The PGCE experience during strange times: Lily Middleton
Things Can Seem Scary, but turn out well
It is late September and you’ve realised what you’ve really signed up for. The number of comfy Uni days are declining fast and there is increasing talk in your PGCE WhatsApp group of where you’ll be placed for your first ever, official, teaching placement.
You attend your lectures on organisation, managing class behaviour, lesson planning, safeguarding and in theory, you’re more than prepared. Until you realise, those lessons you’ve been planning in your groups and teaching to your already supportive, keen, colleagues, are just a template. You have to get up and teach a relatively unknown curriculum, perhaps from a subject you’ve only just learnt yourself (hello SKE French!) to a room full of 11-16 year olds. You’ll wonder how you’ll ever put all the creative ideas buzzing around your head onto paper, then onto a PowerPoint, then on to a Lesson Plan Proforma and then ultimately into the heads of your pupils. You’ll wonder how you’ll ever stick to the 60 or 100 minute time frame, manage behaviour, remember to set homework, mark tests, mark books AND deliver content that is relevant.
So your placement begins, you arrive early at the looming school. Scramble for your fresh DBS check and all of your other documents and meet a couple more ITTs waiting in the hall. You are greeted by your Professional Mentor, who leads you through many a corridor. You’re already lost. But you remind yourself that this is where you need to be. Finally you reach your faculty, a place you will call home for the next six weeks. You glance at classrooms that you may very well be standing in front of in a week’s time, delivering your shaky starter to a group of timid year 7s.
You meet your Subject Mentor who is welcoming and reassuring. You begin to settle in. You observe classes, and the same line runs through your head: how am I going to do that. You observe closely, you shadow, you learn.
You are encouraged to start thinking about planning for your first ever class. One you’ve observed now a handful of times. You feel excited to put your ideas into practice.
The day arrives and you have your lesson plan perfectly printed out, your PowerPoint poised and ready. You get to your classroom early and are faced with a glaring whiteboard that you realise you don’t really know how to write on neatly. You do your best. Today, your best is enough.
You greet your students at the door, they wonder who you are. You glance at your seating plan, learn a handful of names and dread getting the register wrong on SIMS. You deliver your lesson, your students give your new materials a try. They leave with some new ideas, and you have survived your first class….
Lily Middleton is a PGCE Modern Languages trainee teacher . Lily also works as a UniBuddy, taking questions online about her University of Manchester PGCE experience.
To chat with Lily on any questions you might have about the PGCE click here: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/chat-with-our-students/?unibuddy=blog/post/5fd0e6b45cd00105138f72e1