    8:00am - Prepare for the day; speak to mentor organise lesson plans, etc
    8:30am - Start day of lessons. Free lessons are full of lesson evaluations, meetings with various people to fill your folder and meet standard
    Break - Usually feedback from mentor and talking about next lessons, organising equipment and preparing next lesson plans (I was teaching PE)
    11am - More lessons and more lesson evaluations
    Lunch - As well as eating, lunch duties, clubs, photocopying evidence for standards, more feedback, etc
    1:30pm - More lessons, etc
    3:30pm - Final feedback from the day, last minute photocopying, running clubs, detentions, etc
    5:00pm - Go home and have dinner
    7:00pm - Plan lessons, edit lesson plans that mentors had changed, find standards, organise everything for the following day (you have to be very organised), more lesson evaluations, etc
    11:00pm - Relax with some TV
    Midnight - Sleep ready for the next day.

    At the weekends I would often spend half a day planning the week. At least until Wednesday as mentors usually liked to see lesson plans at least 48hours in advance and changed larged chunks to be edited the night before so you have to get ahead.

    The only thing is I finished in 2012 and that was when we had 31 standards decided into sub-standards and needed about 2 pieces of evidence for each. So about 100 pieces of evidence within 6 weeks. That has been massiveky reduced since.
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    (Original post by akemikat)
    Hi,

    I have a place on a post-compulsory PGCE at ioe starting this September. Everything I read about the PGCE (or even what I am told by the lecturers at Greenwich/UCL) is that it's really, really intense, really hard work, that you have no life, and that it has a huge drop-out rate.

    At the moment I work full-time hours, and am doing an undergrad degree, which means I have no life, attend lectures in the evenings, and spend all weekends writing assignments and my dissertation. It's hard work and stressful but I've been doing it for four years so I'm used to it.

    I'm wondering, how can the PGCE be worse than what I'm currently doing? I know it will be a different kind of stress, new things to learn, lesson planning etc, but I'll be doing that and only that full-time instead of juggling two things work and uni. With all this said, could it really be that hard? All the horror stories and people dropping out are a concern to me, and I'm not sure what to think.

    Thanks,
    Kat.

    I'm on a Primary SCITT with the PGCE, so different to what you'll be doing in the sense that I'm constantly in school, with only one training day a week, and also I'm at the other end of education to you.

    However, having just finished my second placement, I can give you some idea of what it has been like since September, and I'm going to echo what others have already said.

    I completely agree that, in terms of assignments for the PGCE part, if you are used to writing essays for uni you will be fine. I never found writing essays at all difficult, and wrote a hefty research dissertation, and if you are used to doing it now, you will be fine with that part of it.

    In terms of being in school, in my opinion there are two key aspects: firstly, be organised. Know what you have to do, and when you have to do it by. Don't leave things until the last minute, do them as soon as you physically can. I've been working like that since I don't know when, but before GCSEs, and it is really helping me now. I don't get very stressed, although I have been working fairly constantly (planning and making resources for lessons, mostly) across the weekends. However, this is balanced by the other rule I made: have time for myself. I don't work in the evenings if I don't have to, because I want to sit and relax before I fall asleep. I also make sure that I take about 2 hours out of my weekend to pursue my hobby, and I truly believe that making that decision is what has kept me sane for the last six months!

    To back up what I'm saying, allow me to give you some of the experiences of other people on my course. With the PGCE assignments, the step up to Masters level writing can take a bit of getting used to - some people on my course couldn't get to grips with it quickly enough to manage with the first assignment, and the rest of us found that our marks were lower than we would have liked. Not sure about the rest of them, but I've gotten the hang of it now and find it fairly easy to write effectively. As long as I actually hand in my next assignment (due Wednesday), I will already have passed the PGCE at a level 7 (post-grad level).

    My course mates' problems are compounded by the fact that they leave things until the last minute. Assignment due in? They leave it until 4 days before deadline to start writing it. Evidence folders being reviewed? They think about it the day before, and then try to make an excuse as to why they can't bring it for review... The fact is that they follow my second rule a bit too much, and not my first rule. It results in a lot of complaining and moaning from them, and although I have every reason to believe that they are doing fine in the teaching practice, they aren't showcasing it well otherwise.

