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Deeply and bitterly cynical about the outlook for supply teaching

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by Cooperx, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. Cooperx

    Cooperx New commenter

    I personally think it is over.
    I have had no work this year. Last year and three previous years have been full-up.
    Teaching is a s*** occupation and supply especially so. I would not recommend anyone give up teaching for supply. Why?
    I would not recommend anyone do teaching either especially due to all the politics and corruption, constantly looking over your shoulder and worrying about when you are going to be cheated or fired. Meanwhile some young robotic drone who has just graduated gets all your work.
    sebedina likes this.
  2. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Welcome to the wonderful world of the cover supervisor. He/she may not be able to teach anything, but is dirt cheap, and a legally acceptable babysitter for absent teachers, Keeping one of these on your staff will quickly save the school heaps of money. OK, so it's not beneficial for the students, but while many heads are well versed in the art of tossing, giving one about their students isn't on their agenda.
    Cooperx likes this.
  3. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Perhaps you should not be so sweepingly judgmental as you are not actually teaching at the moment Mr Getling.

    I'm not a CS, but we have two very good ones at our school who can control classes and get them working on occasions thair normal teachers are absent. One of them is a qualified teacher who does actually teach classes too. Many supplies could not control those classes.

    I've read a lot of your stuff on here and although I'd love to give my honest opinion of you I'm afraid the moderators would probably have something to say about it.
  4. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    To be fair I have witnessed several equally incapable supply teachers in the classroom over the years. Obviously some are better than others but many just do it because they clearly cannot hack it in the classroom, which these days is understandable, less so some 10-15 years ago.

    I do however agree with the OP about supply, for the additional reason that if you are not straight out of uni it may taint your chances of getting back into a mainstream school should that be your wish. Unless you get long term supply and due to circumstances and illustrating your dedication and good practice you are asked to stay; although this sounds increasingly difficult it may not be so in certain parts of the country since there are lots of agencies still looking for short term staff depending on your subject and level. It may not be daily supply but it is out there.
  5. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    It depends what you teach, where you live, your background, qualifications and experience. I live in the SE of England and you cannot get Computer Science teachers for love nor money. I should know, being a long suffering HoD trying to fill employee gaps for years and it is the same with colleagues in nearby schools. Our school also increased the number of cover supervisors this year to save a lot of money on teachers from agencies so the need for supply isn't there anymore. However, CS can't be just covered, it has to be taught by someone who knows what they are doing. I resigned because of workload and finish next week, and want to work on supply, but only for a few months at a time, then take a break, then work a bit more. I sent off about 40 CVs to local schools I'd consider working in and have had a steady stream of enquiries (four in the last two weeks asking about January availability). I now have a contract from the middle of January til Easter in a really nice local school, where I know some of the staff, and am being paid £260 a day, but without all the rubbish like performance management etc, which we have agreed will not apply. So I am absolutely delighted at the current, chaotic, poorly managed state of affairs. Perhaps do some YouTube courses in coding, Python, JavaScript, HTML, Scratch, Kodu, VB etc and then start offering this on your CV.
    needabreak and pepper5 like this.
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Firstly, I would like to say I am genuinely sorry for your predicament. To suddenly see your income dissolve before your eyes is a truly horrific experience. Since the recession about 7 years ago, my husband has seen the income from his business decline each year. He is of the age where it would be extremely difficult to find alternative employment and I am not far behind. My point is that many, many people have seen their livelihoods affected in the economic downturn and it is just not teachers. I am working as a supply teacher at the moment and have so for six year; and in the area of the country I am in, there seems to be plenty of work for everyone as I have worked every day and have turned work away. However, there are still problems.

    The classes are getting harder and harder to manage and that is not just due to the skills of the supply teachers: the permanent staff struggle as well. It is not uncommon for the really tough classes to make permanent teachers cry and I only see it getting worse in the years ahead, since schools can't or won't stop the disrespect and arrogance some students show towards their teachers.

    As far as cover supervisors are concerned, as in every profession there are good and not so good. My personal view is that CS complement a school's staffing resources and most schools use a combination of CSs and supply teachers to fill in for missing staff.

    No one's job is secure. Although I have plenty of work now, I don't know about the future, so I am constantly thinking of a back up plan. My husband's income is up and down, so he is also looking for a backup plan.

    Cooperex, I feel your pain since I can understand how you feel. When I helped empty my husband's office six years ago since we couldn't afford it any longer, I was very bitter too and sometimes I have to fight off the bitterness and the thoughts about what could have been if the recession had not affected us. I was 50 years old when I started supply teaching and had to do it since if I had not we would have lost everything. I am now looking at facing the prospect of being out of work again if supply is affected where I am.

    We all are somewhat in the same boat if that is any consolation to you.

    Over on the career forums there are some threads about alternative careers and other items which might be of interest to you.

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers as will all those looking for work especially at this time.

    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Excellent pointers Twinkle....adding additional skills is a good way to get more work.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  8. PizzoCalabro

    PizzoCalabro Established commenter

    I don't know why every day someone stats yet another thread on this subject. There are so many already. Yes, times are hard for some, and I sympathise, but why not post on one of the many other identical threads?
  9. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Perhaps the best option is simply not to reply? (Oh the irony of that- to make the point I have to 'reply'! ;))
  10. elvispenhaligon

    elvispenhaligon Occasional commenter

    Pizzo is a bit of a pr ck. Have you not worked that out yet?
    Cooperx likes this.
  11. Cooperx

