How I’m Preparing for my PGCE: Mentally and Physically
I think I managed to feel completely on top of my Degree about a week before I graduated, so preparing for a brand-new challenge is definitely scary. No matter what you’re doing at University there always seems to be more to do than there are hours in the day and as an Undergraduate this is daunting. Now I’m about to start a professional post-grad qualification the task of being completely prepared is even scarier.
Is there even a thing as completely prepared? Whenever I speak to teachers I always like to ask how they prepared for their PGCE, but with each invaluable bit of guidance my ‘before September to-do list’ gets even longer. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love a good book recommendation, an expert piece of advice on who to follow and some brilliant tips on what I should be buying, but what I love the most is those crucial tips on how to stay sane when preparing for all this.
I know full well that being a Teacher is a stressful job. My mum, who was an amazing teacher for many years, once said ‘you will always have a to-do list that you never manage to completely clear’. For someone who is an obsessive perfectionist and likes everything done quickly and precisely, this is beyond scary.
I like to pride myself on time-management, whenever I have applied for a job, or written a personal statement I always list it as one of my main skills. This being said, now I have academic books up to my eyeballs, fiction books spilling off every shelf in my room and about fifty colour coordinated to-do lists, I am really pushing that skill to its max!
I promise I am not going to rant on about how stressful preparing for a PGCE is because I am very aware those in their NQT year or those who have been teaching for years have it a lot worse; teaching is not easy, hence why you have to love it so much! I am however going to lay out how I am personally preparing for my PGCE and what I am realistically managing to get done.
The main thing I am doing currently is trying to network with as many teachers as possible, be this through Instagram, Facebook, family connections or anywhere in between. I find if you want the real low down on what to expect, teachers who’ve been there and done it are great to chat with.
Obviously I am doing the key reading set out by the Uni, and familairisng myself with texts studied at KS3/4. What I have struggled most with here is the fact I love to read. So for me setting aside a few hours a day didn’t feel like I was preparing for a PGCE, it felt like I was procrastinating. Ultimately though I am training to be an English teacher, so I guess I am just lucky that a solid part of my job is doing something I love!
This might just be me being the organisation obsessed person I am, but I have made a revision timetable, it’s colour coordinated and everything! My degree was in Media and Communications so the basics of English (you know, nouns, verbs etc) I haven’t properly studied in a while. I’ve set out time each day to revise some part of the national curriculum and with every section I revise I make a little revision sheet or booklet which I then upload to the resources tab on my blog (shocking self-promotion I know, but check them out!).
The last thing I have been doing is building up my teaching Instagram @miss_wilcock_. I find that this is really helpful to have a digital portfolio of everything I’m doing but also the number of incredible teachers, resources and businesses you find on there is amazing! I think I currently have about 200 saved posts!
Apart from that I am really trying to not overload myself with 12-hour days and constant laptop time. I am making sure I take time for myself be this writing my blog, going on a walk or just binging Netflix (currently Season 5 RuPaul All Stars).
It really is far too easy to compare yourself to what everyone else is doing, what everyone else has done and what you perceive you ‘should’ be doing, but your PGCE year is the year to train, they don’t expect you to walk in on day one a ready-made fantastic teacher.
Until September I am just taking every day at a time, reading as much as I can, networking with the most incredible teachers and most importantly ensuring I take time to chill and keep my mental health in check! I’ll be no use to anyone if I’m frazzled out before my PGCE even starts!
As always, thanks again for reading and I hope if you’re in the same boat as me this blog makes you feel slightly better about taking a mental health day and binge-watching TV! If you’ve got through your PGCE and are currently an NQT you can do it! And if you’ve been in the profession years, you truly are inspiring!
Bye for now!