PGCE Mathematics? Watch

FOODFORTHOUGHT96
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Hi all!

I hope I've attracted some PGCE students and qualified teachers.

I've been contemplating whether to apply for PGCE this year but I feel apprehensive towards the whole course due to numerous reasons. The main reason why I've been shying away from applying is - I'm not sure whether I'm cut out to be a teacher. To be completely honest, I'd describe myself as someone that's quite laid back and doesn't enjoy being in huge pressure. However, I think I'd rise to the occasion and do the job! I'd say I'm very empathetic. I come from an area where education is easily dismissed and kids idolise the wrong people. I have many friends that had huge potential and wasted it. On the other hand, I was amongst many that struggled in school - in fact, I'm still convinced that I'm dyslexic. During my time in University, I completed a teaching module which gave me an insight into a life as a teacher. I quickly learned that I enjoyed helping students as a TA.

I was planning to complete the PGCE course this semester but decided not to go ahead with it. I literally dropped out before I even started! I've done the professional skills test and I was actually given an offer last year. But something in me stopped me from going ahead with it all.

I'm currently working full-time. My job is extremely boring and I don't see myself pursuing a career in this field. That's why I've been contemplating teaching even more! Alongside, I hope teaching can take me abroad one day lol.

I'd love people to share their story and give me some advice. Alongside, answer the following questions:

Is the PGCE year as difficult and daunting as people make it out to be?

As daft as this may sound, Will I have a social life?

Does it get easier and will I get more time to myself after the PGCE and NQT year?

Btw, I'm a Maths graduate; if anyone was wondering.
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airfixfighter
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Hello!

Firstly, I wouldn't worried about being "laid back". There's a laid back teacher in my current placement who expects high standards from all his pupils and is amazing with behaviour management. I don't think this means you'll struggle.

There is a lot of pressure, that's true. It always feels like there's something to do, but I have a perfectly great social life. I'm good with time management and knowing when enough is enough. I don't do work at home, even if that means staying at school, and since I started in September, I've done weekend working about 4 times? Others will have vastly different experiences of this, but I'm seeing my friends every week, spending weekends out and about or seeing my parents - I'm really enjoying it. People manage to do this course with kids, so it's not all life consuming.

If you're not sure, if you're in England, have you looked at the School Experience Programme? I know you mentioned you did a TA placement, but we're you fully aware of what the classroom teachers were doing? Might be worth just doing a couple of days to double check it's what you expect. If you're in Wales (like me!), I emailed every secondary school in Cardiff and EVENTUALLY got one to let me come in for a few days πŸ˜‚

Don't worry about missing deadlines for application - Maths is a shortage subject and you can pretty much guarantee theryll be spaces up til August. It's better you spend time being totally sure than rush in with an application.

I'm doing Physics (similar to Maths? Ish?) So feel free to ask me any questions if you have any more.
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FOODFORTHOUGHT96
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(Original post by airfixfighter)
Hello!

Firstly, I wouldn't worried about being "laid back". There's a laid back teacher in my current placement who expects high standards from all his pupils and is amazing with behaviour management. I don't think this means you'll struggle.

There is a lot of pressure, that's true. It always feels like there's something to do, but I have a perfectly great social life. I'm good with time management and knowing when enough is enough. I don't do work at home, even if that means staying at school, and since I started in September, I've done weekend working about 4 times? Others will have vastly different experiences of this, but I'm seeing my friends every week, spending weekends out and about or seeing my parents - I'm really enjoying it. People manage to do this course with kids, so it's not all life consuming.

If you're not sure, if you're in England, have you looked at the School Experience Programme? I know you mentioned you did a TA placement, but we're you fully aware of what the classroom teachers were doing? Might be worth just doing a couple of days to double check it's what you expect. If you're in Wales (like me!), I emailed every secondary school in Cardiff and EVENTUALLY got one to let me come in for a few days πŸ˜‚

Don't worry about missing deadlines for application - Maths is a shortage subject and you can pretty much guarantee theryll be spaces up til August. It's better you spend time being totally sure than rush in with an application.

I'm doing Physics (similar to Maths? Ish?) So feel free to ask me any questions if you have any more.
Hey!

