So long PGDE - I quit!!

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optimistic-caz
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#1
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#1
Hello everyone!

I quit my PGDE on Monday. I just wanted to let people know who are considering going on the course exactly what you will be up against!

First we had 3 weeks campus based learning before being put out on placement. The uni taught us a lot of theory but practical things like writing a lesson plan were skipped over with only a small input. Our uni believed our mentor would teach us these things when out on placement. How wrong they were!

Some of my friends got very good mentors that sat with them daily and helped them write plans, explain things clearly, give them constructive feedback on their teaching etc. I was just left to get on with it! My mentor was a fabulous teacher but she really expected the uni to have taught me more than just Piaget et al! When she saw how much I was struggling instead of giving me support she told me there was no way I could ever teach and destroyed my confidence. She said that I was not working hard enough. (Completely untrue!) She had very high expectations and said I was not meeting them. I did not quit at this point and decided to continue as I just wanted to get through the placement and move on.

Going in to the school after this was extremely hard though. I felt anxious all the time. I could not eat or sleep. My teaching got worse and I knew that I was just going to get criticised no matter what I did.

I lost my motivation and just treaded water for a couple of weeks. I completed all paperwork by sitting up till 1am regularly. I was exhausted and still it was not enough for my mentor.

My visiting tutor was aware of how I was feeling and also the lack of constructive feedback and encouragement from my mentor. When she came in I passed but got criticised for not inspiring the learners enough by putting on videos etc. I did this before in one of my first lessons and the class descended into chaos! Not something I wanted happening in an observation.

After that I realised that this course (and perhaps the job that comes after) is just about survival. It seems that people do not want to support and help train you. They just want to push and push you to see how much crap you can take. I decided it’s just not for me.

Although I’m relieved I also feel a bit lost as I spent a lot of time preparing to get on this course with volunteering and attending gruelling interviews! What now is something that is playing on my mind.

I take my hat off to anyone who gets through this course in one piece! If anyone is considering it please prepare yourself for the worse!
Last edited by optimistic-caz; 2 years ago
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student342
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#2
Report 2 years ago
#2
Thanks for the reality check, i have applied and been attending interviews.
I think this post was needed for me to remind myself how challenging it will be and what I need to prepare for.
Acknowledge that not everything will be great for me and many obstacles will come my way hoping to fight.
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optimistic-caz
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#3
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#3
(Original post by student342)
Thanks for the reality check, i have applied and been attending interviews.
I think this post was needed for me to remind myself how challenging it will be and what I need to prepare for.
Acknowledge that not everything will be great for me and many obstacles will come my way hoping to fight.
Good luck with your applications and interviews! A bad mentor can make or break you. Just keep that in mind!
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SarcAndSpark
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#4
Report 2 years ago
#4
I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I totally agree that a bad/good mentor can make or break your experience, and sometimes you are just left to sink or swim.

Part of the problem (in my opinion) is that mentor teachers often don't get any extra time/money to be a mentor, and often have to give up their time to go to uni training etc. Increasingly, mentors are often teachers very early in their own teaching careers. I do think we need to look at the role of the mentor more, and consider how this can be supported/standardised across schools.

PGCE drop out rates are anecdotally very high - it's hard to find recent national statistics. Given the national teacher shortage, and the amount of money thrown at trainees, something does need to be done.

I hope you're feeling better, and you're able to find something to do next which is less stressful than teaching!
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Sceptical_John
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#5
Report 2 years ago
#5
I'm in a similar place. Thinking of quitting every day. I work in the evenings but I'm not someone who can be productive till 1am so maybe 3-4 hours. Worryingly I feel like I've gone backwards in the last couple of weeks.
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SarcAndSpark
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#6
Report 2 years ago
#6
(Original post by Sceptical_John)
I'm in a similar place. Thinking of quitting every day. I work in the evenings but I'm not someone who can be productive till 1am so maybe 3-4 hours. Worryingly I feel like I've gone backwards in the last couple of weeks.
You definitely shouldn't be working until 1am. It's normal to work a bit after school, maybe 3 hours between 3pm and whenever you got to bed, but working until 1am is totally unhealthy- has your mentor/uni tutor suggested this to you?

