NQT blog: My second placement – forcing me to become a better teacher

PGCE blog: Beginning my second placement and a job offer education 2

This is our latest posting from our student physics teacher (read his last post here) He’s is halfway through his second placement.

“I have only six weeks left in my current school before I go back to university, hopefully having satisfied every standard necessary to qualify as a teacher. The end feels very close and, although teachers are used to counting down weeks, I think I am obsessing over it even more.

However, my countdown isn’t because I don’t want to be in school. Indeed, a holiday is very much in order, having overcommitted myself over the recent Easter holidays and not got the rest I needed.

It’s because I want to be in school as a qualified teacher – I want my own classes. I want my own room. I want my own posters up! Plus, I am constantly teased by walking past my future classroom as I am doing my placement in the school that I will be working in come July.

If I’m going to be completely honest, the biggest struggle so far in the PGCE was the beginning of the second placement. It marked a point when some of my fellow students dropped out. We all felt a huge jump in expectations from the schools as we were meant to be closer to the finished product. Some people found it hard to adjust from one type of school to another and, sadly, a few people did not wish to continue with the course.

I had my difficulties too. Maybe my first school was rather gentle on me, but this second school really pushed me hard to improve my teaching. Initially, my confidence lessened as I felt that everything I had done in my last placement was being scrutinised and criticised. However, it didn’t take long for me to achieve a greater understanding with my mentor and I realise that my teaching has improved a lot in the first six weeks at the school.

I do feel that I get worked harder than some PGCE students in the school because they are trying to get me ready for my position there next year. Although this is not always completely welcome, it helps me feel that the work I do has more purpose and that I will be better prepared for teaching in September.

I recently had to do an 8,000 word project for university and it really exhausted me. I had to juggle it with my lesson planning and teaching. It was not enjoyable. But it did reinforce was that I really enjoyed teaching: when the project was handed in, I was genuinely excited about getting back to putting more effort into my lessons and producing them to a standard that I was happy with again. The following week, I felt back in the swing of things, delivering better lessons and actually enjoying it as I taught them.”