Thank you for your response! I've had some exposure in the classroom- in fact, I've taught one or two lessons. During my second year in University, I went back to my Secondary School and worked with few students in groups, one to one and in the classroom. However, as an ex-student, I was already familiar with the school and the teachers. In my opinion, they were going easy on me. Majority of the time I was just helping out here and there. There wasn't much of an expectation - in fact, it was great fun just conversing with teachers. I am based in England! Due to the nature of my current job - I work full-time. Therefore, gaining more exposure in teaching would be really difficult. I work in Finance and as you can probably tell I'm so bored that I have time to create and respond to a post/thread.


I do have some more questions that I'd like to ask you!

I noticed you responded 2 hours ago; Do you work long hours? if so, roughly how many hours do you spend in school? When do you get in and when do you leave?

Is it difficult to tame a healthy classroom environment? ( I don't see myself telling off a badly behaved student lol)

I'd describe myself as someone that's quite shy. I don't like to be the centre of attention - but I don't think I'd be a nervous-wreck. Before you started the course, were you fairly confident?
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airfixfighter
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(Original post by FOODFORTHOUGHT96)
Hey!

Thank you for your response! I've had some exposure in the classroom- in fact, I've taught one or two lessons. During my second year in University, I went back to my Secondary School and worked with few students in groups, one to one and in the classroom. However, as an ex-student, I was already familiar with the school and the teachers. In my opinion, they were going easy on me. Majority of the time I was just helping out here and there. There wasn't much of an expectation - in fact, it was great fun just conversing with teachers. I am based in England! Due to the nature of my current job - I work full-time. Therefore, gaining more exposure in teaching would be really difficult. I work in Finance and as you can probably tell I'm so bored that I have time to create and respond to a post/thread.


I do have some more questions that I'd like to ask you!

I noticed you responded 2 hours ago; Do you work long hours? if so, roughly how many hours do you spend in school? When do you get in and when do you leave?

Is it difficult to tame a healthy classroom environment? ( I don't see myself telling off a badly behaved student lol)

I'd describe myself as someone that's quite shy. I don't like to be the centre of attention - but I don't think I'd be a nervous-wreck. Before you started the course, were you fairly confident?
Hey! So I'm currently at university and back in school next week. At school, I tend to be in from 8am until 5ish? My busiest day I teach 4 out of 5 lessons and my least I teach 2. And I usually take my lunch break chatting with the other science teachers but am working the rest of the time.

I'm in quite a nice school and don't find it hard to keep the classroom behaving. Usually a couple of warnings and I usually end up doing a dentention of some kind every other day or so? I don't shout at all - I'm not a shouty person!! I think I try to be quite calm and fair but still practicing

Im a reasonably shy person. I don't like approaching new people and I can get a bit anxious, but I've really enjoyed it. If your practice you mentioned was fine, you'll probably be okay. Being in front of teenagers is so much easier than being in front of adults
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FOODFORTHOUGHT96
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(Original post by airfixfighter)
Hey! So I'm currently at university and back in school next week. At school, I tend to be in from 8am until 5ish? My busiest day I teach 4 out of 5 lessons and my least I teach 2. And I usually take my lunch break chatting with the other science teachers but am working the rest of the time.

I'm in quite a nice school and don't find it hard to keep the classroom behaving. Usually a couple of warnings and I usually end up doing a dentention of some kind every other day or so? I don't shout at all - I'm not a shouty person!! I think I try to be quite calm and fair but still practicing

I'm a reasonably shy person. I don't like approaching new people and I can get a bit anxious, but I've really enjoyed it. If your practice you mentioned was fine, you'll probably be okay. Being in front of teenagers is so much easier than being in front of adults
Whoa! Your experience, unlike many others, has been fairly pleasant! All the forums I've read consisted of complaints and complaints. On one posts, someone was complaining about the long hours - apparently, they were doing 60 hours a week or even more. They'd say they had no social life and some had complained about their mental health.*scary*

However, your experience is really refreshing and it has calmed my nerves slightly. I've read planning is the most difficult part of the whole course - some have said they'd plan for several hours for an hours lesson. In some extreme cases, I read for every 1-hour lesson it required 4 hours of planning, is there any truth behind this?

