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Teacher Training in general
Teacher Training in general
Date: 27/04/02, updated on 10/02/04 (209 review reads)
Advantages: being let loose for the first time!, Teaching something you love, Sharing your woes with colleagues
Disadvantages: Essays Vs lesson plans
THOSE THAT CAN'T ...TEACH
Like many people I was fed up with my career or lack of it. I used to be a Credit Controller. I hated Maths and I hated ringing people every day - so this was the ideal job for me really! After 8 years of saying: "Good morning, my name's Glenn. Is your payment on the way?" I decided to throw the towel in. To cut a long story short I went back to college. I had an excellent Film Studies teacher called Ros. This lady was amazing. She managed to make every lesson funny. She also did not fit into the stereotypical teacher role. She hated the paperwork and parent's evenings but loved teaching itself. She also inspired me to do something with my life and said that I had what it took to go to university. So I went! 25 and off to uni! I wouldn't have gone without the faith and energy that this teacher gave me. I decided that I wanted to teach there and then. So, it's true that alot of people land into teaching rather than have it as a career aim from the age of 8.
WHERE DO YOU START?
Well I will attempt to answer this. I am an FE Media Studies Lecturer so the courses for school teachers differ. But I will lead you through the maze that is FE Teacher Training.
This is where I began my search. It's the Greenwich University we
bsite. I found it by putting "Teacher Training Courses (FE)" into Google. I heard that Greenwich facilities were excellent. So armed with my degree certificate and some tales of why I wanted to teach I headed off to my interview.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
Well, I was required to have a degree in my subject area or as near as dammit. For example if you want to be a Media Teacher - Media, Journalism or English are acceptable degrees. You also need bags of enthusiasm. Although there is a teaching shortage I wouldn't advise you to take a place on a course because you have reached a crossroads in your life. Do you want to teach? Reminds me of Bridget Jones going for the job of the children's TV presenter. "Do you like children?" "Oh No...yuck!"
WHAT DOES A PGCE INVOLVE?
Well, this is the two worlds bit as you are literally dipping your toe into two territories. You are required to complete essays and attend lectures. So you go back in time and become a student. Where this becomes blurred and quite surreal is when the work placement and the essays meet. So for example- I did my teaching practice at Southgate College in London and I nagged students for not doing their homework and then went home and did mine after the lesson! Talk about two worlds colliding! I found the lectures a relief to be honest. When you are training the adrenalin flows but it's nice to take time out and go back to the comfort of the class and take a look around at your peers. At the end of week 2 you all look the same: Trod on! he he! So, again if you can cope with being a student and a teacher then teacher training is for you. I would spend many a day laughing like a hyena at nothing in a lecture because I was getting the chance to play at being a student- knowing full well that on Wed I was Mr "Media" Meads again! My days would go from this:
39;S YOUR ESSAY?
STUDENT: DOG ATE IT
TUTOR: WHERE'S YOUR ESSAY?
GLENN: UM.... WELL THE THING IS.....!
WHAT CAN YOU TEACH?
Again with my field being FE - the subjects vary. Here's just a taster:
TRAVEL AND TOURISM
HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE
BASIC SKILLS/KEY SKILLS
As I said this is just a taster. When you go to your interview- your qualifications are looked at and the subject area is matched to your highest qualification.
HOW LONG DOES THE COURSE TAKE?
Well, it feels really fast. You start in Sept and then finish in May/June. By the following Sept you could end up teaching for real as I was! The course is split up into blocks. For example during the first term I was at University learning the ropes. Than in January I was let loose into the classroom. I taught my classes until May.
When I did my training there was no funding. I took out a career development loan. But now Trainees are offered £6,000 to train. Ok, it's not a king's ransom but I borrowed £6,000 and would have rather have had it handed to me for nowt. You can also get student loans to top up this sum. Or you an work part time.
DANGEROUS MINDS/PLEASE SIR!
No amount of prep can help you imagine what it is like to enter the classroom for the first time clutching the register. The students believe in you at first sight as you ARE THEIR teacher. It is then up to you to convince them that you are a REAL TEACHER and not some participant in the show FAKIN' IT! You soon realise that Dangerous Minds it ain't! You get things wrong in the early days - of course you do. But you ar
e provided with a mentor who shadows you and runs you through the basics. I got through the student/teacher "Am I doing it right?" bit by asking the students themselves. I was never afraid to say - "Did that go over your head?" Or "Did you enjoy that?" Or even- "Was that a waste of time?" At first the response was fairly muted as people start to suss you out. But after a while when they realise that you are stopping- the relationship becomes totally unique. I hated my class in lesson 1. By lesson 15 I was sad to leave them. When they gave me a round of applause I was gutted. I nearly cried all over my courdroy jacket with patches on it!
WHAT ABOUT THE BAD THINGS?
Screaming headlines- STRESS, ABUSE, LACK OF PAY. Yes, alot of that is all true. BUT this is the first job that I have had where I never get Monday morning feelings! That speaks volumes to me. I want to go to work. It's true. So yeah- you will not be on a huge salary. Yes, there days when three students telling you to "F OFF" in a row is likely to send you reaching for the Kalm tablets and a bottle of White Lightning. And yes, the marking does seem never ending. But I knew when I got applied for a place that I would have to mark work. There isn't a C3P0 type robot going to do it for me. And yeah the paperwork does send you a tad crazy too. I tend to fill in what I can. Put it this way half the time - no-one asks for the form that they have asked to complete in the first place. But for me, these things are outweighed by the good things. So now onto the the good things....
V. GOOD 10/10
TURNING AROUND A STUDENT- There's no greater joy for me. I managed to do that last year. A student who was written off at school came my class. He was a moody sullen lad. He reminded me of myself at school! He left us last Summer with an A in Media and is now at Uni. That beats a
pay rise for me!
DOING SOMETHING YOU LOVE- I love teaching. So it speaks for itself really. It's like being on stage. You are essentially playing a part. I also love the subject. I take students to the cinema and get their analytical minds working- hopefully. Nothing beats looking round a cinema like Amelie watching students take in a new film knowing that they are analysing it for coursework rather than watching it with friends.
THE STUDENTS- There are good and bad but it's nice when a student rings you after they have left or pops in to visit. It's also nice when you take students out on a visit. They rely on you even at 16-19.
COUNSELLING- You end up doing a fair bit. I have dealt with everything from "My friend has been shot" to "I'm gay." Yes, there are times when you feel like putting a brick wall where your door is but being a listening ear for people is no bad thing. Knowing when to switch off from the tales of woe can sometimes be a problem though.
So if you are thinking of getting into teaching. It's a great profession. It's not without it's problems I know. I feel that I have landed on my feet though. Embarking on a teacher training course has been a great learning experience for me. I have learned more about myself than during my degree. Teaching my first class was like being able to swim without a float for the first time. Scary but thrilling because I was doing it on my own. Doing a PGCE has meant that I am now leading a charmed life. Two years down the line and I have learned to control and deal with the stressful things and revel in the postive aspects of the job. I write reviews for www.whatsonstage.com in my spare time and teach during the day. This is another thing which keeps the enthusiasm going- give yourself another role- not just the teacher. Doing two things that I enjoy means that I cannot see myself wanting to do anything else. I'm sure you will feel t
he same if you really want to teach as much as I did.
Thanks for reading. I hope this was useful for any body thinking "Shall I or shan't I?"
Have a good day
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