Getting ready for your PGCE year
The PGCE is a rewarding experience but can be demanding. If you’re planning on joining us in September make sure you’re prepared by following these five steps suggested by Lily, a current student on PGCE Secondary Spanish.
1. Do your research
Make sure you know what is expected of you as a trainee teacher by reading the statutory guidance and course handbooks provided by your faculty. Familiarise yourself with the Teachers’ Standards and you’ll be one step ahead! You can access the Government policy on what these expectations are at Initial teacher training (ITT): criteria and supporting advice.
2. Buy a good diary
You’re going to need it. Make sure you are organized BEFORE September and arm yourself with an accurate and user-friendly agenda. Check out The Positive Teacher Company for teacher-specific stationery, and you’ll be supporting a small business too!
3. Use your diary
In your shiny new diary, pencil in ALL assignments and their deadlines as soon as they come available to you. This will ensure there are no nasty surprises, you can’t afford to be pulling all-night essay writing sessions when you’re also teaching 12 lessons a week. (Speaking from experience, don’t do it!)
4. Sort any boring ‘life admin’ before the course starts
Try to secure your living arrangements and transport before your placement starts. The last thing you’ll need is the stress of moving or passing a driving test while doing the PGCE. Try and get on top of any odd jobs over summer so things don’t pile up when the course starts: you’re going to need any spare time you get for some serious rest and recuperation (which nicely leads on to my final point)
5. Rest up
You’re going to need to come into the course with full batteries. Establish healthy routines that you can maintain throughout the course. Have a bank of de-stressing activities- you’re going to need them. And make sure when September does come along to maintain a work/life balance. Have at least one full day off a week and keep your evenings as clear as possible. You’re going to be working very hard, you need to rest up hard, too.
For students choosing a PGCE with a Modern Foreign Language, stock up on authentic materials. If you’re lucky enough to go to or be in a country that speaks your target language(s), stock up now on magazines, newspapers, books, posters, tickets, menus… These could become very valuable assets for making your lessons more engaging and realistic!