Once you leave the school do you take work back home to complete? Also, as you teach a fairly objective subject - does it make it easier for you to mark homework/coursework/ classwork.

Finally, is there someone breathing behind your neck each lesson that you teach? I personally would feel extremely nervous if someone was watching me 24/7 whenever I teach a lesson.
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airfixfighter
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(Original post by FOODFORTHOUGHT96)
Whoa! Your experience, unlike many others, has been fairly pleasant! All the forums I've read consisted of complaints and complaints. On one posts, someone was complaining about the long hours - apparently, they were doing 60 hours a week or even more. They'd say they had no social life and some had complained about their mental health.*scary*

However, your experience is really refreshing and it has calmed my nerves slightly. I've read planning is the most difficult part of the whole course - some have said they'd plan for several hours for an hours lesson. In some extreme cases, I read for every 1-hour lesson it required 4 hours of planning, is there any truth behind this?

Once you leave the school do you take work back home to complete? Also, as you teach a fairly objective subject - does it make it easier for you to mark homework/coursework/ classwork.

Finally, is there someone breathing behind your neck each lesson that you teach? I personally would feel extremely nervous if someone was watching me 24/7 whenever I teach a lesson.

There's definitely people on the course that are working 60 hours a week! Although, most people I'm friends with seem to be coping well. I think the problem is that most people write about when they're having a bad time rather than a good time. I might spend an hour and a half planning an hour lesson? But I luck out in that I don't need to make worksheets - at the school I'm based, all the pupils have to complete the same booklets so whilst I've made my own additional things for some lessons, I don't have to create general work (if that makes sense). Some lessons have taken me much longer because it's not content I'm comfortable with - so, for example, GCSE electricity modules I haven't done since I was at school (I did a theoretical physics degree) so I find it quite challenging to think about what activities they can do in the lesson. They can sometimes take 2-3 hours. I probably do about 40-45 hours a week at the moment between lessons, observations, planning and marking? So typical full time job.

Marking is fine for Physics. I don't have massive amounts of it, but it's very right or wrong unless it's levelled practical work. I only have to mark homework and levelled practical work - pupils mark their book work themselves in class and I have to review to make sure they've made corrections etc, but not fully mark. I don't take any pupil work home with me - I'm very paranoid I'll lose it - so that all stays in school. As I said before, I sometimes do some planning stuff in the evenings but I try my best not to take any work home. I don't want to make a habit of it, especially when next year I'll be teaching twice the amount of lessons! If I'm already doing 60 hours a week with 11 lessons, how can I do 22 lessons! The levelled work is the worst - that takes about 4 hours for a whole class but I think that's due to my inexperience and it being more subjective. It's also not all the time.

Every class I teach, the usual class teacher is in there. I think they have to be. In my case, I go over what we're doing and they have an observation booklet where they make informal observations about me and my teaching. The teachers in my department are great and really nice and we discuss what I think went well/badly and they're very constructive with feedback. I usually forget they're in there at this point. Obviously, when I've had formal observations, I've found those nerve wracking, especially when they don't go to plan! I'm generally left to my own devices when planning and the usual teacher checks the day before what we're doing. I think if I wasn't doing well, they'd be more hanging over me? Again, I know this isn't the same as others experiences, but this is mine. I have a mentor that's mentored a few PGCE students before and I think that helps. Some others on the course have new mentors and I think they've been a bit more overbearing.
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FOODFORTHOUGHT96
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There's definitely people on the course that are working 60 hours a week! Although, most people I'm friends with seem to be coping well. I think the problem is that most people write about when they're having a bad time rather than a good time. I might spend an hour and a half planning an hour lesson? But I luck out in that I don't need to make worksheets - at the school I'm based, all the pupils have to complete the same booklets so whilst I've made my own additional things for some lessons, I don't have to create general work (if that makes sense). Some lessons have taken me much longer because it's not content I'm comfortable with - so, for example, GCSE electricity modules I haven't done since I was at school (I did a theoretical physics degree) so I find it quite challenging to think about what activities they can do in the lesson. They can sometimes take 2-3 hours. I probably do about 40-45 hours a week at the moment between lessons, observations, planning and marking? So typical full time job.

