Starting Ptlls

This is a post for people at the beginning of their Ptlls journey – next week will be a long article for people who have finished and are looking at where to go next. So, on to my little guide if you are getting started with your Ptlls course. There are all the Ptlls essays with notes but this is more an overview of how I would tackle things at the beginning of the course if I were doing over. If anyone has any pointers please leave a comment.


  • Straighten out your assignment deadlines right away. Make sure you know when everything has to be handed in. Someone on my course did all the essays in the first weekend because of confusion over the deadlines.
  • Start taking notes for your reflective learning journal early. This is practical assignment 6 but you need to be aware of it right from the beginning.
  • Always over estimate the amount of time you will spend reading and researching then proofing and referencing your essay. They are only tiny word counts but the preparation and then tidying up still takes time.
  • Know how to format and reference your essays properly. Might do an actual post on this because it is easy to trip up over.


  • Keep everything organised. If it’s anything like my course there will be dozens of handouts and bits of paper flying everywhere each session and unravelling them all and trying to put them back in order afterwards is a devil. Also tutors seem not to hole punch things, so have your own and remember how annoying that is for when you are distributing resources of your own!
  • Find your library, be it public or college etc, and see what books and resources they have there. Do this before you need it in a hurried panic later in the course.
  • If choosing books to buy base it on their usefulness not just during the course but as a handbook for your teaching practice afterwards. The library or even just the internet will suffice for everything else.


  • Don’t get hung up about the microteach but do keep it in mind and play with ideas, noting down inspiration as it happens.
  • Get used to speaking up in class or doing presentations, it might be traumatic now but will pay-off later with increased confidence for your microteach.


  • If you are in a group setting take advantage of all the different people you meet and their experiences, which can be just as instructive as the course itself.
  • Watch your tutor carefully and see how they deal with different issues – you’ve got 30 hours worth of demonstration unfolding right in front of you so ask them about their actions and approaches.

I’m sure others must have some benefit of hindsight tips they can leave for new starters, so please leave them in the comments if you do and I’ll move them in to the article.

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