    Cooperx New commenter

    A bit? In extremis more like.
  12. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    That is OK to vent. That is what we are here to do. To communicate, empathise and give advice where needed.
  13. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Yes, play nicely children. I speak from personal experience. Being on the end of aggressive trolling is pretty irksome.
    OK, so people have been fleeced by agencies in spite of plenty of posts pointing out the pitfalls of supply teaching.
    A lot of teachers are very hurt about having their career chopped up before their eyes. A lot of people can't believe that they trusted a pushy little salesgirl to be their agent and they still haven't spotted the elephant in the room.
    Some of us have been here trying to point out the inevitable consequence of turning schools into mini service industry clones with dodgy quality control mechanisms and successive governments who refused to listen to those actually working in schools.
    The whole education system is in meltdown as the last few real teachers have left the building and those who can't teach or have never taught are left in charge creating executive jobs with executive salaries while classroom staff have to be thankful that they are allowed through the door.
    The free school and academy land grab has bled us white. Stakeholders are off to their ski chalets, counting the spoils while the recruitment sector gleans the last few quid before it's all gone and we head off to the food bank. But still the prevailing belief is that local schools = bad and commercialisation = good. Doing well in spite of massive funding cuts in Education Newspeak is now called coasting.
    Nothing is as it seems.
    The current philosophy is that anyone who fancies having a go can set up a school and the Government will hand them great dollops of money to do so. Anyone who likes the sound of their own voice can call themselves a teacher and get kids to recite exam specific material by rote. The real teachers are doing the work of a whole team as scarcely anyone in the school now has any teaching experience. Anyone can take a bit of selected evidence from a select few Chinese schools and convince the public that this is the way to teach and learn. Anyone who can talk the talk can set themselves up as a recruitment agency and provide them with a bewildered hotch potch of random people who are so desperate for a job that they sign up to a deal that is little better than indentured slavery and the Minister for Education says there is no crisis, everything is better than ever and that she wants to be the next Prime Minister.
    It has become an anarchic free for all.
    There are so many posts on this because people still really don't get that the floor is now tilting at 45% and there's nothing to hang on to.
    needabreak and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  14. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    The whole education system is in meltdown as the last few real teachers have left the building and those who can't teach or have never taught are left in charge creating executive jobs with executive salaries while classroom staff have to be thankful that they are allowed through the door.
    The free school and academy land grab has bled us white. Stakeholders are off to their ski chalets, counting the spoils while the recruitment sector gleans the last few quid before it's all gone and we head off to the food bank. But still the prevailing belief is that local schools = bad and commercialisation = good. Doing well in spite of massive funding cuts in Education Newspeak is now called coasting.

    It isn't quite that bad nm....honest !
  15. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    It is getting there. However, I don't think supply is dead. I think schools are watching their budgets which may have caused a decrease in the need for supply teachers. However, as always, cover supervisors will be be spread thin across schools, creating the need for supply.
  16. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Peakster. I don't know where you source your information or how much casework you handle, whether or not you saw the last Commons Ed. Committee report, the findings of the Anti Academies movement on gagging orders in certain chains, the predictions of Prof Howson and an overwhelming body of reliable evidence clearly demonstrating that things are already in decline and the Govt refuses to listen to its own advisory bodies. Get with the programme. We're being sold off wholesale. Wages continue to decline. Whole curriculum departments are being cut, sixth forms are closing, PGCE training even at Cambridge is under threat, even the recruitment advert was reported to the advertising standards commission and found to be misleading. What is happening in supply is becoming the new norm. The companies who run the USA system are moving in. Read up on this stuff.
  17. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Well, not quite the whole. The rich and powerful have never had it so good. Think about it. They send their kids to private schools, and pile on the tuition on top. Because of the appalling state education that the hoi polloi get their children can waltz into the top jobs (even without the old school tie network). And so the cycle continues, with the oiks kept in their place.
  18. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    Nearmiss, it is funny that you are saying "the companies who run the USA syste are moving in". This is because those in the US are saying the exact same thing about the UK in regards to centralisation, catering to the lowest common denominator (kids who want to waste teacher's time) instead of chucking them out and letting them find out the opportunities they had, and of course, the PC brigade.
  19. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    Let me also add that there are many things here in the UK that would not even be allowed to be suggested in the US, such as private academy chains and selling of local schools to the highest bidder. People raise a very destructive storm when suggesting that county and city governments merge their LEA offices. I'd say that the main reason UK schools are in the mess they are in is because too many people are allowed to run schools and educational offices who have had no experience what-so-ever in education. Gove, Morgan, and many Labour Secs of Education also come to mind.
  20. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Andrew, I am aware that the US arm of the Pearson Group is angling to provide the teaching materials for the Common Core programme in the US and it is being viewed as a Brit. incursion in some circles, but that's not the issue. What was initially sold to the Obama administration as reform and the No Child Left Behind programme has already begun to unravel as, just as here, teachers are victimised so that cheaper Teach for America trainees can be slotted in.
    Which is exactly the scenario you outline in your second post. On that point, it is clear, academy chains, such as the one that rhymes with Paris, have churned over 40% of their staff year on year since they set up. It's clearly unacceptable.
    Now, can be we clear on terminology. As a teacher, I don't really accept the term "PC Brigade" as it's a cliche and diminishes the work of SENCOs and special needs teachers who have done so much to integrate people who years ago were just slammed into the asylum for the rest of their days. Yes, the remit of schools continues to widen as we are expected to be life coaches, counsellors, anti-terrorist spies, tutors, play leaders and still have a life of our own. Most of us have to teach the kids we get, particularly as supply teachers. That's the job.
    We can't just fling kids out for good, even though challenging classroom behaviour is more prevalent. The reason some kids are getting away with it is the very thing you point out; weak leadership who won't back classroom staff up on a discipline issue because they have no background in teaching and can't handle it themselves. Besides which, there is now nowhere to pitch the real corrupt kids to. Around my part of England, the PRUs are being phased out, so that those kids with real deep-seated social and emotional problems are made to go into class where they just have no chance of fitting in because they are disaffected.

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