DPOJ
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Hi guys,

So I started my PGCE course the beginning of September. We had two weeks at Uni for lectures and seminars which was fine, I actually enjoyed those two weeks.

After the two weeks we started our first placement and, wow, what a ride it has been.

At first I was enjoying it, I found that I'm good at teaching lessons and the feedback has been mostly positive. However, as time is going on I'm noticing a massive decline in my mental health. The very thought of school now fills me with dread.

First of all, I was not prepared for the workload. Sure, I knew there would be marking and lesson planning involved, but my uni has extra work (that none of the other PGCE students from other uni's have to do) and they have organised our weeks in school so that we literally have no time to actually do our lesson plans etc.

My mentor is not the friendliest person. In fact she talks to us as if we are complete morons. From day one it's like she thinks we are mind readers. There has been no consideration whatsoever that we are completely new to any of this so don't know how everything works. I don't feel like I can go to her at all with any questions. She is not available to contact for help over the half term (even though she's given me lesson plans to do for the first week back which I need help with).

After school, I'm working till I literally go to bed. I feel like I never get a chance to just relax. I've already had one breakdown, I've made excuses to not go in...I've even left early when I'm not supposed to. I just am not happy one bit.

The pupils, minus one very lovely year 7 class, have little to no respect for their teachers and I find myself questioning why on earth I'm putting myself through this for kids who don't care about your wellbeing and who don't give the slightest bit of care to their own learning.

Sure, the holidays are considered a bonus by many....but they aren't a bonus when you have loads of work to do during it because you had absolutely no time to do the work during term time.

I have a very short temper and I can honestly feel myself slowly building up so much anger and frustration that I'm going to lose it and just walk out.

I was going to give myself till Christmas, but honestly questioning if I'll make it that far. I've contacted my tutor to meet up and talk to her about my issues before I make any decision.

I knew what I was getting into (sort of) and I thought I'd be able to handle it. I love my subject and I enjoy teaching it when the kids actually do as they're told.....but so far the experience has left me just wishing I hadn't even applied.

I've been told my numerous teachers at the school how awful teaching really is now. My friend who has been teaching for years (and loved it) has now given in his resignation and is leaving the profession altogether because of how awful and toxic it has become. My mentor in the first week told me how teaching has one of the highest suicide rates, my friends mentor tells her how she is so stressed she self harms.....nobody on my course seems at all happy and I know some who also are thinking of dropping out.

The only question is that if I drop out, what will I do? I can't think of any other career that I'd like to pursue or how to get into it. I scroll through tons of grad jobs that seem boring and miserable.

I graduated in 2018 and I feel like despite all my years in education and work (I took a few years out working before contemplating going back to uni to do my undergrad) that it's all been for nothing. Where are all the decent jobs? I honestly feel ridiculously low and like my life isn't going anywhere....which is the only thing keeping me on this god awful PGCE. To top it all off I keep hearing that the NQT years are just as bad if not worse and I don't know if I can carry on with this level of stress.

I'm actually quite a resilient person usually, but this course has really made me into a wreck.

Any advice is appreciated.
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SocialAnne
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you sound extremely unhappy.....maybe discuss your fears with college tutor and outline how unhappy and dissatisfied you are. its a huge decision and id ate you to regret it. i taught for 5 years myself and hates every minute, zero job satisfaction & for me the holid
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SocialAnne
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holidays were not enough to justify that level of job dissatisfaction
i really hope you make the right decision for you.
best of luck.x
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chloalexandria
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what uni do you go to that’s creating so much extra stress for you?
It sounds though that you’re very unhappy in the situation and it’s really not worth ruining your mental health over. I’d say talk to your mentor or your head of course or careers advisor at your uni just to get advice and see what your options are. I hope everything works out x
Last edited by chloalexandria; 2 weeks ago
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ByEeek
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Look at the bigger picture. You only have another 2 months to Christmas then you switch to a different placement no?

I am now in my third year of teaching since going through the same hell you are going through. I now don't work in the evenings at all. Behaviour in my class is good because I know what I am doing and it is half term and I am chilling big time.

