Tips and advice for PGCE/School Direct Students

For those looking for book reviews, don’t worry they’ll be continuing, this is as promised, some tips to survive the teacher training one year route as a round up to the end of my training year/personal posts on a Sunday!

So you’re about to embark on this crazy journey that is teacher training? It’s SO worth it let me tell you. It may have been stressful, draining and exhausting (I’m not going to lie!) but at the same time it was rewarding, enjoyable and challenging in a good way. I think it has completely changed me as a person. My family and friends have seen a change in me, and I do believe I have become more confident. The PGCE route takes 9 months if you take out holiday times, and in those 9 months I’ve grown so much. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t all been sunshine and pretty flowers, there have been some very dark times when I’ve wanted to pack it all in and forget about teaching. I’ve had rejections, awful lessons, terrible behaviour but I’ve also had amazing lessons, massive amounts of support from parents, lovely comments and thoughtful conversations with young children. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Tips for the University side of PGCE/School Direct/SCITT

  • Check you’ve carried out all of the pre-course tasks, especially if you’ve got to spend some time in school. This is really important as it goes towards your required days.
  • Don’t buy all the books they recommend. I barely used mine. Get them out of the library or purchase them secondhand if you really want your own copy.
  • Take as much as you can from the taught sessions. Engage in the seminars, enjoy the seminars and find your inner child!
  • If you feel you have any weak subject areas go over some subject knowledge. BBC Bitesize is a great website for handy revision.
  • Get organised. Get some files together ready for your uni or placement information. Perhaps find a space (preferably a cupboard which can be shut) just for uni/work stuff.

Tips for placement

  • As scary as it is to go into a new school try and get stuck in as soon as you can, even if it’s supporting a group whilst the teacher teaches. Seriously, the sooner you can start to get to know the children, the better it is.
  • Emerse yourself in the school as much as you can. Go to staff meetings, attend school discos, perhaps start an after school club? If you’re truly part of the school it really enhances your school experience.
  • If you’re offered teaching time before you take it- go for it! Some of my best lessons have been my spontaneous lessons, but at the same time, don’t do TOO much. You need your percentage of time away for planning, assessment and university assignments. It’s a balancing act, but you’ll get there as placement progresses.
  • Planning gets easier. It takes a while to start with, but once you’re in the swing of it then you get faster/more productive sooner.
  • Plan carefully. Think about every child in the class. What do they all need to know at the end of the lesson?
  • Have a day/afternoon off just for you. Don’t do any work on that day/afternoon. Catch up with your friends/partner/family. You’ll burn yourself out otherwise.
  • There will be hard times on placement. TALK about them. Don’t bottle them up.
  • Sleep when you can! Don’t stay up until 3am planning. It won’t be a good quality lesson and you’ll be tired the next day, so you won’t deliver it to the best of your ability.
  • Organisation is key. If you keep organised and on top of things, you’ll find yourself with more time for YOU. That’s important.  To Do lists are amazing for both uni and placement.
  • You’ll get bored of hearing the word ‘reflect’ but it is very important that you do reflect on everything you teach. What went well? What didn’t go well? Why? What could you do better? It’s important to ask yourself these questions as you may get asked them by your teacher tutor/mentor/university.

Tips for Teaching Interviews

  • Some applications will be rejected before you get to interview. Don’t get disheartened. Before May, qualified teachers are also applying, so there is a lot of competition. After May, they can no longer put in their notice in the school. Then NQTs battle it out!
  • Do NOT panic if you don’t get a job at your first interview. I have known people that have taken between 3-7 interviews before getting a job. I had 3 interviews before I was successful.
  • Read up about the school before you visit. A visit to the school before putting in an application is essential. Make sure you tailor each application to the school. They don’t want a generic personal statement, they want to know that you know about the school. Make it clear why you should work there! Sell yourself but make sure it doesn’t come across as arrogant.
  • Dress smartly for the school visit and for the interview. Many headteachers will write a note about you after you’ve left the school visit. You want to make a good impression!
  • When it comes to the interview make sure you give examples of things you have done in your placements. Speak about good lessons you’ve had, speak about your behaviour management, always try and answer a question with experience. Again, researching about the school will help you greatly. Draw on what you know and show that you’re interested in the school.

I hope these tips have been helpful for those of you that are starting in September! Good luck and you CAN do this. It won’t be easy, but it’s so rewarding. I kept a diary of my experience during the PGCE. You can read them through my archives HERE if you are interested. The first post is right at the bottom of the page. If you have any questions feel free to ask! 🙂

A Week In The Life of a Primary PGCE Student- Officially a qualified teacher!

