Anxieties of a Student Teacher

What is the PGCE? I hear you ask,

teacher training or a monstrous task?

Matriculation, safeguarding, the ILP

Whiteboards, iboards, flipcharts;

OHPs, tutorials, and VLPs.

Hark! Could this be the end of me?


How can reports, assessments, quizzes,

reading, reasoning and essays,

computers, visual aids, with students hissing;

curriculum strategies, classroom management,

remove feelings of abandonment?

Is my confidence gone a-missing?


When will the light become sharper

To deal with attention-seeking students?

Can my lesson plans improve?

Would exams, concepts and hypothesis,

diagnostic, didactic and divergence,

my fear and anxiety remove?


Who showcases the wrath of antagonists;

thru’ dramatic literature of yore?

When tired students erupt in cheer,

And root the protagonists more.

When alarm bells ring as learning engines crash,

hypothesis molding into balderdash.


Where worksheets, diaries and reflections,

Modes of teaching I journalise.

Questions of cause and effect

Way too much to rationalise.

Compare, contrast; I motivate

Techniques, regimes; rules I assimilate.


Micro-teaching, essays, portfolios,

Professional Standards, OFSTED.

Equality, diversity, inclusivity;

Lifelong learning and the DfE.

Anonymity, outcomes, roles,

So much to retain in my head.


Why am I hard on myself?

Students’ key skills I assess.

Group work for vocabulary revision;

Seeking my tutor for persuasion.

Grammar and role play they detest,

No time indeed to resolve oneself.


Ideas, buzz words, jargon I despair,

Schemes of work to prepare.

Disappearing glasses, pens and books galore;

How in heaven do I stop the furore?

Literacy, numeracy, ICT, I embed;

laughably sucked into the talk trap instead.


Facilitator, instructor, Shakespeare I become

invisible fears I see a-lurking;

the throes of learning English come undone.

Understanding and appreciation I cultivate,

Enliven and awaken characters bold;

To inspire literacy for centuries old.


Hark! the PGCE I desire;

I impart knowledge; I inspire,

thru’ activities, theories, and pedagogy.

I create, I clarify, I evaluate,

Happy, joyful classrooms I create.

I am fearless, spontaneous, uncritical,

At last! Objectives I achieve effectively.


S. E. Fenney


  • Ben Devlin

    Very well written poem!

    • OxfordSkills

      Thank you so much for your kind comment @JemDiablo. Much appreciated.

      • Ben Devlin

        You are very welcome.

      • 1 more comment

      • BRIAN & ANGELA

        WELCOME SANDY ~ Thanks for sharing such an epic poem ~ such a poem cries out for analysis ! Ten verses ~ with mixed rhyme & rhythm but all elegant ! V1 Poses an unfathomable question ~ What is a PGCE? V2 Highlights the range of skills a Teacher needs to survive the system Starting salary should be at least £ 100k ! V3 Does one improve ? Yes but imperceptibly ~ and one can regress ! V4 There are downsides ~ but it is best not to dwell on them ! V5 Preparation and Presentation are important but one must have a Positive Personality as well ~ to be an effective Teacher ! V6 I hate CRITICS & ICONOCLASTS so to me OFSTED is a very vulgar word ! V7 Perhaps TEXTING and Modern Poetry have rendered Grammar and Spelling obsolete.I am told It all started with BEANZ MEANZ HEINZ and DRINKA PINTA MILKA DAY ! V8 Every lesson should have PLAN but a good Teacher always deviates from it. I remember a PHYSICS TEACHER (God rest his soul) showing slides of a RAINBOW when there was a real one outside the window blind ! V8 English Literature and UK Poetry are the Holy Grail and should be handled as such ~ BUT ~ sometimes it is like casting Pearls before Swine ! V10 Embodies all the skills an effective teacher requires to educate their flock ! Creativity and the ability to clarify and evaluate. Imparting knowledge in digestible chunks ~ Teaching ~ motivating ~ creating a good learning environment ~ O HAPPY DAY ! Beat wishes in the classroom ~ BRIAN

        • OxfordSkills

          @BrianSodes, what a brilliant interpretation of my little poem! My goodness! You think it is 'epic'? Wow! What a lovely, kind, thing to say. Thank you so much. The acronym PGCE stands for: Professional Graduate Certificate in Education.
          Needless to say, I was laughing out loud at some of your comments.. In fact, I could not control my mirth. For e.g. Ofsted sounds 'vulgar.' Lol! Ok, that acronym stands for: Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills. They are an Inspection and Regulating Body for Education here in the U.K. Not exactly 'iconoclasts,' but perhaps feared in some aspects - yet, by no means 'vulgar.' Then, why do I find myself chuckling? I also love your Beanz Meanz Heinz alliteration - and oh your science teacher and the rainbows! Ha ha ha! Thank you for sharing those wonderful memories. More importantly, I am happy that you could critique my poem with such humour and raw honesty; while at the same time complimenting on my work, and profession. I am so pleased. God bless you.

          • BRIAN & ANGELA

            Thanks SANDY ~ Pleased you appreciated my analysis of your POEM ! Thanks also for your positive critique of my SF Poem ~ Yours BRIAN

          • 1 more comment

          • OxfordSkills

            I am.. very pleased indeed BRIANSODES!
            Someday, I hope I can write poetry the way you do. That said, I can but learn from the best! :)
            Yours made such an interesting and informative read. Now that's what I call talent! Well done!

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