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Q A

I am a PGCE student on my first placement. I don't seem to have a problem with the kids but I do with my mentor. He rejects all my ideas. My lesson plans and resources are not good enough. I end up in tears every day and dread the next day. How do I get through it?

Anna, south London

A Mentors are supposed to give support, guidance and praise, as well as constructive advice. I'd tell him how I was feeling, but I'd also take on board what I was being told. Remember, it's your first placement; the second one is a whole lot easier and more fun. The PGCE year flies by and before you know it, you'll have your own class.

James, Eastbourne

A I think your mentor is being unfair. I had one just the same on my first placement. She criticised everything and I couldn't do anything right. She then gave me a glowing report at the end. If he is making you feel that bad, he isn't a very good mentor. However, I think you will probably have to grin and bear it. Do you have a senior management team mentor who you can talk to about this? On my first placement, mine saved my life.

Brenda, Lincoln

A I hated the mentor at my first school. She told me I was not a natural teacher and reduced me to tears on a regular basis. I wanted to give up, but decided I'd give my second placement two weeks before making a final decision. I loved it. They offered me a job and five years on, I have been promoted.

Elaine, Birmingham

A It does get better, but only when you start taking control. Speak to somebody at your university straight away. Don't forget you are there to learn, which means you are also allowed to make mistakes. Bite the bullet and tell your school-based mentor how you feel.

Dick, Coventry

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