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Curious, are school managers jealous of supply teachers?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by andrew07, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    I'm sick of being asked to take on long term roles. I used to be a regular supply teacher at one school and was approached by a head of department and deputy head into taking a religious education role. It would be covering a role until a full time teacher could be appointed. I told them last July I wasn't interested and had other commitments and wanted to remain day to day. Apparently, they took on an agency worker. However, three weeks ago, an agency that I normally work with asked me about taking on the role. I said no but now the agency is not returning phone calls or anything, so I guess I made them angry. But what really made me angry was that after I told this senior manager that I wasn't interested, they went to my agency to have them bully me into it. I still stood my ground.

    The school hired someone full time but they pulled out, which is why they approached me in the first place. Then, they got an agency worker but was told by my agency that "they didn't pan out". Hmm, don't know what is going on there.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hold your ground....I can guarantee that the job that they wanted you to do will be rubbish as the jobs no one else wants to do is given to supply teachers. If you had said yes, that would have been the worst decision you could have made. I can tell you exactly what is going on....classes in RE ( a subject most students think is a waste of time) no one else wants to teach because of the appalling behaviour and work load and they can't find a mug to do it. If you had taken that job you would have regretted it since you would be working an extra 4 hours per day for £10 extra in pay a day and I almost forgot...at least a Saturday and Sunday to boot.

    The agency will get over it as they need teachers to go out on day to day and if you are reliable and can do the job, they won't want to lose you. Just be pleasant and firm and keep on walking.

    I've just written to a couple of schools in my area to try to get work directly and bypass agencies.

    The truth of the matter is when you go to a school, the supply teachers and NQTs always get the worst classes in terms of behaviour and the students no one else can be bothered with.
  3. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    The truth of the matter is when you go to a school, the supply teachers and NQTs always get the worst classes in terms of behaviour and the students no one else can be bothered with.

    Not always the case. In mine the NQTs tend to get quite a few of the top sets. What is the point of giving someone who has barely finished a training year the worst groups? You end up with stressed and ill people who want to quit before they've even started! As for long term supply, there is only so much re-jigging of a timetable you can do to accommodate someone who is there to assist and who you need to assist. But, if difficult classes have to be given to more established staff, so be it.

    Being a HoD/HoF does noy mean you have the right to siphon off all the "best" groups to cover yourself in glory. And if you think it does...you shouldn't be a HoD!

    I'm aware this doesn't fit in with the idea that all permanent staff treat supply staff - who are worth their weight in gold - like rubbish, but well, that's that.

    Rant over.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi C Wadd

    I accept all you say.

    Of course it doesn't happen all the time, but I have had former HoD admit to me that they would give the worst classes to supply staff.

    I do know that when I am out on supply on day to day I tend to get bottom set French on Friday afternoon, but I accept that is what supply is going to be like.

    The case above with the original poster concerning RE no one wants to do is something I personally would ste
    emmalcm1 likes this.
  5. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    I have had former HoD admit to me that they would give the worst classes to supply staff.

    Then that HoD has no business being a HoD!

    Supply staff deserve to be treated with respect. Its a very hard job. Anyone who does think they deserve to be treated like rubbish needs to think about their own career choice very, very carefully.
  6. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    [QUOTE What is the point of giving someone who has barely finished a training year the worst groups? You end up with stressed and ill people who want to quit before they've even started! .[/QUOTE]

    If you were a trainee surgeon you would probably start off by learning to lance boils before you took on your first cardiac bypass. In teaching, though, the most inexperienced are given the most difficult groups, so that what should be a time when they are learning and improving their skills becomes aversion therapy!
  7. elvispenhaligon

    elvispenhaligon Occasional commenter

    It comes back to "us and them". They are them and you are suitable for treating like poo as an outsider. It's a feature of basic group psychology.

    I just got really good at dealing with challenging groups which was a truly excellent and rewarding skill. I'd much rather have a class of idiots than a goody-goody set. The goody-goodies would have got the grades anyway, I might actually do something no-one else can with the chimps. It's probably largely down to my cynical and misanthropic attitude to education which makes them think "This guy is alright" and then they get on with it!

    As a supply teacher, you should be aware you are an outsider and expect to be treated as such.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Some schools I go to treat me very well in terms of staff saying hello and that kind of thing; however, no matter how much they may like me, I know I will get the most challenging groups for that day, since the permanent members of staff will be asked first what they want to cover and when they see Chardonay's name then they will say 'no thanks' Mrs Pepper5 can have that class. I've seen it so many times. I don't mind on day to day since I endeavour to see the potential in all students and that is the reason I have managed to do supply teaching for so long.

    But going back to the original post, the RE class sounds like one no one wants to have and I personally would steer clear unless you like to teach RE go challenging groups. Some people do, but it would not be for me.
  9. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    I went to a school for what I had been told by my agency would be a day covering science. I arrived at the school, collected my timetables and went off to find the labs. I was just getting myself sorted when someone came in, apologised for the 'mistake', and handed me a revised timetable comprising 'odds and sods' of other subjects. It was an exhausting five lessons of crowd control, one being a drama group in the corner of the school hall!
  10. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi JR

    I don't want to laugh, but it sounds as though you were well and truly set up; and your experience just shows what schools will do. Of course the supply teacher gets drama and definitely music.