Have you spoken to your mentor/uni tutor about how you are feeling?
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optimistic-caz
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#7
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#7
Thanks everyone for your replies. It was me who was up till 1am!

I spoke to my uni tutor and I have decided to resume the course in January. I will have to do a 5 week retrieval placement next August but I simply could not continue as I was.

The more I look back, the more I realise that my mentor was actually a bully on a power trip. Instead of helping/showing me, she just criticised me at every turn. It was destroying my confidence and making my teaching worse.

Thankfully I showed enough skills when my visiting tutor came to observe me for her to recommend that I stay on the course. It was the first time in a long time that I got any positive feedback!

I just have to hope that my next placement is much better!
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Sceptical_John
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#8
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#8
(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
You definitely shouldn't be working until 1am. It's normal to work a bit after school, maybe 3 hours between 3pm and whenever you got to bed, but working until 1am is totally unhealthy- has your mentor/uni tutor suggested this to you?

Have you spoken to your mentor/uni tutor about how you are feeling?
mentors, course lecturers....

They are both fully aware of my performance not being good enough but I've not been frank with how bad I'm feeling.

I'm considering my options if I fail this placement.

Can you retake the placement in term 3 or next year?
Or could I withdraw from the course and start again?
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optimistic-caz
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Sceptical_John)
mentors, course lecturers....

They are both fully aware of my performance not being good enough but I've not been frank with how bad I'm feeling.

I'm considering my options if I fail this placement.

Can you retake the placement in term 3 or next year?
Or could I withdraw from the course and start again?
I was given the option of deferral or a 5 week placement retrieval in August. I think I’m going to go with the latter.

Please speak out to your university. They will support you! Remember you’re not alone.

Best of luck.
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SarcAndSpark
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#10
Report 2 years ago
#10
(Original post by Sceptical_John)
mentors, course lecturers....

They are both fully aware of my performance not being good enough but I've not been frank with how bad I'm feeling.

I'm considering my options if I fail this placement.

Can you retake the placement in term 3 or next year?
Or could I withdraw from the course and start again?
Sometimes you can do an extra few weeks of placement in term three to ensure you're hitting all teaching standards. Most unis will also allow you to defer or take another placement next year.

Have you been told you're likely to fail placement? The uni should give you advance warning- at my uni this was called "cause for concern", at others it's called "special measures", yours might call it something else. Failing placement should never be a shock. If you are in this situation, definitely talk through your options with uni.

If your mental health is suffering, try to speak to your GP too. Would it benefit you to be signed off for a week or two?
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Sceptical_John
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#11
Report 2 years ago
#11
(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
Sometimes you can do an extra few weeks of placement in term three to ensure you're hitting all teaching standards. Most unis will also allow you to defer or take another placement next year.

Have you been told you're likely to fail placement? The uni should give you advance warning- at my uni this was called "cause for concern", at others it's called "special measures", yours might call it something else. Failing placement should never be a shock. If you are in this situation, definitely talk through your options with uni.

If your mental health is suffering, try to speak to your GP too. Would it benefit you to be signed off for a week or two?
I've been informed by the school mentor I'm on the verge of getting a cause for concern and I will find out on Monday if I am on one or not. My concern is if I keep going at this placement I will get so anxious that I will be out of action for a year. There are only 5 weeks left after Friday but that feels a lifetime away. For the moment I am just taking it day by day.
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SarcAndSpark
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Sceptical_John)
I've been informed by the school mentor I'm on the verge of getting a cause for concern and I will find out on Monday if I am on one or not. My concern is if I keep going at this placement I will get so anxious that I will be out of action for a year. There are only 5 weeks left after Friday but that feels a lifetime away. For the moment I am just taking it day by day.
I think leaving you with that hanging over you over the weekend is really unfair, actually- you're going to be stressed out by something that by then is out of your control.

