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booking cut short

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by tonymars, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    This happened to me today and I am seriously ****** off.

    This is the second time this has happened to me in a couple of weeks. I am furious but very willing to learn and not repeat any mistakes I may have made.

    The first time this happened, I mentioned it in the behaviour skills for supply teachers thread I started recently. Basically, in a school where I had been given no clue that any behaviour policy existed,at the end of one lesson when I had not been able to teach in what might be regarded as "the normal way" due to loud disruption, so had written the work on the board, a teacher came into the room early. After the class had dispersed he said he was very unhappy about the disruption and the way the class had spoken to me. I told him I had done what I could as I was not aware of any behaviour policy at all. He said he would speak to the HOD. Later that day a text from agency, my services no longer required.

    Latest school. Seemed good. Was given policy, mug shots, told to hand in class feedback forms to the HOD at the end of the day. I did this, stressing the positive but being honest about any off task behaviour. Work set, mainly OK.

    Classes mostly good, apart from some "reluctant learners in Year 11. Wrote on a form last week, some very good work from many, some boisterous. Turned up today, HOD is taking this class and I am stuck with her Year 9s.

    Had a Year 9 class last week with half a dozen very disruptive boys who clearly didn't give a monkeys. Had them today, left the door open, work unsuitable. Lots of noise whole class teaching impossible. Teacher looks in, later found out she was an ass head, spoke to class. Another teacher rocks by, later learned she was the head. After lesson, quite enough now for some to work, ass head rocks by again, sounds supportive, says use the policy - I say fine will do, but some schools don't want the extra work this means - agreed work set was unsuitable, said she would speak to HOD about this.

    End of day, text from agency - my services no longer required - was booked in until Thursday this week. I think this may have been down to the HOD, who was asked to provide more "suitable" cover work, and she didn't need the hassle.

    Now I am very, very angry about this. My confidence has also taken a sharp knock, not ideal especially as from next week until Christmas might be a peak time to make a reasonable amount of dosh.

    What did I do wrong? How could I have done things differently? Have others had similar experiences?

    The only thing I can think of is that I should under no circumstance have written or said ANYTHING that is less than 100% positive about any class, and in the case of the Year 9 lesson, perhaps I should have closed the door.

    But honestly, are we meant to be super human these days?

    I am seriously thinking of giving the whole f****** thing up. Even if one accept the seasonality of supply work, if at peak time, when perhaps one has turned down offers from other schools / agencies... , you can be dumped...

    All and any advice very welcome.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi tonymars

    I can't see where you have done anything wrong. You are up against the impossible- very challenging classes that schools can't get to behave for the permanent teachers.

    The behaviour in schools used to be manageable. It was possible to go and have a reasonable day. The last few years,howevet, it became more difficult as the behaviours became more challenging.

    The only thing you can do is to pick better schools to go to, but then that limits your work.

    Teachers/cover supervisors will always choose the best lessons/classes in terms of behaviour leaving the supply teachers with the worst ones.

    It isnt any easy role and I dont even know how I did it for ten years but there sre other posters on here that have done double that.
    agathamorse and BertieBassett2 like this.
  3. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter


    These things happen. Grit your teeth.

    I got my marching orders after I told 3rd person to visit a Y 9 class I had trouble with this particular group. Apparently saying this in Dakar shot of pupils made my position untenable...

    I think you’re really unlucky that this happened to you twice.

    As you say, peak supply is coming round. If you’re willing to accept long term I think you won’t have a long wait.

    Personally I’d like to stick to short term for a while.

    I have learnt not to go into detail on cover sheet reports - one school got the agency to hassle me over the weekend because I’d mentioned feeling unwell...
  4. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Thanks for the reply pepper.


    You say pick better schools to go to. Ok well maybe once, in London, core subject, that was possible, but it seems, at peak times i.e. now we can only pick up scraps.

    It is as well perhaps that I am at home now and not on the phone or in school because right now I need to de-fuse.

    There was always behaviour and teenage issues but now our ability to make SOME money depends on us somehow to do the impossible.
    pepper5 and BertieBassett2 like this.
  5. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Not to into detail on cover sheet reports. Yes I will probably do this from now on...

    Saying this in Dakar shot of pupils. Sorry don't understand.

    And them of course there is the question of what to say to other agencies I had already told I was booked up this week. All because of some a****** .
    pepper5 and BertieBassett2 like this.
  6. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Good old predictive/ correction of text! Or typo.

    I said it in earshot of the pupils.