Marking is fine for Physics. I don't have massive amounts of it, but it's very right or wrong unless it's levelled practical work. I only have to mark homework and levelled practical work - pupils mark their book work themselves in class and I have to review to make sure they've made corrections etc, but not fully mark. I don't take any pupil work home with me - I'm very paranoid I'll lose it - so that all stays in school. As I said before, I sometimes do some planning stuff in the evenings but I try my best not to take any work home. I don't want to make a habit of it, especially when next year I'll be teaching twice the amount of lessons! If I'm already doing 60 hours a week with 11 lessons, how can I do 22 lessons! The levelled work is the worst - that takes about 4 hours for a whole class but I think that's due to my inexperience and it being more subjective. It's also not all the time.

Every class I teach, the usual class teacher is in there. I think they have to be. In my case, I go over what we're doing and they have an observation booklet where they make informal observations about me and my teaching. The teachers in my department are great and really nice and we discuss what I think went well/badly and they're very constructive with feedback. I usually forget they're in there at this point. Obviously, when I've had formal observations, I've found those nerve wracking, especially when they don't go to plan! I'm generally left to my own devices when planning and the usual teacher checks the day before what we're doing. I think if I wasn't doing well, they'd be more hanging over me? Again, I know this isn't the same as others experiences, but this is mine. I have a mentor that's mentored a few PGCE students before and I think that helps. Some others on the course have new mentors and I think they've been a bit more overbearing.
I think you've gave me the confidence to apply for PGCE this year! I still have over half-a-year to decide whether to pursue my journey on becoming a Maths teacher (Never in a million years, would I have thought I'd say that lol).

Since you've kindly shared your experience, I hope to keep you updated on my application process and I'm sure in the next couple of months you would have finished the PGCE course.

I'd love to know more about your last few months completing the course and to hear great news about how you've landed a teaching job!

Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. Its been very helpful and refreshing. I wish you the very best!
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FOODFORTHOUGHT96
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(Original post by airfixfighter)
There's definitely people on the course that are working 60 hours a week! Although, most people I'm friends with seem to be coping well. I think the problem is that most people write about when they're having a bad time rather than a good time. I might spend an hour and a half planning an hour lesson? But I luck out in that I don't need to make worksheets - at the school I'm based, all the pupils have to complete the same booklets so whilst I've made my own additional things for some lessons, I don't have to create general work (if that makes sense). Some lessons have taken me much longer because it's not content I'm comfortable with - so, for example, GCSE electricity modules I haven't done since I was at school (I did a theoretical physics degree) so I find it quite challenging to think about what activities they can do in the lesson. They can sometimes take 2-3 hours. I probably do about 40-45 hours a week at the moment between lessons, observations, planning and marking? So typical full time job.

Marking is fine for Physics. I don't have massive amounts of it, but it's very right or wrong unless it's levelled practical work. I only have to mark homework and levelled practical work - pupils mark their book work themselves in class and I have to review to make sure they've made corrections etc, but not fully mark. I don't take any pupil work home with me - I'm very paranoid I'll lose it - so that all stays in school. As I said before, I sometimes do some planning stuff in the evenings but I try my best not to take any work home. I don't want to make a habit of it, especially when next year I'll be teaching twice the amount of lessons! If I'm already doing 60 hours a week with 11 lessons, how can I do 22 lessons! The levelled work is the worst - that takes about 4 hours for a whole class but I think that's due to my inexperience and it being more subjective. It's also not all the time.

Every class I teach, the usual class teacher is in there. I think they have to be. In my case, I go over what we're doing and they have an observation booklet where they make informal observations about me and my teaching. The teachers in my department are great and really nice and we discuss what I think went well/badly and they're very constructive with feedback. I usually forget they're in there at this point. Obviously, when I've had formal observations, I've found those nerve wracking, especially when they don't go to plan! I'm generally left to my own devices when planning and the usual teacher checks the day before what we're doing. I think if I wasn't doing well, they'd be more hanging over me? Again, I know this isn't the same as others experiences, but this is mine. I have a mentor that's mentored a few PGCE students before and I think that helps. Some others on the course have new mentors and I think they've been a bit more overbearing.

