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“I’m remaining optimistic…”

After offering to blog a few thoughts about life as a trainee teacher I began to consider what topic I could delve into for my first post. Actually, that’s a lie. I finished off a job application first. Then I continued with my medium term plans (which, having had no experience whatsoever of previously, and with no actual input from university, was great fun). Oh, and then I had to get all of my paperwork together for my final placement.

The ‘University’ folder in My Documents – something that should have a health and safety warning attached!

Then I opened up Microsoft Word (the most commonly opened thing on my computer, alongside the ‘University’ folder in My Documents – something that should have a health and safety warning attached) and began to actually start writing this blog post.

It’s clear that the workload of a trainee teacher is not a light one. Having completed an undergraduate degree in English in 2009 I already had experience of the university life. That was very tough for me. In the contemporary novel module, for instance, I had to read a whole 300 page book – a week! A WEEK! Some modules even demanded 4000 word essays, with just 12 weeks to complete them!

Planning, resource making and laminating – my word, the laminating!
Then I started my P.G.C.E. Training to teach 3-7 year olds specifically, I was quickly thrust into the world of the EYFS, National Curriculum, planning, resource making (and laminating – my word, the laminating!) and actual full days of lectures. None of this 10:00-12:00, then back to bed malarkey: Lectures and seminars, all day, every week, with an hour or two for dinner. With so much to learn, and so little time to learn it in, the postgraduate study is a real cramathon. Not that I’m assuming the undergraduate approach to teaching is easy; I’m sure it’s just as intense. (Though I bet your homework doesn’t involve watching every adaptation of Dracula that you can find.)

It’s manageable though. Especially when you’re in a supportive group.
It’s manageable though. Especially when you’re in a supportive group, which I’m luckily able to say I am. After the initial couple of days quietness, friendships began to form, thanked largely by a very jolly music teacher forcing 25 adults to sing ‘In a Cottage by a Wood’ out-loud. As the year has progressed at an alarming rate, Masters-level essays have come and gone; placements have been rushed through; the odd night out has been enjoyed.

After our final day in University, the realisation dawned for most of us: we are nearly teachers now. I’ve applied for a few jobs, with fingers crossed right now for a successful interview later this week. We’ve all heard – and seen – just how hard it is right now to find a job. I’m sure that those of you looking for jobs yourselves – either as NQTs or not – are aware just how many people are going for such few jobs.

I’m remaining optimistic. If I don’t hear back from a school, then clearly that school wasn’t the one.
I’m remaining optimistic. If I don’t hear back from a school, then clearly that school wasn’t the one. Somewhere a school will be waiting just for me – and you. Not together, probably. Keep telling yourself that, and just try to ignore the forum posts you read by the exasperated teacher who has applied for 87 jobs this month without hearing anything back.

If you’re a prospective trainee teacher, or coming to the end of your own training, stick with me. You might enjoy it.
I intend to share my thoughts about life as a trainee teacher during the next few weeks, coinciding with my final placement. I shall be as honest and frank as I can, and wherever possible I shall provide a few links to resources or blogs that have helped me during this year. If you’re a prospective trainee teacher, or coming to the end of your own training, stick with me. You might enjoy it. And please feel free to comment and share your own thoughts about this year. If you’re already qualified then…well, you can read and smile to yourself, safe in the knowledge that you’ve already done all this.

I would write more, but I’ve another job application to complete. And a costume to prepare for fancy dress tomorrow. And a few more lessons to plan…


Author: Michael McHugh

I am a P.G.C.E student and I'm just about to embark on my final placement. I will be blogging about the trials and tribulations of being a trainee teacher as well as sharing useful links and resources that I have found along the way.

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