Final Feelings – The PGCE Experience

In a few days I hand in my teaching file which means the end of this blog and one step closer to the end of the PGCE.

To say it has been difficult would be an understatement however I feel thankful that I scaled down my work to part-time and that in comparison to some fellow PGCE students my teaching commitments were perhaps the minimum required. If I hadn’t been working weekends I do feel that I would have felt able and willing to take on more teaching and despite having two days off a week which was filled with college work I feel that perhaps should have anyway to gather the experience as overall I feel that is what I have lacked.

Despite teaching for over 100 hours those hours have been a combination of loan and co-teaching, they ended up being largely the same level 3 year one BTEC students and I feel that what has let me down was the range of students I was given to teach and the lack of it. Looking now at finding work I feel very unprepared for the real-life situation which is teaching from KS2 up to A-Level, I wonder if I have gained enough experience and feel quite apprehensive going into the National Curriculum and A-Levels.

Although this PGCE was centred on preparing you for a career in Life-Long Learning I would have loved the opportunity to work in a Secondary School’s sixth form rather than just the college as that too would have brought new challenges and experiences. I would have also liked to get my hands on more practical lessons (despite my background in theory) as most of my teaching was workshop – simply due to the way the BTEC was taught and the positioning of my classes. I feel that perhaps the Creative department had too many students (there were three of us and a photography student) and despite us all having different specialisms two of us, Myself and another, overlapped and due to the staffing there wasn’t really the classes to go around to allow is to have a diverse teaching experience.

 

Despite this I know I learnt things, and that although feeling unprepared know and understand I will still have much to learn as I aim for QTLS and once I am within my NQT year.

The course itself was slightly chaotic which didn’t help the overall sense of coping with the workload. As the tutor changed, and the deadline change as feedback was not received it was sometimes hard to get on and do the work, it sometimes felt that writing the essays (ahem. Professionalism essay) got in the way of teaching. But I feel that itself shows the ‘teacher’ in me, that I started wanting to do the best by my students and felt that as the PGCE course went on my priorities shifted to making sure my students did not stuffer – that their lesson plans were done, that their work was marked over my own work for the course.

The blog itself has been helpful – I haven’t gone back and read any of it over but by ranting and typing out my thoughts in a non-academic manner; blogging has helped take the strain off certain thoughts, days and feelings. I would recommend it to future PGCE students and might carry it on through my QTLS and NQT years to help cope with that stress too.

 

Overall I am glad I did a PGCE, that I still want to be a teacher. I am disappointed I did not gain a broader experience pool and am positively terrified of what is to come next.

It’s been a hard road and despite the panic to get this final work done (due largely to having an amazing two-week holiday) it is almost over and I am stronger for it.

Would I still do it if given a second chance? Yes.

Would I still do Life-long learning? Perhaps not.