I’ve managed it! I’ve survived a PGCE!
Firstly, for those that don’t know what a PGCE (Post-Graduate Certificate of Education) is; the PGCE is the year-long course for those wishing to go into the teaching profession and already have an undergraduate degree.
For those thinking about doing a PGCE then there’s three important points to remember;
- Social life
There’s also the myth, or at least I found it to be, that a PGCE will be the most stressful year of your life. I actually felt that my 3rd year undergraduate was the most stressful year, there were exams to revise for twice and essays throughout the year. On the PGCE, its more stop-start. May and June were probably the most stressful MONTHS of my life because you’re basically planning for full-time teaching as well as doing university work (Homer Simpson would correct me – most stressful months of my life so far). If you are thinking about taking the course then don’t panic about it being constant stress, at least for the primary course.
So, to the three points above.
The hardest thing for me was having a severe lack of money. You have to pay for everything that you would as an undergrad; accommodation, bills, food etc but you also have to pay to get to the school and the travel reimbursement isn’t much! On top of this, I found I was having to pay for things like new shoes and shirts during placement because you can’t walk around in a hoody like normal students. If you can, do a course close to your parents home; I didn’t and it wiped out my savings.
Make sure you stay on top of things! And catch up during the calm before the storm between Christmas and Easter. At times it seems like there isn’t THAT much to be doing but the frantic periods leave very little spare time so when there’s not as much to do, prepare for your next assignment/placement. Also, keep up with the files they ask you to do! They don’t seem much at first but they, too, build up and it wont be funny trying to play catch up – there are 10 files to my left, all are thick and that isn’t even all of them since I’ve broken some down now that I’ve finished.
This is the key element to get you through the course. Make sure you still go out at weekends, visit the cinema from time to time and carry on with your hobbies! Not only will it chill you out but if you go for some after-uni drinks you can give each other support with your course progression. Also, share your ideas and don’t be scared to ask for help! We set up a Facebook group which has really helped a large number of people on the course.
It was a fantastic experience and Hallam University was a fantastic place to do it 🙂 – I was a course rep so I had to feed any issues from the group to the tutors at meetings. The main issue was different groups being told different things about what to do with files/assignments. This obviously panicked people when discussing it across tutor groups on the Facebook group; to make your life a lot easier just do what YOUR tutor tells you and make sure when something is set you are clear on what to do before you start – and wayyyyy before the deadline 😉
I start as a year 5 teacher in Rotherham in September, my teaching blog-posts will be more frequent from then 🙂