rehgallab
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Hi all,

I'm hoping to find some advice/helpful tips. I have been on my Primary PGCE since September. I initially had quite a bad placement from october until january and so put down my lack of enjoyment to that and decided to see how my next placement went. It was going ok but the extreme work load is getting to me and now (5 weeks before the end) I have just been plummeting grades wise and struggling with the work load. I spend most nights crying and dreading the next day but I'm so close to the end that I feel like it would but stupid to quit. But then I also don't want to teach in the long run and it's seriously not good for my mental health to keep this up. I'm so lost at what to do. I'm talking to my Uni about it tomorrow but I'm pretty sure they'll just tell me to 'keep my chin up and it'll get better' but I really don't think it will.

What are your experiences with withdrawing/postponing? I'm so lost and scared, I really don't know what to do and am miserable all the time.

Thank you
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ByEeek
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It is hard. But you would be an eejit to quit now. 5 weeks will be over before you know it. Hang in there to the bitter end then enjoy the summer whilst you are considering your options.

Good luck!
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computed
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(Original post by rehgallab)
Hi all,

I'm hoping to find some advice/helpful tips. I have been on my Primary PGCE since September. I initially had quite a bad placement from october until january and so put down my lack of enjoyment to that and decided to see how my next placement went. It was going ok but the extreme work load is getting to me and now (5 weeks before the end) I have just been plummeting grades wise and struggling with the work load. I spend most nights crying and dreading the next day but I'm so close to the end that I feel like it would but stupid to quit. But then I also don't want to teach in the long run and it's seriously not good for my mental health to keep this up. I'm so lost at what to do. I'm talking to my Uni about it tomorrow but I'm pretty sure they'll just tell me to 'keep my chin up and it'll get better' but I really don't think it will.

What are your experiences with withdrawing/postponing? I'm so lost and scared, I really don't know what to do and am miserable all the time.

Thank you
I quit my PGCE back in March due to similar things happening in my second placement. I just couldn't continue it as I was beginning to fail - and I did really well in my first placement.

I actually withdrew, since you need very good reasons to defer the course and I could not be happier.

Furthermore, I really enjoyed teaching in general and I truly believe that if i had the right support, I would have been an excellent teacher. Knowing this, I have reapplied to another university to complete my PGCE again.

If you want to quit, you should as no one should suffer, but take a long hard think about it and visit support at your university to see if they can help you, even if it is 5 weeks left.
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Honeyzest
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Did the OP quit?I’m in that position nowI have a constant feeling of dread and have spent the last 4 weeks crying every time I talk about itI’m a mum of 3 and I don’t know what to do instead. I did my degree 15 years ago and I haven’t had a career so there’s basically nothing out there for me but I can’t stand this
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LemL
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Hey Honeyzest,
I am in a similar position, have also had a 15 year career break raising a family and also being a carer and although l have postgraduate and industry qualifications lack of recent work experience, references has been a barrier to employment.
I had always wanted to do teacher training and did various bouts of work experience in schools in the lead up to applying for the PGCE.
I am in my second placement and honestly the whole experience so far has put me off the entire profession and l have absolutely no desire to continue, yet l do not want to quit as l have put so much in and made so many personal and family sacrifices and feel l have nothing else to fall back on. But l know l never ever want to teach in a school if l manage to get through this hell. I really wish l did this course when l was younger and only had myself to think about.

(Original post by Honeyzest)
Did the OP quit?I’m in that position nowI have a constant feeling of dread and have spent the last 4 weeks crying every time I talk about itI’m a mum of 3 and I don’t know what to do instead. I did my degree 15 years ago and I haven’t had a career so there’s basically nothing out there for me but I can’t stand this
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Honeyzest
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Hi LemL

I’m sorry to hear you are in that situation too

I did actually quit.
I tried a few things to get through it, tried staying one night away from home, got my placement moved to a different year group. But then I was faced with the extra challenge of a very unsupportive teacher who seemed a little out to get me, (she was also awful to the children), I already felt really out of place in that school.
But I didn’t want to make a permanent decision based on a temporary situation so I did struggle on a bit. But when I taught my first whole class lessons in that class and was receiving my feedback from her, I just knew I wasn’t going to go back.
After I quit I felt so flat about it. I always thought I’d end up teaching and now who knows what il be doing 🤷🏻*♀️

But I also felt so relieved.