The alternative is you end up behind a desk 9-5 clock watching. Been there done that. It sucks! And you only get 20-25 days holiday for that hellish lifestyle.

Stick with it, if only to prove to yourself that you have the resillience to get through extremely tough situations in life. It does get easier.

Good luck!
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DPOJ
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(Original post by SocialAnne)
holidays were not enough to justify that level of job dissatisfaction
i really hope you make the right decision for you.
best of luck.x
If you don't mind my asking, what about teaching did not satisfy you enough to leave the profession? For some it's the kids, for others (like my friend leaving) it was the toxic atmosphere among the staff in all the schools he worked in and the outcome driven environment. Also, what did you end up doing for work after leaving? One of the biggest things holding me back from leaving is that I have no idea what else I'd like to do and every graduate job I come across seems completely tedious (usually business grad schemes) that I have little to no experience with. I'm told it's good to get experience, but I'm in my late 20's and still living at home with a massive pressure to start earning and paying my way, so unpaid experience is just not an option for me.

Thank you for your response and your support!
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DPOJ
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(Original post by chloalexandria)
SocialAnne what uni do you go to that’s creating so much extra stress for you?
It sounds though that you’re very unhappy in the situation and it’s really not worth ruining your mental health over. I’d say talk to your mentor or your head of course or careers advisor at your uni just to get advice and see what your options are. I hope everything works out x
I won't reveal the Uni (just incase people identify me somehow), but I will say this: It is a lower ranking uni that is a lot more rigorous than the Russell Group uni in town. At my school there are a trainees from my Uni and the more elite university and we have full timetables that leave no time for any real study or time to catch up on marking and lesson plans, plus Uni work to be completed alongside it each week whilst they just have 7 teaching hours per week, no added uni work and a lot of free time to get their work done in school. It appears my Uni adds extra work that is not required for QTS but does it to create more well rounded teachers who are able to handle the pressure. I understand how this might work, but for me personally (as well as others on my course saying the same thing) it's just making our lives much more difficult.

Thank you for your help. I'll be chatting to my tutor on Monday/Tuesday. I won't go to my mentor for the reasons stated. In fact, the other person she was mentoring on my course has complained about her and been given a new mentor (which means I probably won't get that option sadly unless they moved me to a different school). Thank you once again, I will post an update in here after speaking with my tutor.
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DPOJ
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Look at the bigger picture. You only have another 2 months to Christmas then you switch to a different placement no?

I am now in my third year of teaching since going through the same hell you are going through. I now don't work in the evenings at all. Behaviour in my class is good because I know what I am doing and it is half term and I am chilling big time.

The alternative is you end up behind a desk 9-5 clock watching. Been there done that. It sucks! And you only get 20-25 days holiday for that hellish lifestyle.

Stick with it, if only to prove to yourself that you have the resillience to get through extremely tough situations in life. It does get easier.

Good luck!
You raise some good points. Sure, there's two months to go on this first placement, but that is a long time when you're literally filled with so much dread and when the workload is massive and you're behind.

After 3 years of teaching, are you still enjoying the job and are their any drawbacks to it that you can currently see?

Funny you should mention a 9-5 job as just yesterday I was saying a 9-5 where I didn't have to bring any work home with me looks really appealing atm. The only problem is not knowing what kind of job I would go into. I'd love a job with the subject I love but they seem ridiculously hard to come by other than teaching.

I could stick with it, but as I said, I am worried about my mental state. Yesterday when I wrote this was the worst I've felt mentally since my undergraduate degree (ended up having a mental break, packing everything up and moving back home). So as much as I want to stick it out just to prove something to myself, I do have to think about whether it would harm me more than if I were to leave.

Thank you for raising some good points for me to think about!
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Deyesy
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ParadoxSocks

Any advice?
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ByEeek
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(Original post by DPOJ)
You raise some good points. Sure, there's two months to go on this first placement, but that is a long time when you're literally filled with so much dread and when the workload is massive and you're behind.

After 3 years of teaching, are you still enjoying the job and are their any drawbacks to it that you can currently see?

Funny you should mention a 9-5 job as just yesterday I was saying a 9-5 where I didn't have to bring any work home with me looks really appealing atm. The only problem is not knowing what kind of job I would go into. I'd love a job with the subject I love but they seem ridiculously hard to come by other than teaching.