    On the plus side, none of them have dropped out yet, although almost all of them have suddenly discovered the meaning of hard work, and tiredness! As someone else said, if you enter it with the idea that it will be hard work (as I did), then you will probably be OK. However, I am firmly of the opinion that the major factor of how well people cope on a PGCE is how well supported they are by the teachers, tutors and mentors they have to work with...
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    PGCEs are difficult, although I doubt more difficult than doing both an undergraduate degree and full time work at the same time (although potentially equally as difficult).

    In the grand scheme of things 1 year is a short time, so even if it is really tough if you're resilient enough you can always get through it, but what you have to remember is that it's not as if the stress immediately ends once you've qualified. Teaching get slightly easier after the PGCE and NQT years but it's still a bloody difficult job and the long hours and stress can limit your lifestyle choices. In a way, the question you should be asking yourself is not whether you can cope with something for one year but whether you can cope with losing your evenings and weekends for potentially decades afterwards. Of course, that's not to say that there aren't positive aspects of teaching as there certainly are, but remember that it comes at a price.
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    To be honest, I don't find it that difficult. Occasionally everything piles up at once to stress you out, but for the most part it's been fine for me.

    On placement, I set a rule and never work after 9pm, and only one day on the weekend (it's usually more like I'm done by 7pm on a weekday and my weekend work is an afternoon or a couple of hours tbh). So I've not lost my life to teaching.

    The academic side is no problem. The expectations hop up since the essays are masters level not undergrad, but I didn't find them any more difficult to actually write or research.

    For perspective, my placement was 60% of a full timetable (so 3 full days teaching) in primary. So I'm not just on 'ease you in' hours and having a shock in store haha.
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    Hi everyone!

    I have another question about the PGCE.

    Are there any students of Asian ethnicity in your PGCE programme?

    I was born and raised abroad and speak English at a native level but am from Japan.
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    I think it really depends on your provider and on the placement school. My second teaching placement has been extremely stressful and there just aren't enough hours in the day. I am expected to do a detailed lesson plan and reflection for every lesson I teach. In addition to planning, teaching, photocopying and marking, I also have to attend two training sessions and two meetings a week plus meetings with my mentor and with the class teachers whose lessons I teach. It's completely taken over my life and I work most weekends as well.

    I worked a lot when I was in my final year but the PGCE has been much harder. The academic side of things has been ok for me and I did quite well but most of the maths trainees who didn't have to do much writing at undergrad find it challenging.


    (Original post by sawi)
    Hi everyone!

    I have another question about the PGCE.

    Are there any students of Asian ethnicity in your PGCE programme?

    I was born and raised abroad and speak English at a native level but am from Japan.
    There are a few Asian students on my course but not very many. I would have thought that it depends on the area where you are training to teach. Bigger cities like London, Birmingham or Manchester are more multicultural and you'll probably find more students from different backgrounds if you study there. I really wouldn't worry though, I'm sure most people will be friendly and welcoming... It's a tough year for everyone so most people will try to support each other as much as they can
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    (Original post by traineeteacher_)
    I think it really depends on your provider and on the placement school. My second teaching placement has been extremely stressful and there just aren't enough hours in the day. I am expected to do a detailed lesson plan and reflection for every lesson I teach. In addition to planning, teaching, photocopying and marking, I also have to attend two training sessions and two meetings a week plus meetings with my mentor and with the class teachers whose lessons I teach. It's completely taken over my life and I work most weekends as well.

    I worked a lot when I was in my final year but the PGCE has been much harder. The academic side of things has been ok for me and I did quite well but most of the maths trainees who didn't have to do much writing at undergrad find it challenging.




    There are a few Asian students on my course but not very many. I would have thought that it depends on the area where you are training to teach. Bigger cities like London, Birmingham or Manchester are more multicultural and you'll probably find more students from different backgrounds if you study there. I really wouldn't worry though, I'm sure most people will be friendly and welcoming... It's a tough year for everyone so most people will try to support each other as much as they can
    Yeah, I'm planning to go to London
    I'm slightly worried about how I will be treated by students/teachers when I'm doing my placements though. Do most of you have British accents then?