On the one hand, cause for concern is not an indication you will definitely fail, and it may mean you get the support you need put in place. On the other hand, if you're struggling with your mental health, then you need to address that first.

I'd strongly suggest speaking to your GP and seeing if you can access any mental health support via uni. I'd then have a really honest talk with your uni tutor about how tough you are finding things and see what they advise. Also ask about your options if you do fail the placement- then you can make a an informed decision about what to do next.

(Original post by optimistic-caz)
Thanks everyone for your replies. It was me who was up till 1am!

I spoke to my uni tutor and I have decided to resume the course in January. I will have to do a 5 week retrieval placement next August but I simply could not continue as I was.

The more I look back, the more I realise that my mentor was actually a bully on a power trip. Instead of helping/showing me, she just criticised me at every turn. It was destroying my confidence and making my teaching worse.

Thankfully I showed enough skills when my visiting tutor came to observe me for her to recommend that I stay on the course. It was the first time in a long time that I got any positive feedback!

I just have to hope that my next placement is much better!
Don't stay up until 1am working! There's no way you can be an effective teacher the next day! Set yourself a limit on the number of hours you are going to work in a day, and stick to it!

Mentors definitely are make or break- even if they are not actively bullying you, they can make a huge difference to how supported you feel. It can be something as simple as a mentor not having enough time to help and support a student- so leaving them to sink/swim on their own!

I hope things work out better in January!
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Reality Check
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#13
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#13
(Original post by student342)
Thanks for the reality check, i have applied and been attending interviews.
I think this post was needed for me to remind myself how challenging it will be and what I need to prepare for.
Acknowledge that not everything will be great for me and many obstacles will come my way hoping to fight.
I'm the Reality Check. :laugh:
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Reality Check
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#14
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#14
(Original post by optimistic-caz)
Hello everyone!

I quit my PGDE on Monday. I just wanted to let people know who are considering going on the course exactly what you will be up against!

First we had 3 weeks campus based learning before being put out on placement. The uni taught us a lot of theory but practical things like writing a lesson plan were skipped over with only a small input. Our uni believed our mentor would teach us these things when out on placement. How wrong they were!

Some of my friends got very good mentors that sat with them daily and helped them write plans, explain things clearly, give them constructive feedback on their teaching etc. I was just left to get on with it! My mentor was a fabulous teacher but she really expected the uni to have taught me more than just Piaget et al! When she saw how much I was struggling instead of giving me support she told me there was no way I could ever teach and destroyed my confidence. She said that I was not working hard enough. (Completely untrue!) She had very high expectations and said I was not meeting them. I did not quit at this point and decided to continue as I just wanted to get through the placement and move on.

Going in to the school after this was extremely hard though. I felt anxious all the time. I could not eat or sleep. My teaching got worse and I knew that I was just going to get criticised no matter what I did.

I lost my motivation and just treaded water for a couple of weeks. I completed all paperwork by sitting up till 1am regularly. I was exhausted and still it was not enough for my mentor.

My visiting tutor was aware of how I was feeling and also the lack of constructive feedback and encouragement from my mentor. When she came in I passed but got criticised for not inspiring the learners enough by putting on videos etc. I did this before in one of my first lessons and the class descended into chaos! Not something I wanted happening in an observation.

After that I realised that this course (and perhaps the job that comes after) is just about survival. It seems that people do not want to support and help train you. They just want to push and push you to see how much crap you can take. I decided it’s just not for me.

Although I’m relieved I also feel a bit lost as I spent a lot of time preparing to get on this course with volunteering and attending gruelling interviews! What now is something that is playing on my mind.

I take my hat off to anyone who gets through this course in one piece! If anyone is considering it please prepare yourself for the worse!
SarcAndSpark were only saying today how having a good mentor can make all the difference.

