1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Cover Supervisor, More problems, Close to quitting now..

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by suertesamp, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. suertesamp

    suertesamp New commenter

    Feel free to look at my previous posts for an intro to what's going on.
    I started a cover supervisor job at a secondary in November. I am handling some classes better than I was before, but now some classes have started misbehaving even more for me. Some classes ignore me as the adult in the room and classes descend into chaos, especially at the start when I am trying to get them to settle down and be silent for the register etc.
    For example today I was covering an English lesson and students were supposed to be reading aloud, one student at a time. Groups of students were talking over them, ignoring the person reading. When I was trying to get the class to be silent I was still being ignored. I did not sanction this because I did not know the names of the students and there were too many of them. I emailed the SLT.. TWICE. They did not come. No support given when I most needed it. This class will be even worse for me next.

    Things like this are happening a lot lately. I feel my presence has gone. I am thinking of speaking to my line manager and tell him that I am struggling, but will they see this as weakness? I have tried everything, behavior management books, changing my approach, giving out more sanctions. Not working with some classes I'm afraid. I feel miserable.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Sorry you are having a rough time. I haven't read your other posts. Is this your first job as a cover supervisor? If so, you haven't been doing it very long - only a few months. I have worked a s a supply teacher and this my eighth year of doing it and it took a long time for me to get to the point where I could manage the behaviour well most of the time. Even now, however, I still get classes where it is challenging to keep them on task.

    What system for managing behaviour does your school use? The very best schools and the ones well managed usually use some sort of system of three warnings then on call will come and remove them. Don't give up just yet. Try this.

    Use three simple rules

    Follow instructions fast
    Stay on task
    Work without disturbing others

    Use scripts to get students back to learning:

    Sally, you are off task. I need you to answer question 1 and 2. Let us get back to learning. Walk away and let Sally think about it. If Sally continues to throw bits of rubber across the room, give a second warning.

    Sally, you are off task. This is a second warning. You can make intelligent choices. Thank you.

    If Sally does not make a good choice, then call on call and Sally can choose to work elsewhere.

    Don't put names of students misbehaving on the board.

    Have a clipboard with a sheet of paper and immediately once the lesson starts, start writing names of the students doing what you have asked. "Well done for getting started. Write down name. Well done James for writing that interesting sentence. Write down name. You will soon see that the rest want their name on the positive behaviour list.

    Send out some post cards home giving praise.

    However, if you don't work in a school where you are supported, you will never crack it because good behaviour management systems start with the SLT and having appropriate behaviour management systems in place.
    sparkleghirl and JohnJCazorla like this.
  3. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    @pepper5 is spot on.
    What choices are left to you? Also, weak or not, you're dirt cheap and the school would rather improve and keep you than go to the effort of finding and appointing a replacement.

    So go see your line manager and explain the problems as above. This should lead to you getting support.

    No, not support :eek::( (as is usually defined here) but support:), you know the dictionary definition.

    noun: support; plural noun: supports
    .material assistance.
    "the bank provided unstinting financial support"
    synonyms: maintenance, keep, sustenance, subsistence;
    1. approval, encouragement, or comfort.
      "the paper printed many letters in support of the government"
      synonyms: moral support, friendship, strengthening, strength, encouragement, buoying up, heartening, fortification, consolation, solace, succour, relief, easement;

    2. a source of comfort or encouragement.
      "he was a great support when her father died"
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I was at a school today on supply where I felt supported in the sense that the HOD was confident or seemed confident and he told me if I had any problems whatsoever, I could send the misbehaving ones to him immediately. When I asked how many, he said as many as I needed. Therefore, I felt secure and supported which then made me more confident which then led to a brilliant day.

    I was in another school this week where the HOD dropped in twice and helped me sort some problems out. Result? Another good day for me. A good day for the students.

    Support can be both in the sense of emotional support or practical assistance of having two adults in the room.

    It is impossible to deal with challenging behaviour alone without backup from confident HOD and Head Teachers.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  5. suertesamp

    suertesamp New commenter

    Thank you for helpful comments.
    I have had some time to calm down since the end of this week. Friday was quite bad also. I will take the advice on board and follow through with it. Maybe I am going to struggle for some time. All I can do is try my best however I fear that I may be dismissed and replaced by somebody who can do the job better. Will have to see what next week brings!
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Nothing to add to the excellent advice already given, but didn't want to read and run, suertesamp. So sorry you are having such a rough time and feeling low, hope it makes you feel a bit better to know that you're definitely not alone. I'm having some similar days myself at the moment, and I've been doing my job (HLTA) for a long time. The class I cover is the class I work with every day, so I know them and they know me well - and I have good support from SLT. But I've had some very tricky days recently, when I've questioned if I can 'still do it'. It happens to all of us!
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi sue

    Yes, it definitely happens to everyone. There was a poster on another thread who used to be a policeman and worked in a rapid response unit; he said, working in a school was harder than that, so you see what you are up against. Schools aren't what the TV ads depict: where laughing children are surrounded by a smiling teacher having loads of fun. LOL.

    You are correct: you can only do your best. Try and get some rest this weekend so your body and mind is rested for next week.

    Act confidently and the feelings will translate into actions.

    So, stand at the front looking firm and confident. State your three rules and your expectations, start writing down the names of people following the instructions, get everyone settled and on task which might take a few minutes. When you get the majority on task, then you can walk around the room assisting the others.

    Just remind them that you are there to work, they are there to work, and basically it is work, work, work.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  8. koopatroopa

    koopatroopa Senior commenter

    Managing behaviour in a cover class is always harder than when you are teaching your own classes. When you are new to the school, don't have the perceived status of "teacher" and are left tasks which need good behaviour from everyone to work, you have many barriers to success.
    This is the root of your problem. Eventually you will know the name of every troublesome child in school but for now you need teachers to be leaving you a seating plan, preferably one with photos. If you know you are going to be covering a class, ask who the likely lads and lasses are before hand so that you have some knowledge of the names to look out for. Change the tasks. If pupils can't read aloud for the noise, insist on individual quiet reading. That way at least some of the pupil will get something done and quiet is easier to enforce because there is no reason for anyone to talk.
    cadillac99, JohnJCazorla and pepper5 like this.
  9. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    What is really annoying is that by conducting tasks such as reading out loud, which require quite a lot of teaching skills organise effectively, you are being used as a teacher on the cheap. Supervising should be just that - watching over the class as they complete tasks. Delivering lessons is something different. Cover "supervisors" are being sold down the river.
    JohnJCazorla, pepper5 and baitranger like this.
  10. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    It's one of many advantages of having an 'open door' policy in a dept where staff feel free to flit in and out of each other's classes and an argument for making this policy when supply/cover/new teacer is in. .Unobtrustive, of course, pretending to do something else even, but if kids know that an established teacher might pop in at any moment it changes the moodin the class. Of course, it only works in a dept where there is a trusting, supportive environment and creating that environment is one of the most important tasks of a HoD I think.
    cadillac99, JohnJCazorla and pepper5 like this.
  11. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    Yes, excellent point. Having a student read out loud to the class strongly implies some teaching input because if a student gets stuck or needs help to read or understand a word there needs to be a trained person to help. It also implies some discussion and help with the context and meanings of the text which again is a teaching function. Reading a text without appropriate emphasis or understanding is of very limited value.
    JohnJCazorla and pepper5 like this.

Share This Page