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my massive new venture. I am going to University to train to be a primary school teacher. I will be trained to work with 5-11 year olds. It’s known to be a very, very stressful time so I’m hoping I can channel my thoughts and feelings into a blog post. It gives you an insight into what’s going on in my life and hopefully it’ll be incredibly therapeutic for me. I will NOT be naming any children, schools or teaching staff. I won’t even mention what University I’m at. I hope that’s understandable. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind!

That’s it everyone. University time complete, placement complete, job? COMPLETE!

I am so happy to have gained a job in the school I wanted. It’s still really surreal to me. I can’t believe I’ve got my own class. I met them on Friday and they are utterly adorable. I think I’m going to have a fabulous year with them.

I’ve already got so much on my mind for things I want to do with them. It’s all so exciting. Schools here don’t break up for summer for a few weeks, so I’m using that extra holiday time to get prepared for having my own class. ARGH. That sentence still seems strange.

Massive thanks to family, friends and everyone that has commented on these weekly posts. Your support means everything to me. It’s been a bumpy journey, but I’m finally a qualified teacher with a class waiting to learn from me in September! ❤

Next week I shall publish a post with some tips to those of you that are embarking on your training this September, but other than that this is my last post on this topic! 😦

A Week In The Life of A Primary PGCE Student- Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my massive new venture. I am going to University to train to be a primary school teacher. I will be trained to work with 5-11 year olds. It’s known to be a very, very stressful time so I’m hoping I can channel my thoughts and feelings into a blog post. It gives you an insight into what’s going on in my life and hopefully it’ll be incredibly therapeutic for me. I will NOT be naming any children, schools or teaching staff. I won’t even mention what University I’m at. I hope that’s understandable. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind!

Oh gosh. I don’t even know how to begin this post but it’s completely different to the one last week. I’ve went from having no job opportunities to three possible opportunities. I have been offered a job in a school but I am not sure it’s the school for me. There’s two other potential jobs, one that I really REALLY want but I’m not guaranteed. Part of me really wants to hold out for that job, but I’m worried by turning one down I’ll be setting myself up for failure? I don’t know. It’s so hard. I want to follow my heart though.

It’s so hard to make the right choice for my induction year. The induction year is notoriously hard as you become much more accountable for what happens in your class. You are accountable. If the school is not the right fit for you, then I don’t think you’d be happy. I think I’m going to follow my heart though and hold out for the job I want. I hope that my passion for this school can come across and land me the job. I will find out within the next few days. Scary, but so exciting.

I would appreciate all the positive vibes I can get this coming week. Let’s hope I make the right choice and get what I want. It’s definitely a risk, but the school that I want is worth that gamble.

A Week In The Life of A Primary PGCE Student: It’s not easy…

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my massive new venture. I am going to University to train to be a primary school teacher. I will be trained to work with 5-11 year olds. It’s known to be a very, very stressful time so I’m hoping I can channel my thoughts and feelings into a blog post. It gives you an insight into what’s going on in my life and hopefully it’ll be incredibly therapeutic for me. I will NOT be naming any children, schools or teaching staff. I won’t even mention what University I’m at. I hope that’s understandable. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind!

I don’t even know where to begin with this week. I feel like I’ve had a massive confidence crisis. There’s no reason to really. The logical part of me knows that I’ve passed my course with a high grading and my observations and teaching are going well. To be honest, I think it’s the lack of job. My anxiety is rearing its ugly head, affecting me badly this week.

I had one interview this week as the others were rescheduled. I got down to the final two candidates, but in the end they went for the other candidate. They took over 5 hours to decide and during my feedback, they told me I had did nothing wrong at all, and it was hard to give feedback when there was nothing negative to feedback. It’s reassuring, but my anxiety aliens worry that I won’t get a job.

I have prospects though. I’ve still got schools coming up. I just want something soon so I can relax more and get ready for the next stage of my career.

Teaching itself, has been fun this week. I really adore the class I’m with and I am going to miss them SO much when I finish in just under 2 weeks.  I need to start thinking about how I’m going to show my family appreciation for putting up with me over these past 9 months. It’s been a tough 9 months for us all! 😀

I am planning on writing some tips/tricks posts after I finish as I know a lot of people about to embark on this crazy journey of teacher training are reading my blog. 🙂

A Week In The Life of A Primary PGCE Student- So this is what it feels like?

