How have you found your school placements?
No two days at school are ever the same, but that’s why I love it.
School placements are possibly the most important part of your teacher training, as they allow you to experience school life from the perspective of a teacher as well as a student. My training course has given me two contrasting placements at two very different schools, and I have learnt so much from both.
My first school placement lasted three months between September and December, and it was a great experience. By the end of the term, I was teaching years 8, 9 and 10 and I also had the opportunity throughout the placement to observe lessons from a range of subjects and across all year groups. I learnt so much during this time by observing lessons, speaking to teachers and most importantly by teaching lessons myself.
My mentor was incredibly supportive and encouraged me to start teaching as soon as possible, which really helped me to become more confident in front of a class and allowed me to properly develop my teaching. I truly believe that learning on the job is the best way to approach teacher training, and my first placement was great for exactly this.
There have been lots of challenges – heavy workloads, exhausting weeks and juggling PGCE assignments to name but a few. However, colleagues at my placement school were all fantastic and willing to help whenever needed, and I found speaking to other trainees was always useful as well. Despite the challenges, this was an incredibly rewarding three months and has really confirmed for me that this is the career I want to pursue.
I have now just started my second placement, where I will be until the end of June. It was a bit of a shock to the system, starting in a new school with new students, new colleagues and new routines, but you soon adapt and get used to the new environment. The first few weeks in your placement school are prime observation time, before your timetable gets filled with teaching commitments, so I hope to observe as many teachers as I can over the next couple of weeks and emulate great teaching practice when I start teaching in this school.
Ultimately, I believe school placements are where the most important learning takes place during your PGCE year. I have really enjoyed my school placements so far and tried to get as much out of them as possible. Seeing teaching in practice, delivering lessons and being immersed in the school environment is the best preparation for becoming a teacher.
By Tegan Worden
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