I’m in touch with my group of trainees and they are being treated so badly and put under so much pressure.
Many teachers seem to think these students need to prove themselves, need to be pushed and pushed. I think they feel it’s an opportunity to prove how difficult their job is and how hard they work, in saying “if you don’t do this now then how can you be a teacher?”
It is all so wrong. They are trainees, they should be supported, taught, encouraged and given the time to develop.
I was so overwhelmed by what I had to achieve by Easter and felt the learning curve was just too steep for me (particularly alongside family), I asked if there was anyway I could defer to get more experience, or spread the PGCE out over a little more time, anything, but there were no options.

My plan was never to get a full time teaching job in September, I was going to take that step by step, supply work, maternity cover roles maybe.
So why did I have to prove that I could work 10 hours a day at school, a further 2-3 hours every evening? Well I couldn’t sustain that even to get through the course.

For you, I think, you’ve made it passed half term, only four weeks until Easter. Hang in there if you can.
And once you qualify, give yourself some time and space away from it all and you might start to think that you could find the right job for you in the right school. I really feel that a school can be right (my first placement) or so wrong (my second placement) and that will make or break you. If I could’ve continued to trainin my first placement then I think I’d still be there, there is no way I would ever have taken a job in my second placement. I think that’s another thing that’s wrong about it all, but c’est la vie 🤷🏻*♀️

Good luck, I hope you make it and I’m sure you will make a great teacher.
(Original post by LemL)
Hey Honeyzest,
I am in a similar position, have also had a 15 year career break raising a family and also being a carer and although l have postgraduate and industry qualifications lack of recent work experience, references has been a barrier to employment.
I had always wanted to do teacher training and did various bouts of work experience in schools in the lead up to applying for the PGCE.
I am in my second placement and honestly the whole experience so far has put me off the entire profession and l have absolutely no desire to continue, yet l do not want to quit as l have put so much in and made so many personal and family sacrifices and feel l have nothing else to fall back on. But l know l never ever want to teach in a school if l manage to get through this hell. I really wish l did this course when l was younger and only had myself to think about.
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optimistic-caz
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Hi!I know this is an old post but I just wanted to say I am in the exact same position as Honeyzest and Lemi!I have 3 kids, an 8 year career break (except for part time online TEFL work) and gave up my whole like to go on this course to teach primary kids.I quit on Monday. I am feeling both relieved and flat. I always wanted to be a teacher but could not sustain being up till 12-1am doing Assignments, paperwork and planning and getting up about 5.30 with my kids to get them ready for school. I also had a mentor who was great to observe but criticised me without constructive feedback on how to improve. I began to feel anxious about going in and really worn out. If anything my teaching was getting worse as all the extra stuff was sucking the life out of me! Feedback from visiting tutor was mostly positive but they wanted warm up activities to inspire the learners. I had tried this before and had to peel the kids off the ceiling. These activities did not work for the class I had. That did not matter a jot though! In the end I felt my family and health was more important than having a teaching career. If there was part time option to study that would have worked better for me as I alway intended to teach part time supply anyway. Just getting through the course seemed impossible! I just wondered if either of you got some work in the end? I’m looking at a job in a children’s library just now. Fingers crossed I get it!
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Honeyzest
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Hi Caz
Sounds like exactly the same way I felt.

I still feel flat about it, feel really sad when I think about how much I liked the “job” part of the training and that I know I was pretty good at it.

I’m sure we’ve both made the right decisions for our families at this time.