    Sorry I didn’t notice what I’d written
  7. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Also, you could maybe ring the agencies to tell them you are now available...

    I think also look for alternative work.

    Civil service and HMRC schemes are still open and appoint older as well as young people. Not UPS pay, but a lot better than my daily rates...
    pepper5 and BertieBassett2 like this.
  8. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    And, d'y know what. Those regular, permanents in schools, possibly with no idea of what supplies, now, are expected to deal with, well meaning though they may be.

    Like the guy who said OK kids very rude to you and you have no idea of any behaviour policy. I'll speak to HOD.

    Or the lady who said ok work unsuitable for this class, I'll speak to HOD.

    Same result. I lose money. And yet another step towards my utter and total disillusion.

    Am I a mug? Am I stupid in even persisting in thinking that hey ok roll with negative stuff but this can still be at certain times of the year a reliable source of income amd hey maybe even like the old days not so long after I started when I felt a real buzz, I felt alive, in a good way.
    pepper5 and BertieBassett2 like this.
  9. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    One school I was in the Cover Manager was shocked that I thought behaviour was bad. One of the cover supervisors told me that he did know how bad behaviour was because agencies were telling him that they couldn’t get anyone to agree to go back in...

    Good Ofsted, good local reputation, prosperous catchment area....
  10. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    You could view some of the adults you come across as know it all children who will not be told...

    Be patient. So they think black is white...you can’t undo that misconception in a day. Listen politely...think kerching...think of not having to go back...
  11. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    I understand some heads may be in so in control mode they are conditioned to act "decisively" - i.e. get rid off - any supply who does not have 100% control of any class or has not managed to achieve the total respect and "positive relationships" with every single member of a class all within two or three hours contact time.

    I understand that HODs are probably intelligent and compasionate people who are nevertheless scared oh yeah scared of any heat from above as they have their mortgages to pay and...

    I understand all this. But I am still very, very angry.

    And I still think something has gone very wrong and life for supplies is no longer any sort of life.
    agathamorse and BertieBassett2 like this.
  12. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I was booted out of a school by an agency after two horrendous days.

    I had no intention of going back so I wasn't too displeased with the outcome.
    Mermaid7 and pepper5 like this.
  13. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Ok but this was I maintain a good school but not apparently for supporting supplies at least in the department I was in. Am still livid.
    pepper5 likes this.
  14. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    That unfortunately - is one of the hazards of supply teaching.

    You are completely expendable.
  15. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I don't see much else you could have done. If they're disruptive all you can do is stick to the school's published behaviour management policy. All school's are required to publish the BM policy on their website. I realise there often isn't much time to search for it when getting a job though, so a decent school should provide you with it. Also a decent school would realise they can't complain if someone follows their policy.
  16. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Wise post peakster.

    Maybe this is what I need to accept. We really are at the bottom of the dung heap, aren't we?

    It might be that the HOD, for supplies, is the key figure. So, how to play it? How to suss out what they really want? Ask them directly? But this - eyeball to eyeball -might freak some out. How to play it? Do minimum and no more? Expect nothing, accept that any sense of solidarity :D between supplies and permanents is very, very naïve.
    pepper5 likes this.
  17. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I supplied for just over a year - except for my last long term post which I really enjoyed in all the other posts I had I treated every day as if it were my last. I just made myself useful - did my job and didn't complain. I think this is a good point to review my two rules of supply teaching.

    1. Shut up

    2. See Rule 1
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  18. pwtin

    pwtin Senior commenter

    This has happened to me a few times over the years and it has been nearly 20 of those
    It all depends on the school...sometimes I have been deemed too strict, others they are looking for someone to blame for the children's behaviour rather than looking at the management of the school.
    It has always been at schools where I was just sticking it out for the money, you know how it is.
    Do not take it personally, just say next, move on and do not look back.

    And yes I agree with Peakster, although that can be really difficult advice to follow, just think of the money at the end of the day.
    agathamorse, pepper5 and tonymars like this.
  19. shirt7

    shirt7 New commenter

    I get so sick of reading ‘follow the school’s behaviour policy’. 9 times out of 10 it simply doesn’t work! If you can’t outwit a 15 year old kid (or younger!) perhaps you shouldn’t be doing the job. Do whatever it takes (verbally!) to get the job done and when the cover supervisor asks “How was your day ?” ALWAYS say “Wonderful”. This WILL get you repeat bookings.
    Do you seriously think the cover supervisor really wants to hear the truth?
    agathamorse, pepper5 and tonymars like this.
  20. shirt7

    shirt7 New commenter

    pepper5 likes this.

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