PGCE SURVIVAL - the final stretch
Regardless of your teaching ability, stamina, and a strong with relationship with coffee, a PGCE can be one of the most testing years of your entire life. If the end is near and you're feeling a little overwhelmed just keep going... Keep turning up, keep thinking about learning, and keep pushing relentlessly toward it.
You might not be a list person, but you should be right now. Having memos, to-do lists and task sheets make achieving your goals far more realistic. There will be elements of your course that need to be tackled with urgency, so face these head on and try not to avoid. Getting the most stressful (or demanding) parts done before anything else means that you'll feel more comfortable overall, handling everything at once is not achievable - you do not have super powers!
Something good in every day
We all have those days, in fact weeks. Everything comes at once and life tests you, as well as pupils of all ages. It's very easy to end your day on an uber critical note, getting angry about what went wrong and forgetting those moments of joy when a student or teacher thanked you for your hard work. Take note of all the little things that make you love your role, many of them are probably why you chose it in the first place.
Have you ever used TES? The Guardian Teacher Network? Edutopia? Pinterest? Chat with others that have faced the same situation or are battling with it alongside you. Create a Facebook support page and encourage those on your course to join. Sharing your problems and offering encouragement is exactly what you need right now, and if you can learn something valuable along the way well that is just a bonus!
Always, always, always SMILE
Ever heard of the swan effect? You know the 'glide gracefully above whilst feeling like you are paddling madly underneath'? Try and implement this into classroom life. From lesson one, smiling creates a positive and friendly atmosphere and we all know that is when the learning happens. Just don't forget those boundaries!
Allow yourself to relax
Yes you have a shed load of coursework to complete and you're dreading next week's inspection but still take time to have a cup of tea, a whole packet of biscuits and catch up on your social life. Obviously this crazy period means less of the good stuff and more of the difficult, but cutting ties with everything you enjoy will not help your stress levels. Take regular breaks and treat yourself, you really do deserve it.
Plan one hell of a blow out
Having something great at the end of it all will keep you going (when the going gets tough). Book a holiday, an outing with friends or even make a note on the calendar for a day revolving completely around you.
Don't try to be perfect
One of the hardest things about teaching is accepting that you'll never do it all, the job is never finished, even if you worked around the clock 7, days a week, 365 days a year. There are always new surprises, unpredictable children and unexpected obstacles that may result in more or less of what you were planning to get done. Work to the best of your ability and accept that you have given it your all, try not to dwell on anything that doesn't go 100% the way you originally planned and give yourself credit.
Don't compare yourself to others
Natalie may be volunteering for her school's netball team and Tom may be part of the committee for the end of year disco, but this doesn't mean their overall grade will be better than yours. Do what you need to do to get the PGCE without worrying about others - You have your own strengths!
And finally... Remember why you started!
We know this is obvious, but when you've got several pieces of work to hand in, observations to prepare for, and the thought of applying for your first full time jobs looming over you, it's quite easy to question why you even embarked on this crazy path in the first place. Soon you will be able to teach a class of your own and this will all seem worth it, don't give up - keep going!
What has helped you whilst studying for your PGCE? Share your tips with us on twitter @staffroomed.