'Survival' is a part of it - you're right. Best that you've found it's not for you now, than find it out 1-2 years down the line. Good luck with your future plans. Do you have a plan B?
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cyan101
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#15
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#15
(Original post by optimistic-caz)
Hello everyone!

I quit my PGDE on Monday. I just wanted to let people know who are considering going on the course exactly what you will be up against!

First we had 3 weeks campus based learning before being put out on placement. The uni taught us a lot of theory but practical things like writing a lesson plan were skipped over with only a small input. Our uni believed our mentor would teach us these things when out on placement. How wrong they were!

Some of my friends got very good mentors that sat with them daily and helped them write plans, explain things clearly, give them constructive feedback on their teaching etc. I was just left to get on with it! My mentor was a fabulous teacher but she really expected the uni to have taught me more than just Piaget et al! When she saw how much I was struggling instead of giving me support she told me there was no way I could ever teach and destroyed my confidence. She said that I was not working hard enough. (Completely untrue!) She had very high expectations and said I was not meeting them. I did not quit at this point and decided to continue as I just wanted to get through the placement and move on.

Going in to the school after this was extremely hard though. I felt anxious all the time. I could not eat or sleep. My teaching got worse and I knew that I was just going to get criticised no matter what I did.

I lost my motivation and just treaded water for a couple of weeks. I completed all paperwork by sitting up till 1am regularly. I was exhausted and still it was not enough for my mentor.

My visiting tutor was aware of how I was feeling and also the lack of constructive feedback and encouragement from my mentor. When she came in I passed but got criticised for not inspiring the learners enough by putting on videos etc. I did this before in one of my first lessons and the class descended into chaos! Not something I wanted happening in an observation.

After that I realised that this course (and perhaps the job that comes after) is just about survival. It seems that people do not want to support and help train you. They just want to push and push you to see how much crap you can take. I decided it’s just not for me.

Although I’m relieved I also feel a bit lost as I spent a lot of time preparing to get on this course with volunteering and attending gruelling interviews! What now is something that is playing on my mind.

I take my hat off to anyone who gets through this course in one piece! If anyone is considering it please prepare yourself for the worse!
I am very sorry to hear that you went though this. I cannot believe your mentor said that! I am shocked
I am planning to apply for PGCE 2020 but I have been speaking to a few people who are pgce students/ doing their NQT year. Honeslty most have told me it is such an intense course/process I should really think twice because it takes up almost all your time. This concerns me greatly as I have other responsibilities outside of studying which I can't drop. I feel like all negatives aspects outweigh the positive but I really want to be a primary school teacher! Its just so overwhelming to hear so many people telling me to think again because it takes over your life apparently. I literally thought of the worst things that could happen and I am just stuck in this negative mindset. The workload seems extensive alone, I can't imagine how tough it would be having a mentor who wouldn't support me instead tell me I am not good enough
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optimistic-caz
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#16
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#16
(Original post by Reality Check)
SarcAndSpark were only saying today how having a good mentor can make all the difference.

'Survival' is a part of it - you're right. Best that you've found it's not for you now, than find it out 1-2 years down the line. Good luck with your future plans. Do you have a plan B?
Hi Reality Check,

I spoke to my uni about my mentor and said I could not go back to that school. I was given the choice of deferral or continuing as normal and doing a retrieval 5 week placement next Aug/sept. I’m currently considering these options.

After taking a step back I can now see clearly that my mentor was really unsupportive and put far too much on me. For example she like all my plans in for the following week a week in advance, she wanted me to always work through lunch and do playground duty, she expected me to know how to write an effective plan (I wrote my first plan on this placement!). She never gave me and feedback other than negative and really destroyed my confidence. She was actually supposed to support me and help me with things but I think she just wanted me to teach full days so she could sit in the staff room and have a gossip. She was most definitely on a power trip.