I could stick with it, but as I said, I am worried about my mental state. Yesterday when I wrote this was the worst I've felt mentally since my undergraduate degree (ended up having a mental break, packing everything up and moving back home). So as much as I want to stick it out just to prove something to myself, I do have to think about whether it would harm me more than if I were to leave.

Thank you for raising some good points for me to think about!
Yes. I do enjoy it because I can see with my own eyes that I am doing a good job. I find work very tiring but have two young children so they certainly add to my tiredness but the holidays more than make up for it. Here is my advise for what it is worth.
- OK is good enough. There is no such thing as perfect in teaching so there is no point in chasing that ideal.
- You own the kids so don't take any sh1t and ironically, they respect you more if you are hard on them because your are seen as being just and fair.
- It all else fails, are they learning and did anyone die? If yes and no, you are on the right track.
- Finally. Nothing is worth a mental breakdown over. Do what you can but draw a line. For me, I never worked past 9pm bearing in mind I cooked dinner and did kids stuff when I got home.

Hang in there. Its sh1t. But its not that sh1t. Look for the good stuff. That kid that smiles back. The kid that asks you a worthy question. That is why we do it.
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Sceptical_John
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How many hours a week are you teaching? It shouldn't be more than 10 at the very most on a 1st pgce placement.

As to the workload every interview I had warned me the workload was insane and forget your social life.

I am in a tough school at the moment and looking forward to this placement finishing and preying the next one will be better.

(Original post by DPOJ)
I won't reveal the Uni (just incase people identify me somehow), but I will say this: It is a lower ranking uni that is a lot more rigorous than the Russell Group uni in town. At my school there are a trainees from my Uni and the more elite university and we have full timetables that leave no time for any real study or time to catch up on marking and lesson plans, plus Uni work to be completed alongside it each week whilst they just have 7 teaching hours per week, no added uni work and a lot of free time to get their work done in school. It appears my Uni adds extra work that is not required for QTS but does it to create more well rounded teachers who are able to handle the pressure. I understand how this might work, but for me personally (as well as others on my course saying the same thing) it's just making our lives much more difficult.

Thank you for your help. I'll be chatting to my tutor on Monday/Tuesday. I won't go to my mentor for the reasons stated. In fact, the other person she was mentoring on my course has complained about her and been given a new mentor (which means I probably won't get that option sadly unless they moved me to a different school). Thank you once again, I will post an update in here after speaking with my tutor.
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DPOJ
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(Original post by Sceptical_John)
How many hours a week are you teaching? It shouldn't be more than 10 at the very most on a 1st pgce placement.

As to the workload every interview I had warned me the workload was insane and forget your social life.

I am in a tough school at the moment and looking forward to this placement finishing and preying the next one will be better.
Currently 7. It's not so much the actual teaching that bothers me (though some of my classes complete lack of respect doesn't help anything), but being expected to be a mind reader, being spoken to like an absolute bell end (as I mention in a previous post, the other trainee who had my mentor has since complained and got a new mentor so it's not just me thinking it), the added pressure of doing Uni work every single week whilst on placement, the lack of time to prepare for things because our Uni makes you do more than what you actually need to do.

It hasn't helped that I know people leaving the profession and the things I've heard from them (and from teachers in the school) have made me want to run a mile. Even my own mentor said teaching has one of the highest suicide rates, high rates of teachers on anti depressants....one of my mates mentors regularly self harms......its things like this that make me think, along with a complete lack of respect from pupils, why am I bothering with this? Why am I going to put my own sanity on the line for department heads who only care about you meeting standards and kids who couldn't care less that they're making your life hard?

I'm yet to come across one teacher who actually wants to be in school. A handful seem happy and that's it.

Apologies if I'm not making sense. Honestly having a crap few days. It's half term and I have lessons to plan and I physically cannot even bring myself to even think about doing them.