I also didn’t plan to go into a full time teaching role straight away. After quitting I spent a few weeks searching for t.a jobs just to keep myself in the classroom. I just kept going round in circles, wanting to work in school but then thinking it’s just not worth me going to work for that pay. I live in a rural area so unless a ta job came up in our village then my kids would have to go to wrap around care for me to be able to get to another school in time (and I didn’t really want to work in our village anyway). And then I also felt that a ta job would still only be a temporary move for me as I’d want to have something to move towards (and I’d want to earn more money). So, I actually trained to be a preschool swimming instructor and work two days a week earning a decent hourly rate, it’s not ideal and I’m not sure how long I can do it for (esp as I have to work a weekend day and my husband will soon be working away again) but it’s a fun job, fairly stress free and it’ll fill the gap while I come up with my next move.

The more I think about it the more I realise that unless there is a total upheaval and new routes in to teaching it’s very unlikely that I will be going back to it. Therefore it’s fairly pointless for me to pursue it and my efforts would be better spent on discovering different options that I’ve never considered before because I just always thought I’d teach. I also think that I also need to not be scared of totally starting again and would consider doing a degree, I’d just need to be certain it’s the right one and confident it would lead me to a job and it’s really difficult to establish all of that.

When you have a lot of dependents You have so many things to consider. I need to know in advance how many hours a week I will need to be somewhere, what days, commute times.

I’m sure you will now find yourself in the same position as me in a “what do I do now?” Googleloop

There seems to be no help or advice out there and when I do come up with something I’d like to find out more about (eg speech and language therapy) its then really difficult to gain some experience to get the ball rolling.

In terms of the PGCE, well done for trying. It’s quite a challenge to even consider and when you have children you have a lot more to consider (I had a three page timetable telling me where each of my children were on each. day and who with) I didn’t want my children to see me quit but actually I think they saw me try really hard to achieve it and they knew it wasn’t an easy decision to make. I also think that it’s not a bad thing to demonstrate to them that it’s ok to say “this is too much for me at this time” and then to move on in a different direction.

I’ve said “I” and “me” a lot there as I don’t know if all of that is the same for you but I suspect over the next six months you will find some of it is.

Maybe we should start a support group for PGCE drop outs 😂

Good luck 😊
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optimistic-caz
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(Original post by Honeyzest)
Hi Caz
Sounds like exactly the same way I felt.

I still feel flat about it, feel really sad when I think about how much I liked the “job” part of the training and that I know I was pretty good at it.

I’m sure we’ve both made the right decisions for our families at this time.

I also didn’t plan to go into a full time teaching role straight away. After quitting I spent a few weeks searching for t.a jobs just to keep myself in the classroom. I just kept going round in circles, wanting to work in school but then thinking it’s just not worth me going to work for that pay. I live in a rural area so unless a ta job came up in our village then my kids would have to go to wrap around care for me to be able to get to another school in time (and I didn’t really want to work in our village anyway). And then I also felt that a ta job would still only be a temporary move for me as I’d want to have something to move towards (and I’d want to earn more money). So, I actually trained to be a preschool swimming instructor and work two days a week earning a decent hourly rate, it’s not ideal and I’m not sure how long I can do it for (esp as I have to work a weekend day and my husband will soon be working away again) but it’s a fun job, fairly stress free and it’ll fill the gap while I come up with my next move.

The more I think about it the more I realise that unless there is a total upheaval and new routes in to teaching it’s very unlikely that I will be going back to it. Therefore it’s fairly pointless for me to pursue it and my efforts would be better spent on discovering different options that I’ve never considered before because I just always thought I’d teach. I also think that I also need to not be scared of totally starting again and would consider doing a degree, I’d just need to be certain it’s the right one and confident it would lead me to a job and it’s really difficult to establish all of that.

When you have a lot of dependents You have so many things to consider. I need to know in advance how many hours a week I will need to be somewhere, what days, commute times.

I’m sure you will now find yourself in the same position as me in a “what do I do now?” Googleloop

There seems to be no help or advice out there and when I do come up with something I’d like to find out more about (eg speech and language therapy) its then really difficult to gain some experience to get the ball rolling.