Last question: Was teaching your number one career choice? if not, what made you decide to get in to teaching ( other than the bursary lol) ?
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airfixfighter
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(Original post by FOODFORTHOUGHT96)
Last question: Was teaching your number one career choice? if not, what made you decide to get in to teaching ( other than the bursary lol) ?
Nope. I used to be a software engineer. I decided to change because I hated it. I sat down and made a list of things I enjoyed and came up with teaching.

I liked training in my last job, I missed physics and I really enjoyed working with girls at a Guides group! The bursary didn't swing it at all - I'd have changed without it! Then I got a couple of days experience and really enjoyed it. 😊
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ByEeek
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I'm RQT now, the year after NQT. Traing year for me was very hard, stressful and emotional but I am a career changer and ended dealing with a load of mental [email protected] from my school past triggered by being in a school environment.

If you don't have kids, ITT shpuld be a doddle as you can stay at school until your work is done.

NQT year is harder than ITT as you are responsible for more classes and their marking and data and general admin.

However, after a bump at the start of this year, things are starting to calm down. I finally feel like I know what I am doing and behavioir isdues are starting to simmer down in my classes.

Teaching is never dull but it is hard emotionally and physically. It will put you out of your comfort zone and frankly, there isn't time to be chilled and relaxed.

I don't regret my decision to come into teaching.
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FOODFORTHOUGHT96
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I'm RQT now, the year after NQT. Traing year for me was very hard, stressful and emotional but I am a career changer and ended dealing with a load of mental [email protected] from my school past triggered by being in a school environment.

If you don't have kids, ITT shpuld be a doddle as you can stay at school until your work is done.

NQT year is harder than ITT as you are responsible for more classes and their marking and data and general admin.

However, after a bump at the start of this year, things are starting to calm down. I finally feel like I know what I am doing and behavioir isdues are starting to simmer down in my classes.

Teaching is never dull but it is hard emotionally and physically. It will put you out of your comfort zone and frankly, there isn't time to be chilled and relaxed.

I don't regret my decision to come into teaching.
What do you teach? if you don't mind me asking.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by FOODFORTHOUGHT96)
What do you teach? if you don't mind me asking.
Computing
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FOODFORTHOUGHT96
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Computing
Hi,

How does your usual day look like now - considering that you've completed your ITT and NQT year? Do you teach the whole day sometimes or do you have days were you're more-or-less free to take a breather and prepare for lessons/mark work/etc?

I don't have children so my commitment will be solely on developing a career. However, I don't like the idea of being drowned with work and working endlessly throughout the week. I probably manage with the workload for a year but years is a stretch! I enjoy the thought of helping children that want my help. I enjoy being a role model and I see myself working at a challenging school ( maybe that thought process might change). Like yourself, I don't like managing kids with behavioural issues and don't see myself taking measures to tame classroom behaviour.

How was your PGCE year? What made you get in to teaching ( did you work anywhere else)? Do you work in London - if so what are the challenges working in a London school?

You say you dont regret your decison despite being mentally drained....what made your teaching experience worth while?
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ByEeek
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(Original post by FOODFORTHOUGHT96)
Hi,

How does your usual day look like now - considering that you've completed your ITT and NQT year? Do you teach the whole day sometimes or do you have days were you're more-or-less free to take a breather and prepare for lessons/mark work/etc?
Ha! Chance would be a fine thing. The standard teaching week is 22 hours. Our school is a bit better. I get two personal planning hours a week and one additional hour as a free. I also have a meeting with a colleague about a class we share but that is usually pretty short. In terms of my timetable, I teach three hours on a Monday then am solid until after break on Friday. It is hard work! We have one hour of meetings every week and then once a term have twilights until 6pm instead of our training days. I would rather do training days. We also have parents evenings and the odd meeting / session that is run after school.
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Ha! Chance would be a fine thing. The standard teaching week is 22 hours. Our school is a bit better. I get two personal planning hours a week and one additional hour as a free. I also have a meeting with a colleague about a class we share but that is usually pretty short. In terms of my timetable, I teach three hours on a Monday then am solid until after break on Friday. It is hard work! We have one hour of meetings every week and then once a term have twilights until 6pm instead of our training days. I would rather do training days. We also have parents evenings and the odd meeting / session that is run after school.
22 hours a week doesn't sound like much! But I'm sure theres more that I'm not understanding yet!

so, when do you get in to work and when do you leave? As you've now finished your NQT year do you have to take work home and spend weekends to complete outstanding tasks? Or can you squeeze in everything in your free periods?