I was told to expect a heavy workload, but you can't fully comprehend that till you're actually doing it.
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Sceptical_John
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(Original post by DPOJ)
Currently 7. It's not so much the actual teaching that bothers me (though some of my classes complete lack of respect doesn't help anything), but being expected to be a mind reader, being spoken to like an absolute bell end (as I mention in a previous post, the other trainee who had my mentor has since complained and got a new mentor so it's not just me thinking it), the added pressure of doing Uni work every single week whilst on placement, the lack of time to prepare for things because our Uni makes you do more than what you actually need to do.

It hasn't helped that I know people leaving the profession and the things I've heard from them (and from teachers in the school) have made me want to run a mile. Even my own mentor said teaching has one of the highest suicide rates, high rates of teachers on anti depressants....one of my mates mentors regularly self harms......its things like this that make me think, along with a complete lack of respect from pupils, why am I bothering with this? Why am I going to put my own sanity on the line for department heads who only care about you meeting standards and kids who couldn't care less that they're making your life hard?

I'm yet to come across one teacher who actually wants to be in school. A handful seem happy and that's it.

Apologies if I'm not making sense. Honestly having a crap few days. It's half term and I have lessons to plan and I physically cannot even bring myself to even think about doing them.

I was told to expect a heavy workload, but you can't fully comprehend that till you're actually doing it.
I am with you on the expected to be a mind reader and treated like pond scum. If I make a mistake I get the riot act read to me, when a mentor or lecturer makes a mistake (and they have made some shockers) no such suggestion as an apology come my way.

I don't know how much experience you have outside of this current school you're in? But essentially there are some amazing schools out there (I have seen them) who look after their staff and desperate for hard-working teachers. For me, I made peace with the fact this year would be the hardest year of my life. Not just because of the workload but also because you're in essence a nobody. Yes the NQT will be hard but if it's in the right school then it should be ok.

Ultimately, as you say, nothing is worth your mental health and if that's at risk then get out. You can always retake a placement or retake the whole pgce if you want to come back to it later.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by DPOJ)
Currently 7. It's not so much the actual teaching that bothers me (though some of my classes complete lack of respect doesn't help anything), but being expected to be a mind reader, being spoken to like an absolute bell end (as I mention in a previous post, the other trainee who had my mentor has since complained and got a new mentor so it's not just me thinking it), the added pressure of doing Uni work every single week whilst on placement, the lack of time to prepare for things because our Uni makes you do more than what you actually need to do.

It hasn't helped that I know people leaving the profession and the things I've heard from them (and from teachers in the school) have made me want to run a mile. Even my own mentor said teaching has one of the highest suicide rates, high rates of teachers on anti depressants....one of my mates mentors regularly self harms......its things like this that make me think, along with a complete lack of respect from pupils, why am I bothering with this? Why am I going to put my own sanity on the line for department heads who only care about you meeting standards and kids who couldn't care less that they're making your life hard?

I'm yet to come across one teacher who actually wants to be in school. A handful seem happy and that's it.

Apologies if I'm not making sense. Honestly having a crap few days. It's half term and I have lessons to plan and I physically cannot even bring myself to even think about doing them.

I was told to expect a heavy workload, but you can't fully comprehend that till you're actually doing it.
Having a crap mentor can make your PGCE really hard. If the other trainee has complained and been given a switch, is there anything stopping you from doing the same?

If you are only teaching 7 hours, what is happening the rest of the time you are in school? You shouldn't be observing for all these periods, so talk to your mentor and your uni about building in some frees.

What happens if you don't do some of the uni work? E.g. my uni asked us all to write weekly reflections every week. They only took an hour a week or so, but it was just another chore I usually couldn't face doing, and over time I stopped doing them every week (And then eventually at all) and there was no issue with this.

The stuff about suicide rates is a bit complicated, but overall as a profession, teaching has a lower suicide rate than the national average. That's not to say it isn't tough, but it maybe sounds like you are in a department with quite a negative culture. This can be a real downer, and this may be influencing how you feel about the profession.

If you can, then I do think it is worth trying to hang on until Christmas and then going into your second school. You may find a change of school really helps- my first school was great, my second one not so much, and the school I now work in is pretty good too.

But do talk to your uni, and ask what support they can offer. If you're worried about your mental health, then do also speak to your GP.
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