In terms of the PGCE, well done for trying. It’s quite a challenge to even consider and when you have children you have a lot more to consider (I had a three page timetable telling me where each of my children were on each. day and who with) I didn’t want my children to see me quit but actually I think they saw me try really hard to achieve it and they knew it wasn’t an easy decision to make. I also think that it’s not a bad thing to demonstrate to them that it’s ok to say “this is too much for me at this time” and then to move on in a different direction.

I’ve said “I” and “me” a lot there as I don’t know if all of that is the same for you but I suspect over the next six months you will find some of it is.

Maybe we should start a support group for PGCE drop outs 😂

Good luck 😊
Thanks for your comment Honeyzest! The course coordinator is calling me this afternoon to talk through options. The more I think about it, the more I feel like my mentor was an unsupportive bully! It’s was hard enough work without having to deal with that too.

If I can add time on at the end or repeat the placement, then maybe that’s a better option than throwing the towel in altogether. I’m hoping for some kind of alternative option just now but I will not return to that school!

Best of luck with everything! Thanks again for your reply! I do think a drop out support thread would be a fab idea! X
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Miss Lytham
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Please start a support group I am currently deciding whether to quit or not!!
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Honeyzest
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Please start a support group I am currently deciding whether to quit or not!!
Oh dear
Maybe try to make it to the other side of Christmas, you might just need some breathing space and your next placement may be better
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Muserock
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Oh dear! Honeyzest experience is exactly the same as mine. I had a great first placement in a lovely school but in my second placement, I experienced bullying from the mentor and my health deteriorated. I was able to withdraw from the placement and will be repeating it later this year. Part of me wants to give it another go in another school but part of me is worried that I won't go into a supportive school for my repeat second placement.
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NeroliTenzing
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(Original post by Muserock)
Oh dear! Honeyzest experience is exactly the same as mine. I had a great first placement in a lovely school but in my second placement, I experienced bullying from the mentor and my health deteriorated. I was able to withdraw from the placement and will be repeating it later this year. Part of me wants to give it another go in another school but part of me is worried that I won't go into a supportive school for my repeat second placement.
Hi @Muserock, opposite for me, first placement was a nightmare with a mentor who clearly didn't take a shine to me or want a student in the class. I was WTO at the start of the 2nd half of placement, the last day flat out failed me for everything. All advice was conflicting or non-existent, I had to keep a diary of advice I was being given to see that I wasn't losing the plot, the goal posts were being changed. Realised hearing other people's experiences on the course I drew the short straw for support and expectations. Uni just refused to acknowledge anything I had had to deal with it even though I told them and kept that diary, must all be my fault.
I had a few days in the next placement and it seemed a completely different atmosphere, the teacher said my example lessons were great. My self esteem is so low I wonder if she's been told to say that at first :confused:
Now with covid people will pass if they complete online courses this term (except me as I need to redo placement anyway), so I've suspended until September. I'll try to build up my knowledge as I at least want to be able to put it on my CV, but dear God, what is wrong with the workload and school culture. It's all vile. Such a shame because the children can just be amazing to be around.
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MooieBergen
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I came across this thread as I also quit the PGCE (Secondary English) a few years ago after just 3 months.

My placement school had a good reputation - for students. But the teachers in my department had zero interest in supporting me, helping me or even talking to me. The department had their own staff room where I tried to mix with them but it was a toxic environment where they avoided eye contact with me, instead they said horrible things about the students and the parents to each other. My mentor also avoided me. I know teachers are busy, but if they don't have capacity for a trainee then they should never accept one (note: schools get paid extra for taking on trainees). During lesson feedback my mentor never gave me constructive criticism; just pure criticism. On one occasion, I asked her for some advice and she said 'I have to go to a meeting' and just walked off. It was a horrible experience and I'd never felt so unhappy.

I spoke to other PGCE students at the school and they weren't having these issues in their respective departments so perhaps I was unlucky. Regardless, I wanted out of the school and teaching altogether. I wasn't interested in deferring so I quit.