    You are a brave person to have survived. Well done.
  11. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    OMG that sounds like a school where I covered recently. I am also certain that if I took the role there would be no meetings in regards to what I would be covering, etc but I could probably bet that there would a two hour meeting on PSHE, citizenship etc.
  12. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    Pepper thank you very much for making me feel better.
  13. PizzoCalabro

    PizzoCalabro Established commenter

    I see it as a bonus getting stuff that is not my specialism!
    Today was covering an Art teacher. Husband thinks is hilarious as I cannot draw a cat.
    Where else nowadays can you have the fun of doing someone else's job for a day?
    Usual rules apply re questioning, Afl, pace etc, and you learn stuff too.
    Maybe why I am not short of work?
  14. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    If you would have taken on RE you would have spent hours preparing and not getting much more pay than on day to day. You made the right decision. Long term contracts involve a !of of work with little thanks and not much more money tonshow for your efforts. In addition, if something permanent does come up schools rarely appoint a supply because of the agency fees involved.

    Even the story from JR shows how schools will lie to get someone. How did science morph into drama?
  15. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Pizzo

    I cover all subjects and it is not a problems. I can see though where if I had been told I would I would be teaching science and then it was drama, I would not be happy. If they had told JR it was going to be a mix of subjects then he could have decided. Of course things change from minute to minute at schools!s when staff start calling in sick and you have to be flexible, but some schools are desperate and will say anything to get people there.

    You do have a point though. The more flexible you are with what you teach the more work you will get. The only subject I won't cover is PE and although I will cover music I hate it. Art as you say is fun since there is a !of of interesting things going on with it.
  16. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Thank you for your sympathy, everyone. To give the school the benefit if the doubt, I think the original day of science was genuine, as the first timetable I was given was for that subject. Perhaps other teachers saw what they would have to cover and decided to do a swap.

    Another little trick the schools use is to take the 'head bangers' from several classes and put them into yours. A tell tale sign of this is when it is obvious that the students in front of you are not usually taught together. Yet another is when whoever is on duty in the exclusion room dumps their charges on classes being taught by outside supply teachers. As soon as you have got your class reasonably settled, someone comes to the door and delivers two or three packages of two-legged disruption.
  17. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    JR what you write is so funny, but so descriptive. Have you ever thought about writing professionally?

    This morning, I thought of an incidence when a school booked me for two weeks for subject x; when I arrived at the school, suddenly it was subject y. The school new I taught subject x, and subject y was totally unrelated. Who got it mixed up? The agency, the school? I agreed to do it and prayed every single day the person off would be coming back since the behaviour was so horrible. In the end, I didn't do the two weeks since the person was able to return.
  18. emmalcm1

    emmalcm1 Established commenter

    Of course not all HoD are like that but in my experience there are definitely some who are. For example, I worked long term supply in a school (almost the full academic year), where the HoD not only gave me all the worst classes but was generally horrible for no reason also constantly tried to get me to do things that were her job! I was doing my NQT as well and she asked me to re-write/ update the schemes of work (which I didn't) and tried to get me to work with a local primary school which would have required travelling backwards and forwards to teach in the primary to make a link with the secondary. The school weren't making any mention of paying travel costs even, she must have thought I was a total mug! Luckily for me, I got on really well with the staff in another department that was based next to mine and they took me under their wing, I'm not sure I would have been able to stay the entire time otherwise.

    Haha a kid told me I should be an art teacher the other day...they were suitably impressed at my drawing skills, which I didn't think were brilliant! The past few days though I have been covering a Spanish teacher, despite the fact I have never had a Spanish lesson in my life. I did French to GCSE and German to A level and did well so either of those I feel OK with but Spanish is terrible! Especially when I'm put into a class with lots of EAL students...I'm a teacher who can't speak Spanish trying to teach Spanish to kids who struggle with English never mind Spanish...it's like the blind leading the blind!
  19. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    One thing that you need to remember is that supply teachers are like fireman or nurses, always needed in an emergency, but otherwise ignored when they are not needed. The truth is that I suspect that some teachers fear the supply teachers in that we can show the more permanent teachers up, because we have to have the skills to survive on day to day or long-term when you do not know if your the next day will be your last at a particular school, do the sudden return of the teacher. Long-term supply can be like waiting for the electric chair, it is going to happen, but when.

    We have all had experiences of success, like the day I taught a bottom set English lesson, and got a student to write three pages of work, what was shocking it turned out for his permanent teacher he had, he wrote on average no more then a few lines in each lesson and he showed me his book to prove it.

    However you have to remember that the permanent teachers are under pressure from HoD and HT to make the grade in terms of exam results, and so some difficult or bottom set classes that have no value to them are past to the expendable supply teacher to deal with.

    I agree that there are many teachers, HoD and HT who are supportive, but unfortunately there are some who look down on us, and in some cases these are not teachers, but unqualified cover managers or support staff. Who think of us as poor teachers who cannot do the job, rather then qualified experience teachers, it is about time the unions promoted the supply teachers role by educating their members of what actually do and the poor treatment we receive within schools, because most supply teachers are good teachers, because they have to be to survive in the role.
  20. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I don't mind taking the bottom sets. What I do mind is when there is student x who the school knows to be difficult with various issues and I will covering a class with said student in it, but no one bothers to mention it.

    I met a TA in the hall of a school the other day, one I go to often, and she said: " Oh...we had an ok lesson yesterday ( lesson we had together) because Mojo wasn't there...he was off ill." Another escape for Mrs Pepper5!

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