Teacher Training as told by song titles (or how the most stressful year of my life can be summed up musically)

I haven’t written a blog post in over a year. That’s actually a lie, I’ve written lots of them for about 5 minutes each. Then I’ve realised that I have too much to do and gone back to my work instead of procrastinating with the hope that I may actually get to bed before my alarm goes off in the morning. The reason behind my absence is that I have been doing my teacher training this past year. Yes, I am now a qualified Geography Teacher and although the process of getting there was incredibly arduous and resulted in a lot of blood, sweat and tears (and the largest amount of coffee that I think I’ve ever consumed) not to mention the constant feeling of stress, I believe that it was all worth it to have a job that I enjoy (that no doubt will turn out to be equally as stressful in the long run but ho-hum).

Boromir knows the deal for all PGCE Teachers

If anybody out there among you readers is wondering exactly what it takes to undergo your Initial Teacher Training (through a PGCE course at least, though I’m sure that many other trainees will tell you the same regardless of how they underwent their training) then I am here with the answer. This post will explore the entire year from beginning in September until the end, with Graduation in July and even a little bit of starting the new job! Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Let’s begin…

Day 1: It’s A Beautiful Day – Michael Bublé

That first day of the PGCE: nothing can go wrong, you’re starting out on a new path, finally going to take the career world by storm. You can’t be stopped, you’re on your way to the top and today is your first step on the path. You’re excited, nervous and enjoying the world; whatever this year throws at you, you’ll be ready for it. Nothing can ever bring you down.

First day of placement: Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble – PJ & Duncan

You’ve sat through three weeks of lectures and countless seminars on subject knowledge and the importance of a good starter activity. The big day has come and you’re ready to get out there and inspire some pupils!

First full week of placement: Gonna Fly Now – Bill Conti

The training wheels are off and you’re in school full-time, no more Thursday or Friday lectures for a while! This is the time when you’re sure you’re going to be amazing and nothing can stop you! You know what you’re doing after all!

Final day of the first placement: Farewell – Rihanna

You’ve completed the first 3 months of your training and you’re ready for a holiday. You’ve laughed, cried and loved the kids you’ve taught, as well as hating them on occasion (it’s okay, we all feel that way). It’s your last day at School number 1 and it’s a sad time for you. That Christmas break looks REALLY appealing though…

First day of the second placement: Starting Over Again – The Dollyrots

Christmas has come and gone and you’re back to start your second placement school. Buoyed by your success at the first placement you feel ready to completely boss this placement stage and become the outstanding teacher you know you can be. Time to begin again!

The day you get a job for September: Everything Is Awesome – Tegan & Sara ft. The Lonely Island

You went through all of the possible questions you might be asked, planned and re-planned your lesson and checked it through with every member of your department and guess what? It worked! You’re employed! Hooray! (This step may come earlier or later in your year, it came right around this point for me though.)

The day you start struggling to balance everything: In Too Deep – Sum 41

Again, this stage can move around in your year. Mine came just after half term where I had spent the week doing nothing; no marking, no planning, no nothing. I had just finished my second written assignment for the course (which i had decided to take at Masters level because I am an idiot and hey who wants any of that “free time” stuff anyway?  it seemed like a strong career move, thinking about the future.  You will struggle and everything will start to become too much. Just cling on and make it through!

The day you have the observation that gets you back on track: Not Afraid – Eminem

You’ve been struggling, swimming against the tide trying desperately to claw your performance back to where it should be and that day arrives when you will be observed to measure this performance. This is a big one, if you mess it up then there’s a very terrifying conversation (which is in no way a conversation at all, more like a character assassination of your flaws) in your future…

But you’ve got this. You’re ready.

The day you realise everything is awful and you start hating your job: Welcome To Oblivion – Madina Lake

That’s IT! YOU’VE HAD IT WITH THIS JOB AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH IT!!

You’ve had a really bad day and, most likely a really crappy few weeks. My moment like this came straight after the third and final assignment. I had a complete melt down and everything started to go to pot. My department weren’t overly supportive of me and I’d been feeling the growing disinterest from them for a while (ever since they didn’t hire me actually, but that’s an escape I feel lucky to have had) which when combined with the department shake up and my mentor becoming the new head of department lead to me feeling isolated and unsupported which resulted in a colossal F-Up. Know this: it gets better.

The day after the meltdown: I’m No Superman – Lazlo Bane

You’ve had a breakdown and you think you’re alone but trust me, you’re not. This is the day where you realise that you have friends around you. Those people on your course with you are there for you, they know what you’re going through because they’re in the same boat. You’re like war buddies, all fighting together and forging an indestructible bond with each other. You don’t have to do this alone, you can get help from them as long as you’re willing to help them out when they need it.

The final day of Placement: We Made It – Busta Rhymes ft. Linkin Park

It’s finally here, thank goodness. The day you’ve been waiting for since you started hating your job and focussing on “getting through it”; the LAST day of placement. You’ve got through it with some help from your friends and those around you. You are finally here, despite everything this year has thrown at you. Now just a final week at university to finish off the course. Whew.

The day you graduate: Celebration – Kool and the Gang

Enough said, right? Enjoy this day. You earned it.

So that’s the PGCE in a nutshell. This is how I’ve spent my last year and now I have the new challenge of being an actual qualified teacher ahead of me. It can’t be that bad, can it?