Teaching is insanely high pressure. Unfortunately I'm not surprised by any of the stories on this thread which is very sad. Teachers may well be stressed and unhappy, but there is no need for trainees to be treated like this. On the other hand, I know several teachers (who don't work at my former placement school) who are lovely and very supportive but they are few and far between. In hindsight, I think SCITT and School Direct are much better options for trainees as you have a say in which schools you train at, rather than letting the university randomly decide. I also think there needs to be better support for those who drop out of the PGCE.

But if you are doing the PGCE and you hate it, you can quit. There's no shame in trying it and discovering that you don't like it. Quitting the PGCE was the best decision I ever made.
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Muserock
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(Original post by MooieBergen)
I came across this thread as I also quit the PGCE (Secondary English) a few years ago after just 3 months.

My placement school had a good reputation - for students. But the teachers in my department had zero interest in supporting me, helping me or even talking to me. The department had their own staff room where I tried to mix with them but it was a toxic environment where they avoided eye contact with me, instead they said horrible things about the students and the parents to each other. My mentor also avoided me. I know teachers are busy, but if they don't have capacity for a trainee then they should never accept one (note: schools get paid extra for taking on trainees). During lesson feedback my mentor never gave me constructive criticism; just pure criticism. On one occasion, I asked her for some advice and she said 'I have to go to a meeting' and just walked off. It was a horrible experience and I'd never felt so unhappy.

I spoke to other PGCE students at the school and they weren't having these issues in their respective departments so perhaps I was unlucky. Regardless, I wanted out of the school and teaching altogether. I wasn't interested in deferring so I quit.

Teaching is insanely high pressure. Unfortunately I'm not surprised by any of the stories on this thread which is very sad. Teachers may well be stressed and unhappy, but there is no need for trainees to be treated like this. On the other hand, I know several teachers (who don't work at my former placement school) who are lovely and very supportive but they are few and far between. In hindsight, I think SCITT and School Direct are much better options for trainees as you have a say in which schools you train at, rather than letting the university randomly decide. I also think there needs to be better support for those who drop out of the PGCE.

But if you are doing the PGCE and you hate it, you can quit. There's no shame in trying it and discovering that you don't like it. Quitting the PGCE was the best decision I ever made.
Many thanks for sharing your experience. Can I ask what you did after quitting?
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MooieBergen
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Many thanks for sharing your experience. Can I ask what you did after quitting?
After quitting I took a part-time job in a pub and gained work experience alongside it to figure out what I really wanted to do. I did work experience at a law firm which I loved, and it turned into a full-time paralegal position
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Muserock
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After quitting I took a part-time job in a pub and gained work experience alongside it to figure out what I really wanted to do. I did work experience at a law firm which I loved, and it turned into a full-time paralegal position
That's fantastic! I'm so pleased that you found something that you love.
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optimistic-caz
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(Original post by MooieBergen)
I came across this thread as I also quit the PGCE (Secondary English) a few years ago after just 3 months.

My placement school had a good reputation - for students. But the teachers in my department had zero interest in supporting me, helping me or even talking to me. The department had their own staff room where I tried to mix with them but it was a toxic environment where they avoided eye contact with me, instead they said horrible things about the students and the parents to each other. My mentor also avoided me. I know teachers are busy, but if they don't have capacity for a trainee then they should never accept one (note: schools get paid extra for taking on trainees). During lesson feedback my mentor never gave me constructive criticism; just pure criticism. On one occasion, I asked her for some advice and she said 'I have to go to a meeting' and just walked off. It was a horrible experience and I'd never felt so unhappy.

I spoke to other PGCE students at the school and they weren't having these issues in their respective departments so perhaps I was unlucky. Regardless, I wanted out of the school and teaching altogether. I wasn't interested in deferring so I quit.

