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Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by Jazztess79, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. Jazztess79

    Jazztess79 New commenter

    I’m an experienced teacher but relatively new to supply so just wanted some advice please.

    I enjoyed a wonderful placement at an academy Primary from Feb to summer covering a mat leave. It really boosted my confidence again after leaving a permanent post at a school which had turned toxic where I’d been nearly 20 years.

    Just started a term’s supply at a MAT school where the staff and SLT seem really nice and supportive. However several staff already in tears and apparently absenteeism is a problem. We’re all subject to fortnightly observations alternating with fortnightly book scrutinies, each with written feedback and targets. Plus subject leader monitoring. Is this the norm?!?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts / advice.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    The great thing about supply is that if it gets to the point where the observations and checks become too much all you have to do is give one week's notice and off you go into the sun set.

    Whether or not it is "normal" I do not know but it seems to happen a lot in schools from what I read on here.

    What is important to YOU is that you have a choice - you can stay or go and please leave before you get to the point where you are in tears since IT IS NOT WORTH IT. No job should be put someone in tears.

    Believe me it is not worth it and I know this after 10 years experience teaching on day to day supply.

    Obviously if absenteeism is a problem then that should be sending plenty of messages to SLT, but it is their problem not yours and you don't get paid enough to worry about it. They should be grateful they have a teacher with nearly twenty years' experience - I know I would be if I were SLT.

    Ensure YOU are happy. You deserve it after twenty years of teaching.

    The observations may not affect you mentally since you know you are not going to be there forever. Just do what you do normally - your very best job and I am sure that will be sufficient. However, if you don't want to be observed that often, then give your agency a week's notice and that will be sufficient for you to find another placement.

    Welcome to the forum.
    agathamorse and peakster like this.
  3. Jazztess79

    Jazztess79 New commenter

  4. Jazztess79

    Jazztess79 New commenter

    Thank you Pepper.
    Your words have reassured me and reminded me that I need to take off my SLT hat now I’m on supply. I need To view the placement as a job and not allow it to take over my life!
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Exactly Jazztess79

    You are in a very good position as you have a lot of experience that schools need, but you have some flexibility as well.
    Jazztess79 likes this.
  6. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    One of the joys of supply is that you are not always subject to the same nonsense that the other staff have to put up with.

    It's a different mentality on supply that is often almost impossible to explain to someone who has never done it. I was a permanent teacher for some years, then did some time on supply and now I'm back permanent again but supply is different - yes you have to regard it as a job but just try and do the best job that you can.
  7. MissGeorgi

    MissGeorgi Occasional commenter

    I worked at a MAT school, part of a “Christian” group, in the West Midlands, and at first I had the impression that it was nice, supportive, etc.

    How wrong was I. It was a terrifying workplace. The marking was required fortnightly. I had 16 teaching groups, with six unique GCSE classes, over two subjects (Geography and RS). The scrutiny was unbelievable. The observations were every half term, announced for a particular date, but not a class. I NEVER cry or breakdown, but I remember completely breaking down one afternoon when everyone else had gone home because I didn’t know where to start planning for five “observable” classes the next day.

    The HT had at first seemed purposeful but eventually we realised what a monster he was.
    I was so delighted to leave (the HT asked me to leave after he found some Year 7 books i’d neglected to mark for a few months after battling a virus for nearly two months and getting behind). My colleagues practically begged me to take them.

    In conclusion, don’t be afraid to RUN.
    pepper5, agathamorse and FrauRussell like this.
  8. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Yes, my understanding is Supply Teachers should not be subject to scrutiny, feedback and appraisal.

    One long term placement I was at ordered a book scrutiny and books had to be delivered to a meeting room. There were about 10 people in there. I think less than half were teachers by profession...one of the last straws for me in that place. I had seen at least 1 teacher broken by constant observation there and did not want to follow. The great advantage of Supply is the escape tunnel...
    MissGeorgi, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    The escape tunnel...definitely
    MissGeorgi likes this.
  10. daisy1603

    daisy1603 Occasional commenter

    I was really glad to come across this thread, particularly this part of your reply Peakster.

    I have just started a long term cover role in a subject I have never taught before and am feeling the pressure as I have exam classes. I keep telling myself it is very early days (I don’t even have a laptop/internet access yet) and I am doing the best I can but when you have TA’s rolling their eyes or trying to take over it is hard.

    I keep reminding myself that it was the school that requested me specifically, knowing I wasn’t a specialist so they knew what they were getting and also that I always try my best so I can’t do any more than that.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  11. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Yes daisy1603

    Take peakster's wise advice and do the best you can.

    If the school requested you, then that is a real achievement.

    Go girl... don't let TAs roll their eyes!

    Whattttttt….. taking over your classes! No way.

    Tell them Mrs P. said NO!
  12. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    My mantra on supply (especially long term work) was just be as useful as possible and don't complain. The sad fact of the matter is that if you are not up to standard you can be easily replaced.

    My first long term placement was in a department where they had just done mock exams. There was a huge pile (piles actually) of papers on a table in their staff room and I sensed that the department were panicking a bit about getting all the papers marked.

    I volunteered to mark them - they were so relieved - it took me two weeks. I was only due to be there for 4 weeks, in the end I stayed for a term and then I got another placement.
  13. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I am sure you were a very popular supply teacher, peakster and your advice is so wise... don't grumble and complain and get stuck in with whatever they need.
    agathamorse and BertieBassett2 like this.
  14. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I don't moan now even though I'm now in a permanent job.

    There's no point in complaining about everything.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  15. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    That is such a good philosophy peakster and it is in the Bible too.

    I am going to take that on board not to grumble and complain.
    agathamorse and BertieBassett2 like this.
  16. pwtin

    pwtin Senior commenter

    Personally I like a good moan...it is therapeutic. However I agree with Peakster and I have recently tried to adopt a new attitude ' it is what it is and just get on with it '
    No one knows how hard supply is until they walk in your shoes. As for TA's trying to take over, it seems to be a power struggle and some seem to be terrortorial, sometimes they can be worse to manage than the children.
    agathamorse and BertieBassett2 like this.
  17. Jazztess79

    Jazztess79 New commenter

    Thank you everyone; some really good advice offered. I think my priorities are going to be:
    • Continue to work my socks off during the 10 hours I’m in school.
    • Keep a smile on my face
    • Start each day with a must/should/could list (it’s really helped this week!)
    • Stop looking at work emails from home
    • Try to get out of the house for an hour long walk with the dogs so I can clear my head and switch off (something I find really tough)
    • Set a limit to the number of hours I’m going to work on a Sunday.
    • Stop beating myself up if I’m not the perfect teacher 100% of the time
    • Remember I’m more than a teacher and that should just be a part of what I am
    Thank you again for sharing your experiences and thoughts.
    agathamorse and BertieBassett2 like this.

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