I will have to think long and hard about this as I am not guaranteed to get a good mentor next placement either! I am also not sure what else I would do as this is what I always wanted to do.

I have till Monday to decide.
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optimistic-caz
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#17
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#17
(Original post by Sceptical_John)
I've been informed by the school mentor I'm on the verge of getting a cause for concern and I will find out on Monday if I am on one or not. My concern is if I keep going at this placement I will get so anxious that I will be out of action for a year. There are only 5 weeks left after Friday but that feels a lifetime away. For the moment I am just taking it day by day.
I’m sorry to hear this! I could not go on as I was so just left! Well done for trying to stick it out.

Speak to your uni. Tell them everything. You might be given other options and not have to continue as you are.

I’m considering deferral or retrieval placement. It’s not completely over and it doesn’t have to be for you.

Best of luck x
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Reality Check
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#18
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#18
(Original post by optimistic-caz)
Hi Reality Check,

I spoke to my uni about my mentor and said I could not go back to that school. I was given the choice of deferral or continuing as normal and doing a retrieval 5 week placement next Aug/sept. I’m currently considering these options.

After taking a step back I can now see clearly that my mentor was really unsupportive and put far too much on me. For example she like all my plans in for the following week a week in advance, she wanted me to always work through lunch and do playground duty, she expected me to know how to write an effective plan (I wrote my first plan on this placement!). She never gave me and feedback other than negative and really destroyed my confidence. She was actually supposed to support me and help me with things but I think she just wanted me to teach full days so she could sit in the staff room and have a gossip. She was most definitely on a power trip.

I will have to think long and hard about this as I am not guaranteed to get a good mentor next placement either! I am also not sure what else I would do as this is what I always wanted to do.

I have till Monday to decide.
My advice to you would be to think about the job apart from the shîte mentor. What did you like about it? Did you enjoy teaching? Could you see yourself working in that environment? Is it, in fact, the right career for you?

If the answers are 'yes', then I think you should try overlook the mentor and focus on the end goal: QTS. You're right to say that you can't guarantee a good mentor next time, but I think it would be a terrible shame to miss out qualifying for the career you actually want do to just because of an inept teacher in your training school. I know at the time it's horrid, but it's only a couple of placements - do you think you could survive them for the 'greater good'?
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It was all U
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#19
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#19
Name and shame the Uni so future applicants can avoid them..As they are not doing it for free they are getting £9000. So you have the right to complain, try making a formal complaint.Good luck and move on from the bad experience.
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SarcAndSpark
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#20
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#20
(Original post by cyan101)
I am very sorry to hear that you went though this. I cannot believe your mentor said that! I am shocked
I am planning to apply for PGCE 2020 but I have been speaking to a few people who are pgce students/ doing their NQT year. Honeslty most have told me it is such an intense course/process I should really think twice because it takes up almost all your time. This concerns me greatly as I have other responsibilities outside of studying which I can't drop. I feel like all negatives aspects outweigh the positive but I really want to be a primary school teacher! Its just so overwhelming to hear so many people telling me to think again because it takes over your life apparently. I literally thought of the worst things that could happen and I am just stuck in this negative mindset. The workload seems extensive alone, I can't imagine how tough it would be having a mentor who wouldn't support me instead tell me I am not good enough
The PGCE is a big commitment, and it does take over your life. However, people do manage to complete it, even with other responsibilities.

If you're able to share a bit more about your other responsibilities, then people may be able to give you more advice. Unis do tend to give people with e.g. caring responsibilities a bit more support, so it may still be possible to become a teacher.

(Original post by It was all U)
Name and shame the Uni so future applicants can avoid them..As they are not doing it for free they are getting £9000. So you have the right to complain, try making a formal complaint.Good luck and move on from the bad experience.
I'm not always against naming and shaming, but in this case it sounds like it was (mostly) the mentor at fault- and ITT students need to be very wary about mentioning their placement schools online.
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