So many people are being bullied on their PGCE?!!!

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Bunny-hop123
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#1
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#1
I came here for information about the PGCE. So many people are being bullied and humiliated and treated badly. I don't know what to make of it. Anyone out there having a positive PGCE experience ?
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Rorty
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#2
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People are much more likely to elect to tell others about their negative experiences. Most people get through the PGCE just fine even if they don't particularly like their mentor or their placement. Most people who struggle massively had an unrealistic understanding of what teaching is, are emotionally immature and thus falter when faced with criticism or otherwise lack the professional capacity to function in a stressful environment. That isn't to say that there are not terrible PGCE providers, priggish mentors and unrealistic expectations, but they are the minority.
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Bunny-hop123
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#3
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(Original post by Rorty)
People are much more likely to elect to tell others about their negative experiences. Most people get through the PGCE just fine even if they don't particularly like their mentor or their placement. Most people who struggle massively had an unrealistic understanding of what teaching is, are emotionally immature and thus falter when faced with criticism or otherwise lack the professional capacity to function in a stressful environment. That isn't to say that there are not terrible PGCE providers, priggish mentors and unrealistic expectations, but they are the minority.
I take your point Rorty, but when people are being treated like this, (see below) you do wonder... My guess is that this Bangor Uni as they are notorious, but I don't know for sure. The evil nature of the comments says "English hating Bangor education tutor" to me.
QUOTE
However, Block B has been an absolute nightmare for her. It began around 2 months in when professional mentor observed her lesson. To cut a long story short she was extremely nasty towards her and made many unprofessional comments to her. These including asking her if she was mentally ill, after claiming that the only person she had ever seen fail a pgce had been mentally ill.

She also asked her if she was dyslexic because she didn't use a capital letter.

I must also mention that my friend lost both her parents whilst studying for her undergrad course. So, when this mentor asked her if she had any subject knowledge gaps she said she did as she missed almost a year of uni in total. To this the mentor replied that although this was tragic, she needed to 'toughen up'.

Since then, my friend has felt completely demoralised. When she spoke to the uni about this treatment (other things were also said that are too complex to mention), they too were disgusted, and they had a word with her about her treatment, which she then toned down. However, my friend's subject mentor continued to what i would deem as 'bully' her. When applying for jobs, she told her that certain one's were 'too good for her' and that even 'she wouldn't apply for them', which once again severely knocked her confidence.
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SarcAndSpark
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#4
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#4
The examples you mention are awful. I could also tell you some genuine horror stories from people on my PGCE (not Bangor), and I'm sure there are others out there.

I do also think there is something about the nature of ITT (you're constantly being given improvement points, you're under a lot of pressure, you can be very isolated in school) which can make placements quite a negative experience for people.

Providers are very keen not to damage their reputation with placement schools, so will often put up with less than perfect behaviour from mentors. Mentors can also be pushed into the role because it's "good career development" or because no-one else wants to do it, leading to students feeling neglected and unsupported.

This year has obviously been a very difficult year to train for lots of reasons.

That's not to say everyone has a bad PGCE experience- some people sail through (some of these people will actually struggle early career for various reasons, though). But it is tough. Obviously no-one should accept bullying or humiliation, but you do need to be able to cope with constant critical feedback. There's a reason why the drop out rate is really high, and it's not just workload.
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Bunny-hop123
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#5
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#5
I think you are right.
Those who are given the job of "mentor" to a PGCE student, do not seem to be subject to checks and balances.
Recently I have heard of one, (North Wales again), who said to the PGCE student after she'd been there for three hours "I want you off the course. I don't think you are up to it. I don't think that you can cope with difficult classes".
The PGCE student had worked as a "Cover" for some of the most difficult schools in Crewe, so she asked the PGCE mentor to phone her Supply Teaching Agency, to get their opinion. The PGCE mentor refused to do that, and instead, just pretty much ignored the PGCE student. She only saw her for three observation sessions after that. The rest of the time the PGCE student just took the class and there were no problems.
But she pointed out that the PGCE mentor was in no position to judge whether she was a good teacher or not as she spent the observation time, having a gossip in the staff room.

Now you may ask why the Mentor was on the "I want you off the course" train?
The PGCE student was subject to a racist lecturer who had written a critical letter about her, to both of her placement schools. And it was only as she started her second placement that she was told "Well, you did ok in your first placement, but this letter says all kinds of negative things about you" The student was too shocked to "register" the racism, until she compared notes with other non-welsh students on the course. Some of them had been subject to racism too, by the same lecturer.
Last edited by Bunny-hop123; 1 year ago
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SarcAndSpark
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#6
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#6
When you say racist, and non-Welsh, do you mean they were prejudiced against English students? Because that isn't racism. It's not acceptable, but it's not racism.

Do bear in mind that when you hear stories second hand, you may not get all the information. As much as there can be awful situations on the PGCE, there can be students who are 100% unaware of their own short comings. It's very hard to actually fail someone, so they are often "managed out", which can be pretty unpleasant.

The checks on mentors are relatively limited unless they do something completely awful BUT I would also say working cover is very different to being a teacher in some ways- e.g. someone could be an excellent cover supervisor but their planning be totally inadequate. Obviously you can't judge that in a day.

It's also worth bearing in mind that work experience from before ITT can't be used to evidence QTS.

Do you have a personal interest in this? It does seem like you've got a bit of an axe to grind with a particular uni, and I'm trying to work out what your stake in this is.
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Bangor Uni
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Bunny-hop123)
I take your point Rorty, but when people are being treated like this, (see below) you do wonder... My guess is that this Bangor Uni as they are notorious, but I don't know for sure. The evil nature of the comments says "English hating Bangor education tutor" to me.
QUOTE
However, Block B has been an absolute nightmare for her. It began around 2 months in when professional mentor observed her lesson. To cut a long story short she was extremely nasty towards her and made many unprofessional comments to her. These including asking her if she was mentally ill, after claiming that the only person she had ever seen fail a pgce had been mentally ill.

She also asked her if she was dyslexic because she didn't use a capital letter.

I must also mention that my friend lost both her parents whilst studying for her undergrad course. So, when this mentor asked her if she had any subject knowledge gaps she said she did as she missed almost a year of uni in total. To this the mentor replied that although this was tragic, she needed to 'toughen up'.

Since then, my friend has felt completely demoralised. When she spoke to the uni about this treatment (other things were also said that are too complex to mention), they too were disgusted, and they had a word with her about her treatment, which she then toned down. However, my friend's subject mentor continued to what i would deem as 'bully' her. When applying for jobs, she told her that certain one's were 'too good for her' and that even 'she wouldn't apply for them', which once again severely knocked her confidence.
Hi @Bunny-hop123,

I'm so sorry to hear that your friend has experienced this. Bangor would never want any student to go through a situation where they felt they had been bullied and we take all allegations very seriously. Student support is really important to us and we have policies and procedures in place that provide students with a safe space to report any issues they may have. Please have a look at this link and share it with your friend for support and reassurance that we are here for them and we want to help in any way we can: https://www.bangor.ac.uk/inclusive-c.../report.php.en

If your friend wants to speak to anyone about this further please make them aware that they can contact me on here and I can forward on any messages etc.

I really do hope this helps and remember, please feel free to contact me, I am more than happy to help in anyway I can

Sera
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