    (sorry for the weird question) Thanks!
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    (Original post by sawi)
    Yeah, I'm planning to go to London
    I'm slightly worried about how I will be treated by students/teachers when I'm doing my placements though. Do most of you have British accents then?

    (sorry for the weird question) Thanks!
    There are a few people on my School Direct course who are from another ethnicity than "White British", although most have been brought up in the UK. However, there is one person who lived in India until they were 23, and then moved over to the UK. As far as teaching with an accent, I think they have, at times, been told to make sure that they are very clear with what they are saying, but as far as I know there have been no major issues, even with the smallest of primary school children.
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    What you are saying is far more important that how you are saying it. One of the Teachers' Standards (which are the standards that all trainee teachers must meet in order to qualify and all qualified teachers must continue to adhere to) is to 'demonstrate an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting highstandards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English'. This is something that international students often find easier to adhere to than British students because international students largely only have knowledge of standard English whereas British trainees have to make a conscious effort not to use the various forms of non-standard English that they have used throughout their life when they are teaching!
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    (Original post by Pierson)
    What you are saying is far more important that how you are saying it. One of the Teachers' Standards (which are the standards that all trainee teachers must meet in order to qualify and all qualified teachers must continue to adhere to) is to 'demonstrate an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting highstandards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English'. This is something that international students often find easier to adhere to than British students because international students largely only have knowledge of standard English whereas British trainees have to make a conscious effort not to use the various forms of non-standard English that they have used throughout their life when they are teaching!
    Haha, very true.
    Are you currently a teacher or are you still in the process of obtaining your PGCE?
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    (Original post by beanbrain)
    There are a few people on my School Direct course who are from another ethnicity than "White British", although most have been brought up in the UK. However, there is one person who lived in India until they were 23, and then moved over to the UK. As far as teaching with an accent, I think they have, at times, been told to make sure that they are very clear with what they are saying, but as far as I know there have been no major issues, even with the smallest of primary school children.
    Thanks for your reply.
    Well, I have an american accent so I was just wondering if the students would be weirded out. :turtle:
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    (Original post by sawi)
    Thanks for your reply.
    Well, I have an american accent so I was just wondering if the students would be weirded out. :turtle:
    When I was doing my training we had a Finnish and Chinese girl. Both were accepted on the course as well as in the schools. They could cope with the accent. All they needed was Cambridge Advanced (might have been an A or B grade though).
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    (Original post by sawi)
    Haha, very true.
    Are you currently a teacher or are you still in the process of obtaining your PGCE?
    I am still in the process - my final placement begins in two weeks and then that'll be it!

    The students would definitely take an interest in your accent and ask where you are from etc but, in a city like London, it's common to encounter a range of accents in day-to-day life so it's unlikely they would be weirded out by it.
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    (Original post by sawi)
    Thanks for your reply.
    Well, I have an american accent so I was just wondering if the students would be weirded out. :turtle:
    Haha, they won't be weirded out by it, but they will be intrigued! I have a very slight accent (Australian) and I personally don't notice it and didn't think anyone else would. After a couple of weeks, a 9 year old boy started asking me where I was from! They will want to know and talk to you about it, more than be worried by it. As long as it doesn't get in the way of your teaching, it won't matter at all. Although depending on the age/subject you are teaching, you might have to be careful about the way you pronounce things - if you are doing primary, phonics could be counter-intuitive for you (although it's fairly counter-intuitive for me and most of my friends, to tell the truth!).
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    (Original post by beanbrain)
    Haha, they won't be weirded out by it, but they will be intrigued! I have a very slight accent (Australian) and I personally don't notice it and didn't think anyone else would. After a couple of weeks, a 9 year old boy started asking me where I was from! They will want to know and talk to you about it, more than be worried by it. As long as it doesn't get in the way of your teaching, it won't matter at all. Although depending on the age/subject you are teaching, you might have to be careful about the way you pronounce things - if you are doing primary, phonics could be counter-intuitive for you (although it's fairly counter-intuitive for me and most of my friends, to tell the truth!).
    Haha, thanks for your reply.
    I feel less worried now!
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    Thanks for all your responses they have been very useful!
 
 
 
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