How do you deal with behaviour?

Do you work in London ( because I'm based in London)?
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(Original post by FOODFORTHOUGHT96)
22 hours a week doesn't sound like much! But I'm sure theres more that I'm not understanding yet!

so, when do you get in to work and when do you leave? As you've now finished your NQT year do you have to take work home and spend weekends to complete outstanding tasks? Or can you squeeze in everything in your free periods?

How do you deal with behaviour?

Do you work in London ( because I'm based in London)?
22 hours is plenty. If it takes 20 minutes to plan a lesson, you do the maths. And then of course, you will have between 6 and 17 different classes. If it takes one hour to mark a set, you do the maths. Thankfully I only have to mark once a term 15 classes worth, but that is still half a man week of work on top of your 22 hours. And teaching 5 hours in a row is knackering + you have about 2 minutes between classes to set up and switch your brain to the next lesson. Then on top of all your planning, teaching and marking you have extra stuff like clubs and societies, form time, data which in our school is done once each half term for each and every student (I teach 500 kids). Then there is all the bitty things like logging behaviour, arranging meetings with parents, lunch and break time duties and so on and so on. All achievable, but let's just say I woke at 5am this morning and lay awake until my alarm went off at 6.20am thinking about what I needed to do today. I have done all of the above just today and I haven't finished yet. About to pick up the kids, feed them, put them to bed, then I will start again. I have two classes to mark and a lesson to plan for tomorrow.

Tomorrow I have two free periods. In that time, I plan to plan for the whole of next week.
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22 hours is plenty. If it takes 20 minutes to plan a lesson, you do the maths. And then of course, you will have between 6 and 17 different classes. If it takes one hour to mark a set, you do the maths. Thankfully I only have to mark once a term 15 classes worth, but that is still half a man week of work on top of your 22 hours. And teaching 5 hours in a row is knackering + you have about 2 minutes between classes to set up and switch your brain to the next lesson. Then on top of all your planning, teaching and marking you have extra stuff like clubs and societies, form time, data which in our school is done once each half term for each and every student (I teach 500 kids). Then there is all the bitty things like logging behaviour, arranging meetings with parents, lunch and break time duties and so on and so on. All achievable, but let's just say I woke at 5am this morning and lay awake until my alarm went off at 6.20am thinking about what I needed to do today. I have done all of the above just today and I haven't finished yet. About to pick up the kids, feed them, put them to bed, then I will start again. I have two classes to mark and a lesson to plan for tomorrow.

Tomorrow I have two free periods. In that time, I plan to plan for the whole of next week.
Sounds really tough! Especially knowing you have kids that you have to look after. 5am!!! thats crazy I don't know how your able to physically get up. I go to work quite late with no concern in my mind. I stroll in around 9.30 and get up around 7.30, sometimes late as 8am. But I guess that routine will change if I decide to do PGCE this year.

When do you get in for work and when do you leave? Also, how difficult is it maintaing a healthy social life? Do you get to spend quality time with your kids?
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(Original post by FOODFORTHOUGHT96)
Sounds really tough! Especially knowing you have kids that you have to look after. 5am!!! thats crazy I don't know how your able to physically get up. I go to work quite late with no concern in my mind. I stroll in around 9.30 and get up around 7.30, sometimes late as 8am. But I guess that routine will change if I decide to do PGCE this year.

When do you get in for work and when do you leave? Also, how difficult is it maintaing a healthy social life? Do you get to spend quality time with your kids?
I don't have it tough. I think some schools are worse. Yes, your PGCE year is going to shake you up. There is no room to sit back and relax although I have a free last think on Friday and I will admit to having 15 minutes of chill time today! On the one hand, it is hard but on the other I feel very alive that what I am doing is making me disciplined when I have spend a previous career dossing about doing not very much. I am working on my social life but am not quite in the place I want to be. There is pressure from the profession to go over and above but I am trying to less in order to get my work / life balance in place.

Good luck with your PGCE. Enjoy your much reduced timetable whilst you have it but be fully prepared for your NQT year to be even harder. RQT is much easier.
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