PGCE Do’s and Don’ts

This article originally appeared on Cassidy Education Blog

Hey guys, I am back. Sorry I missed out on you, but I have gone to the Philippines to fix some banking papers I need for summer as I cannot open a bank account here. It was a strange sensation going back home but I’ll explain it in another post. It got too busy and my mother got attacked by a dog :-/

As i am back and it’s school day tomorrow, let’s go back to the academe. Cassidy Education did another fantastic post and I bookmarked it for future speeches and as a daily pick-me-up when work gets too boring or difficult. PGCE is your ticket to becoming a teacher under UK law. It’s not easy but many people do it! Here are some pointers for you to consider when undertaking such a role.

PGCE: Cassidy Education Do’s and Don’ts!

So, you have decided to complete your PGCE, first thing you need to consider – it won’t be easy.  In fact it is a hard and intensive course, especially when you consider the academic requirements alongside working on the job, it can be quite a daunting prospect. Of course, it is likely to be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. You will experience newfound skills firsthand, whilst making life-long friends as well as finding out your new passion for work – in a job you actually love doing.

How you tackle the PGCE year is ultimately your choice but we’ve laid down some of our recommendations – here are our do’s and don’ts:

Teaching Practice:

As the heading suggests, the PGCE placement is for you to ‘practice’ your ability as a teacher.  You are not expected to be the ‘finished article’ and perfect at everything, no one expects that. What they will expect is for you to be:

  • responsive to constructive criticism
  • well prepared
  • a hard worker
  • improving
  • a team member
  • able to learn from mistakes

Understand that you will improve and gain confidence quickly, make sure you give yourself the time you need to learn and practice your craft. Remember, this is your chance to guage yourself as a teacher and how you want to progress.

Top tips: Observe your peers, inside and beyond your subject. Get involved in the after school activities, leave your comfort zone from time to time – you’ll be surprised what you may learn.

Academics:

Even if you found your university degree a breeze, be assured you will find your PGCE assignments demanding. This will be more so for graduates from an engineering / technical background, as they may be less used to writing reports or long, drawn-out essays.  If this is you do not worry, help is at hand!  Universities usually have great support for helping with reading and writing skills – make sure you use it!

The Standards:

These are the Teachers’ Standards for use in schools in England since September 2012. The standards define the minimum level of practice expected of trainees and teachers from the point of being awarded qualified teacher status (QTS).

The Teachers’ Standards are used to assess all trainees working towards QTS, and all those completing their statutory induction period.

We are confident the last thing you want to do is spend your weekends digging through your work trying to catalogue everything for a check on Monday morning. You will be well advised to collate your work for each of the sections as you progress through the year. Your mentor will check on your work from time to time, and you will want to demonstrate a well-organised and presentable system. We recommend that you file your work weekly; this will surely save you many lost weekends.

Professionalism:

It can take time to adjust to an expectation of ‘professionalism’ especially if you are fresh out of university. You will have to quickly become accustomed to it however, as students, teachers and parents will all expect you to be professional in everything you do, and it’s essential for a successful and rewarding PGCE year.

You will demonstrate your professionalism through your knowledge and understanding of your subject(s), the learning process, your values and the development of you and your students.

Top tip: If in doubt, ask your peers, tutors and mentors for guidance, they will only be too happy to help.

Life Study Balance:

Make sure you find a balance between your PGCE and other things you enjoy doing, don’t give up your life; you’ll gain a lot more from the course that way!

Remember to:

  • find time for family and friends.
  • invest in lots of stationery (especially lever-arch files)
  • manage your time and stay organised
  • be creative, patient and flexible


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