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my massive new venture. I am going to University to train to be a primary school teacher. I will be trained to work with 5-11 year olds. It’s known to be a very, very stressful time so I’m hoping I can channel my thoughts and feelings into a blog post. It gives you an insight into what’s going on in my life and hopefully it’ll be incredibly therapeutic for me. I will NOT be naming any children, schools or teaching staff. I won’t even mention what University I’m at. I hope that’s understandable. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind!

This week, as I predicted last week, has been a little crazy. For the last month or so, my teacher tutor has been unwell, so I have taken on the full time teaching. I am supposed to have some more time out for planning but that hasn’t really happened. Don’t think I’m complaining, it has given me a great insight into what September will be like… (if I can land a job by then… *crosses fingers*  I’m tired, but I’m also proud of how far I’ve come since September.

I have to admit to being a little emotional this week. I think most of this is down to me. I’m seriously my harshest critic. I think my teacher tutor finds me a little frustrating. No matter how much she praises me, I just can’t seem to get my head around the confidence she has in me. Damn low self-esteem!

I had a job interview this week, I didn’t get the job, but had such amazing feedback that I’m feeling really well prepared for 2 interviews that I have this coming week. Let’s hope by this time next week I’m screaming about a job I have managed to land. I really hope I can manage it, so that I can enjoy the last few weeks of my placement.

My tutor came in from university and graded me HIGH 🙂 I’m so pleased. I’m hoping this grading helps me land that job that I’m desperate for. There are pros and cons for the schools in the coming week, but I’m hoping when the school is right for me, it will just feel right!

A Week In The Life of A Primary PGCE Student: Fun in the sun!

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my massive new venture. I am going to University to train to be a primary school teacher. I will be trained to work with 5-11 year olds. It’s known to be a very, very stressful time so I’m hoping I can channel my thoughts and feelings into a blog post. It gives you an insight into what’s going on in my life and hopefully it’ll be incredibly therapeutic for me. I will NOT be naming any children, schools or teaching staff. I won’t even mention what University I’m at. I hope that’s understandable. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind!

It was back to school this week, with a training day to start the week off. Yes, on those INSET days, teachers don’t have a day off. They’re in school doing some sort of work and for me, it was levelling/assessing children’s work. Not the most inspiring thing to do, but important nonetheless.

Even though it’s been a shorter week for the children this week, it feels like it’s been a full on teaching week, even though I haven’t really been teaching that much. I’ve freestyled a lot this week, I’ve been teaching in another class whilst my class were getting tested. It’s nice to work with different classes every now and again.

The weather has been lovely this week too, which makes a huge difference. I’m quite an outdoorsy person, so I have been making the most of the weather with the children and getting them out and about in our huge outdoors space. I find their behaviour is much better and there are some great learning opportunities outside. We’ve had Literacy, lots of Science and Art outdoors this week. Fun in the sun indeed!

Next week brings some challenges for me. I have another interview, I have to be formally observed twice (once to make up for my lack of formal observation this week) and I’m also visiting a potential school for September (if I don’t get a job this week!) Pretty full on, but I’m ready and raring to go!

A Week In The Life Of A Primary PGCE Student: No job for me this week, but that’s okay!

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my massive new venture. I am going to University to train to be a primary school teacher. I will be trained to work with 5-11 year olds. It’s known to be a very, very stressful time so I’m hoping I can channel my thoughts and feelings into a blog post. It gives you an insight into what’s going on in my life and hopefully it’ll be incredibly therapeutic for me. I will NOT be naming any children, schools or teaching staff. I won’t even mention what University I’m at. I hope that’s understandable. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind!

To start of this week, I had a job interview! It was my first one, so I was a little nervous. I had to do a lot of tasks. I had to have a group interview, teach a Maths lesson, carry out a Engish and Maths task and then I found out I was through to the interview process. I didn’t end up getting the job (I got fantastic feedback!), but I think in hindsight, it wasn’t the best school for me. So, I’m back on the job hunt. Please send me positive vibes over the next few weeks. I’d love to get a job secured for September.

My week at school went well. I didn’t teach much as we were winding down to the week break we have next week. What I did manage to teach went really well so I’m very proud of myself! I’m really enjoying my placement school which I’m so happy about. At the start of the placement, I was really unsure, but I’ve found my feet and now I really can’t believe that I’ve only got about 6 weeks left with this class. Crazy!

I won’t have a ‘Week In The Life’ post up next week, as it’s a week break, but the week after next will see how my wonderful class got on with their standardised tests. 😦