“Teaching is like having a baby, everyone tells you what to expect, but until you actually do it you can’t quite grasp what it will be like.”

My PGDE course is coming to end and it’s been such a rollercoaster. But it’s one that I’m pleased I took the leap and stuck too. I’m really enjoying teaching, my students are all sitting their English GCSE exams now and it’s a great feeling to have got them through the year.

It’s simultaneously the hardest and the best thing I’ve ever done and I’m so proud of my achievements this year. You have your doubts like any career, but these all disappeared when I was graded Outstanding in my teaching practice and now I’m really looking forward to my NQT year, hopefully working at my placement college!

There is a duality to teacher training – I’m a teacher but also a student, so I understand what my learners are going through. At the end of the year, they’re faced with looming deadlines and exam pressure, which just adds to their stress levels. They need staff to be sympathetic and supportive of them, sharing ideas for time management or just offering a listening ear that can really help. I also remind myself that it’s a good thing if my learners are feeling a bit pressured as it shows that they care about their results. (It’s the really laid back ones that I’m worried about!)

Teaching GCSE re-sits is tough, which has an English Language and Functional Skills (English) teacher, is one of the classes I am assigned to teach. The learners are often de-motivated and you know statistically that it’s likely a lot of them are going to fail again. I’ve been running revision sessions and offering extra support to students if they need it. I gave my learners revision goody bags with highlighters, pens, sweets and other items along with some revision materials to show them that I appreciate their efforts and believe in them (and also to encourage them into doing some revision of course!) However, despite how hard it’s been, I know I’ve done my best. I’m really happy that some students have really engaged with my teaching this year and have worked really hard. I’m positive that their hard work will pay off and that they’ll pass. It’s a good feeling knowing that I’ve helped them through and, pass or fail, I know I’ve made a difference this year.
Looking back on my year of training on the PGDE course with Warwick, I can’t imagine myself teaching anywhere else now. It is so different from working in a school and I highly recommend the FE sector. I’ve made friends for life and the quality of teaching and support from the tutors at University and my mentor and line manager at my placement college has been amazing.
And now I’ve come to the end of my training rollercoaster – you might be wondering what my plans are for the summer. Well, you’d think after a training year, I’d be looking forward to a long summer off teaching, but I’ve decided to do the CELTA course at Warwick (to teach English as a foreign language) in July! After that, my break begins, I have holidays planned in France and Cornwall and am very much looking forward to a well-deserved break and some quality time with my partner and two children.

About the Blogger

Sarah is training to teach English Language and Functional Skills (English) in the FE sector on the PGDE (FE and Skills) course.

Bursaries are now available for eligible Maths and English teachers. Click here to find out more.

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