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Agencies taking the mick?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by damedurohan, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. damedurohan

    damedurohan New commenter

    I quit full-term teaching this summer after a disastrous NQT year (constant verbal and mental abuse from students and HOD alike) for greener pastures. I am now teaching evening lessons in a language four times a week center and am about to start French after-school clubs three times a week, which makes for a nice, much needed change. Sadly, as great as it is for my mental health, it covers only the rent and then some, and isn't sustainable in the long term for now. (Hoping to get more hours at the language center as we go).

    So I contacted a few teaching agencies in August/September. I told them I would like to make the switch from secondary to primary, with French lessons and PPA cover and the likes. I was told by most agencies they mostly focus on finding long term placements (okay, but I still need work in the meanwhile) or was met with condescending comments about how rare languages position in primary are (I know, which is why I'm using agencies in the first place).

    One agency told me they had an opportunity to teach languages in primary, then never contacted me again. Another shortlisted me for a position, and left it at that. A third one sent me a job opportunity, then rudely brushed me off as not having enough experience when I showed interest. Two more had phone calls with me about joining, then told me a colleague would be in contact; I am still waiting.

    Not one call about day2day supply from any of them.

    Am I missing something? One of my friends (unqualified teacher from same area as me) told me he's getting phone calls for daily supply almost every morning. How is it that I'm not getting anything, despite now being registered with some of the biggest agencies in London? Should I contact them to remind them I exist or is it considered rude?
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi and a big welcome to the forum.

    Sorry to hear that you have had a rocky NQT year.

    September is always going to be somewhat slow regarding supply and you have the extra layer of being new and also new to primary - you are an unknown to agencies.

    You may have much greater success if you are willing to cover primary in general - not just French. With your other income, just one or two days day to day might be all you need.

    It is definitely not rude to recontact the agencies. Contact them weekly just to say hello and catch up.

    You have to be able to convince the agencies they can send you with confidence to a primary school and you will be able to cover it. Perhaps say you will be willing to do general cover in primaries from years 4,5, and 6.

    Don't give up. It may take you some added time, but sooner or later you will convince someone to give you a chance.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  3. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    It is not you, @damedurohan. Although there might be more supply work going in London, there are many more teachers chasing the work. You can hardly through a brick in London without hitting a would-be supply teacher. New recruits to agencies often find themselves in the Catch-22 situation of not being used because they do not have a track record of successful work with the agency, which they cannot get unless they are given work! Despite what you might hear about 'teacher shortages', agencies are inundated with applicants, so if you are not found work very, very soon after registration, you are forgotten among the welter of others. As @pepper5 said, keep reminding your agencies of your existence and availability, preferably by phone, as emails can just be ignored.
  4. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Something else of which to beware is agencies trying to exploit you need for their own profit and advantage. Inevitably, at least one agency will suggest to you that, "Primary schools are unlikely to welcome secondary-trained teachers but if you did some voluntary work in a few schools, they might be prepared to give you a go. You know, get you face known; build up a good reputation." Although this might be so, once you descend into the pit of working for nothing, or for very little, it is difficult to claw your way out again.
  5. damedurohan

    damedurohan New commenter

    Thank you both for your replies!

    Though I would like to make the switch to primary, I'd told all agencies that I agreed to do supply in secondary in the meanwhile, hence my confusion as to how nothing has come up out of it quite yet. I know from ready the forumboards that the situation is dire lately, but I didn't expect it to be quite that bad I guess.

    I will ring the agencies this afternoon and see what comes out of it.
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Austerity means huge cuts to school's budgets, with even more, bigger cuts to come. Less money available means less work for an ever increasing number of Supply/Temp teachers.
    It's a vicious circle, that will likely only get worse.
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. FrauRussell

    FrauRussell New commenter

    Have you considered offering a special French afternoon or similar to local primaries. Do a flyer, take it round one day with an introductory letter when you are not working maybe get the name of any mfl coordinator? Maybe do a theme that fits in with what they are doing, like food, or transport of whatever. Just for a couple of hours, charge them an affordable rate, limit it to say 20 children, whatever you feel you could handle. You could do the same at different schools and you might get asked back to do other stuff. I used to work with a science teacher who has done something similar and whilst she's not doing it all the time, it does bring on some money and she really seems to enjoy it.
    pepper5 likes this.

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