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Creating Lessons

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by tcopeland23, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. I have been advised by an agency that I have signed up with that some schools will not leave worked planned for me.

    I was wondering what the best way is to create lessons for years 2-6 quickly so I have something available if this is the case?
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Please check a couple of threads down from this one where this has been discussed in length.

    I teach secondary, but in six years I have been on supply I have only had three lessons where nothing was left. The schools should leave you appropriate work and you should not have to do lengthy planning unless you are getting paid extra or are on a long term job.

    However, you might want to tale some things for five minute fillers or transitions. Take a favourite book or puppet.

    Do you see where this is going? If you start doing lengthy planning, you might as well have a permanent job.

    Tell the agency that you expect suitable work and planning to be left for you. It is simple as that, it in all honesty I would be surprised if most schools would not do that. If they don't they are taking advantage of you and just say no.
  3. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    I believe that the expectations are different for primary and secondary supply teachers. In secondary you can expect cover work always to be left and you are not expected to do any marking.

    However in primary I've always been lead to believe that the visiting primary supply brings in lessons with them and then marks it before leaving.

    When I have done the occassional day in primary I have been told that I would find work set but that was only because I was not a primary specialist. But that might have changed in recent years or just be a regional thing.

    By the way, don't spend hours planning lessons there are lots of resources and planned lessons on the net (including the TES site). The wheel has already been invented no need to do it again.
  4. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    I'm with Pepper on this one. Cover work should be left. When I was working as a classroom teacher, it was considered a serious matter if a teacher failed to leave work for the cover teacher. Even when I was too ill to come in, I would at least send in links to websites so the school could print some worksheets from there.

    I am very worried by this trend expecting a supply teacher to be able to bring in work to keep things going. What is the educational value of that? You can only plan vague, generic work as you won't know how to differentiate or what any student's targets are.

    I'm afraid that some schools are completely exploiting their cover supervisors who get paid peanuts but are expected to do far more than the job description specifies. This has now crept into external supply teaching.

    It's not good enough. I could certainly name a few schools where there are whole departments now run by unqualified staff and temps. I certainly went to cover key role in a department where the GCSE class had been taught by a cover supervisor since year 8.
  5. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    I know of one school where an entire department was made up of supply teachers from the first day in September for a school year.

    There wasn't even a HoD and the work was set by some of the more regular supply teachers for other visiting supplies. Many of the supplies were not subject specialists and some lessons were taught by non-qualified teachers.

    But the school did get a good OFSTED report which talks volumes about OFSTED and their judgement.
  6. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    My experience, as a primary class teacher and as a supply teacher, is this: if the absence is planned eg teacher is undertaking training then detailed planning is left. If the absence is unplanned, because a teacher has called in sick, resulting in an early morning call to the supply teacher then there might be some short term plans available. It's usually safe to assume that medium term plans will be available, which should make it easier to conjure up a day's lessons using readily available internet based resources. Making acquaintance with the TA at the start of the day really helps too. Some teachers are very organised and always have their short term plans ready for the week ahead just in case, but some don't and that's one of the downsides of doing supply.

    Unions take a dim view of schools that habitually contact teachers to request plans and resources whilst they are ill, particularly if a sick note has been sent in. As a staff, with union support, we made it quite clear to our head teacher that a request for detailed plans during illness would be ignored.
  7. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    I hear what you're saying Snowyhead and you are correct. A person who is off work sick is not to be contacted by their workplace.

    I think most teachers feel that if they have a minor illness that prevents them from going to work for one or two days without notice (such as losing your voice or a stomach bug), they often email in a scratch lesson out of courtesy. Although as you say, a well run department should have a defined scheme of work anyway.

    What is unclear is the role of the supply teacher as our job description is pretty much the same as that of any agency worker, which is not the same as a classroom teacher's contract. However, it's not clear exactly what we are supposed to do. Since the advent of cover supervisors, it has been assumed that cover supervisors can do up to four days consecutive cover for the same absent member of staff, and then a qualified teacher is supposed to be brought in.

    Educationally that makes sense.

    However, since agency supply teachers are casual staff, possibly not known to the school and paid at no fixed rate with no specific job description, things have become very unclear. When you are working as a day to day teacher, you have no idea what age group or subject you might be called on to teach. How many of us have turned up at a school on the understanding that we were covering, say, English all day to find that we have a completely mixed timetable and no trainers for double year 7 PE in the afternoon?

    Teachers have rights that supply teachers don't. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and I have campaigned long and hard to get unions to realise that the rights that full time teachers have are not afforded to us. Our pay is at an all time low as our job description has become blurred with that of the Cover Supervisor. Is it fair to expect supply teachers to pick up the reins and do the full job for a fraction of the pay? Many supply teachers are not prepared to wait 12 weeks to finally get paid what the job warrants. This is something that needs to hammered out. There is a significant difference between dropping to cover a pre-planned lesson and panning it yourself, going through the stages of a structured lesson, giving students meaningful feedback and doing all the AFL stuff. It's as different as karaoke and opera.

    As is becoming clear, the problem is agencies. The schools pay a lot of money, in good faith, to the agency to get them a supply teacher fast. The supply teacher is increasing likely to be hired as a cover supervisor so that the agency's mark up is profitable as they are businesses. Fair enough that's what a business does. I don't think it marries well to a schools environment but we're stuck with it for now. Agencies are as yet not offering a graded payscale based on 1. a teacher's experience and 2. the nature of the job on site. Does anyone know if agency workers on building sites are paid on variable scales based on similar criteria?

    Previously supply teachers who were employed by the LEA direct were far more prepared to do the full job as they were paid the same as their full time colleagues.
  8. amykins959

    amykins959 New commenter

    In primary I have never had no work left! if the teacher who is off is worth their salt, they will have planned their lessons a week in advance and its usually left in the classroom for anyone to look at! Most of the time the class' TA will know what is happening and where everything is and will point you in the right direction.

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