• I have just finished the PGCE at the University of East London (I will do a separate post on my thoughts on the University if anyone is interested).  If you are planning to do Teacher Training expect it to be hard work, then some more hard work, but by the far the most rewarding thing I have done. Before I started the course, I was keen to read some tips on surviving the course, so here are mine...

    I know there are a few different routes into teaching, my brother has just finished the schools based route. My course started with around 6 weeks of full time University. This involved lectures and tutorials. Looking back there appeared a lot of unnecessary pressure at this time. Try not to feel like that. Just get the work done and have fun! Then it's placement time! I had never worked with children before, so this was such a shock to the system. Our timetable was 8 weeks on placement followed by a few weeks back at uni, etc for the 3 block school placements.

    So here goes: 

    Get organised - An academic planner will save you so much hassle. Ge one with enough room per day to write  down university deadlines, but also to be organised and professional on placement  - so what lessons you have, staff meetings, Sports Day, events, etc.

    Put aside a bit of cash for a rainy day. There will be printing/photocopying expenses, interview clothes, travel expenses/car repair bills, nights out, Secret Santa, Money drains so fast and I'm not used to not earning!

    Get all of those chores out of the way like dental appointment, opticians, etc. It is going to be hard to find time to fit them in later on. Schools will not take kindly to you needing time off!

    Fill the medicine cabinet ready for when you catch something nasty. If you haven't been working with children before, I highly recommend tissues, cold relief remedies, berroca or vitamin c tablets - you will get a cold and lots of them before you build up your immune system!

    Sort out your social media. Facebook can be a teachers worst nightmare. Think about the photos you store online. Are they appropriate?  As a teacher, how you behave in your private life may conflict with your professional life. Remember you are a role model and need to be seen as such.

    Buy all your stationery. Invest in a laptop if you don't have one. You will need LOTS of folders! I recommend getting at least 3/4 lever arches to start with, refill paper, stapler, hole punch, a stock of cheap pens, pencils, rulers and erasers. I would also consider buying a printer, laminator and paper cutter. A USB stick is a must. 

    Create a treasure chest of useful materials and think where you are going to store it. It is amazing how differently you will view inanimate objects. Jelly beans for eating? No, they can be used to teach proportion!

    Invest in a slow cooker/batch cook and freeze meals. This will be your saviour when you get home and don't have to start from scratch. It also saves you reaching for unhealthy ready meals and pizza. 

    Organise a low-maintenance wardrobe of cheap, washable trousers/skirts & tops. Most schools have a smart dress code. 

    Most importantly set aside a weekend day or evening that is a family/friends/relaxation day and work on the other one. You will quickly burn out otherwise.

    Here are some tips for your first day:‐

    1. Register and get your university/NUS card.
    2. Find out where your first lecture is.
    3. Join a union(s) and pick up lots of free goodies!
    4. Try to remember names! You’ll meet lots of people ‐ but try to remember some of their names and take down contact numbers/emails. 
    5. Make sure you have completed all your paperwork. Especially make sure you have completed your bursary form so you can receive your first month of your training bursary on time!


    Are you off to university or teacher training this year? 

    Best of luck!

    Thanks for reading, 
    Lots of love, Helen xoxo