Teaching is insanely high pressure. Unfortunately I'm not surprised by any of the stories on this thread which is very sad. Teachers may well be stressed and unhappy, but there is no need for trainees to be treated like this. On the other hand, I know several teachers (who don't work at my former placement school) who are lovely and very supportive but they are few and far between. In hindsight, I think SCITT and School Direct are much better options for trainees as you have a say in which schools you train at, rather than letting the university randomly decide. I also think there needs to be better support for those who drop out of the PGCE.

But if you are doing the PGCE and you hate it, you can quit. There's no shame in trying it and discovering that you don't like it. Quitting the PGCE was the best decision I ever made.
Thanks for your reply. I am currently muddling through the end of the coursework and doing a 5 week retrieval placement whenever schools go back. I had a much better 2nd placement so I am glad I didn’t drop out! After my retrieval I am going on the flexi/supply route till I decide what else to do! I am thinking education officer might be more my thing so I will apply when something comes up.
I am glad I stuck with it despite adversities! I think it’s a good qualification to have for other things than teaching.
It is such a shame that so many trainees go through horrific placements though! Hopefully something can be done that supports students better when placements is bad.
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MooieBergen
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(Original post by optimistic-caz)
Thanks for your reply. I am currently muddling through the end of the coursework and doing a 5 week retrieval placement whenever schools go back. I had a much better 2nd placement so I am glad I didn’t drop out! After my retrieval I am going on the flexi/supply route till I decide what else to do! I am thinking education officer might be more my thing so I will apply when something comes up.
I am glad I stuck with it despite adversities! I think it’s a good qualification to have for other things than teaching.
It is such a shame that so many trainees go through horrific placements though! Hopefully something can be done that supports students better when placements is bad.
I'm glad to hear that your second placement went well. If you love the teaching aspect of the job, then persevering is the right thing to do. The teaching profession should be ashamed at the volume of PGCE students who have bad placements with unsupportive mentors, but many teachers seem to think 'that's just the way it is'. It shouldn't be!

If PGCE providers and schools offered good support for the PGCE students from the beginning of the course it would be a far more positive, and therefore valuable experience for everyone involved.

Best of luck with your career
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NeroliTenzing
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(Original post by MooieBergen)
I came across this thread as I also quit the PGCE (Secondary English) a few years ago after just 3 months.

My placement school had a good reputation - for students. But the teachers in my department had zero interest in supporting me, helping me or even talking to me. The department had their own staff room where I tried to mix with them but it was a toxic environment where they avoided eye contact with me, instead they said horrible things about the students and the parents to each other. My mentor also avoided me. I know teachers are busy, but if they don't have capacity for a trainee then they should never accept one (note: schools get paid extra for taking on trainees). During lesson feedback my mentor never gave me constructive criticism; just pure criticism. On one occasion, I asked her for some advice and she said 'I have to go to a meeting' and just walked off. It was a horrible experience and I'd never felt so unhappy.

I spoke to other PGCE students at the school and they weren't having these issues in their respective departments so perhaps I was unlucky. Regardless, I wanted out of the school and teaching altogether. I wasn't interested in deferring so I quit.

Teaching is insanely high pressure. Unfortunately I'm not surprised by any of the stories on this thread which is very sad. Teachers may well be stressed and unhappy, but there is no need for trainees to be treated like this. On the other hand, I know several teachers (who don't work at my former placement school) who are lovely and very supportive but they are few and far between. In hindsight, I think SCITT and School Direct are much better options for trainees as you have a say in which schools you train at, rather than letting the university randomly decide. I also think there needs to be better support for those who drop out of the PGCE.

But if you are doing the PGCE and you hate it, you can quit. There's no shame in trying it and discovering that you don't like it. Quitting the PGCE was the best decision I ever made.
I'm happy/ sad to know other people have had the same thing, just to show it can be the placement and not me being useless. I was watching something on TV the other day, and someone looked kind of like my mentor and I started getting teary, I feel scarred. What have you ended up doing instead, if you don't mind me asking? I'm taking the summer to see what my other options can be, but might put up with the last placement just to have the qualification (if I don't fail).
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