On Monday I start my pre-course placement. I’m really looking forward to it, as it in the primary school where I’ve been volunteering for the last year. However, I think it will be quite a different experience from the volunteering. I have directed tasks (the funniest of which is ‘talk to and listen to children’) and a 500 word reflective assignment to write. I have full-time childcare organised outside of school hours, so I can finally see what happens between 2.45 pm and 5.00 pm instead of leaving to collect my own kids from their school. I will be there everyday and not just once in the week. This is the time for me to ask why the routines and teaching I’ve observed in the past are set up as they are and think how they have changed from last year. Most importantly, I’ll be asking myself ‘how would I do this?’.
It seems almost impossible to believe that I will have my own class this time next year. The responsibility weighs heavily already and I know I will need to get into good working habits now. Everyone I’ve spoken to has warned me that PGCE is an uphill struggle, more work than I can imagine and a roller coaster of emotions. I am prepared as I can be and I hope my experience as a parent and years since graduation will stand me in good stead for the hard work ahead. I know that I will need to set myself some boundaries for working, as this is a job that can fill every waking hour and I like to get things right. I’ve always found my work gets done whatever time I give to it, but my social life and general well-being suffer if I let the work steal every minute of my free time. I’m going to start taking a yoga class again and will try hard to book in DVD nights with my husband and drinks with my friends. I want to try to cook more at the weekends, to make weekday meals a bit easier and so the kids can help and we can do something productive together and if I don’t manage to get out in the garden, the weeds will finally start growing in through the kitchen door. So I’ve plenty to help me keep things in proportion and I know full well that the course will consume me at times, but I can start with good intentions can’t I?