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For all those getting minimal work this year, it is nothing personal. Follow a simple tip.

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by FredWelsh34, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. FredWelsh34

    FredWelsh34 New commenter

    I work as a TA 3 and a half days a week and supply onFriday. I made my decision due to supply being much slower this year compared to previous,
    I was an assistant to a supply teacher today who was a former principal, and who spent years organising and hiring supply teachers. It was useful to find out from her that there is absolutely nothing to take personally if a school does not ask you back.
    It is simply the case, I was told that schools are massively busy places and they seldom remember the supply teachers. A good tip she added was to say thank you every day and make a point of meeting the person in charge of supply and basically illustrate how you really love the school and would like to work there.
    As stated, supply teachers are seldom observed so it is not even on the basis of being thought of as being better than another. However, it is beneficial to raise your profile a bit. This is especially important in these very competitive times for supply.
    Hope this helps.
    les25paul, Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Great advice, @FredWelsh34 !

    Best wishes

    Lara mfl 05 and FredWelsh34 like this.
  3. emmalcm1

    emmalcm1 Established commenter

    Couldn't agree more! At schools I want to return to I have always made a point of being friendly with the person in charge of supply, telling them I liked the place and am available if they need me again etc.
    FredWelsh34 likes this.
  4. FredWelsh34

    FredWelsh34 New commenter

    Yes. It seems from what I was told today, schools do not really how good or not good a supply teacher is.
    Also, I have said I am interested via text message and highlighted my availability this way before, but I do not think this works at all as much as showing the drive to wait until you can speak to the cover organiser face to face. Also, I never really illustrate my fondness for the school or say thank you much.
  5. WillyDjangoReinhardt

    WillyDjangoReinhardt Occasional commenter

    Thankyou for this but I am going to contradict it a little. For the most part this is just manners isnt it. Its a bit of a rose tinted view to think it's as simple as this what the former principal has said is not the full story. Schools are places of work where like any other place they thrive on gossip. TAs nosying, the school kids themselves having parents working in the schools and can destroy a supply teacher etc, teachers gossip endlessly as do office staff for all I know so do the cleaners and the IT people have opinions on individual supply teachers. So good or bad be nice to everyone if your not wow betide you. Always be pleasant and polite and dont let any of the difficulties you have may have with classes or individuals sour your relationships and friendships within tbe school this how you promite yourself. And while we are at it lets not forget about inter agency gossip. The consultant's move around like musical chairs from one agency to another
    FredWelsh34 likes this.
  6. FredWelsh34

    FredWelsh34 New commenter

    Thanks *****
    Agencies aside, I see an element in what you are saying.
    The scenario I outlined is an ideal type.
    I guess what you are saying is, that unfortunately you can be very polite and do all the right things but schools can still not ask you back. We live in a very judgemental society and also heavily political, and it is sometimes the case that if schools think you are a bit 'strange' for no reason, or that your face does not really fit, they may harbour prejudice and not ask you back, however nice you are or good your teaching record. The same if there is any gossip about you. Indeed someones niece could also be the one who gets their feet under the table.

    However, it was good to see that some senior management and cover organizers are pretty decent people, and simply appreciate your time, presence and enthusiasm.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  7. DarkRosaleen

    DarkRosaleen New commenter

    My experience is that TAs report back on which supply teachers they like.
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    On an assignment at any school, it pays to be pleasant as far as possible to everyone including the receptionists, cover managers, teachers, cleaning staff, lab technicians, IT staff, librarians, and TAs - anyone really. It does not take much to smile and say thank you, but pays great dividends. I would also say try to be kind.
    emmalcm1 likes this.
  9. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    I think this is good advice in any work generally! I've worked on supply and have followed this pretty much to the letter and it's worked for me as I've been asked back and then kept on for the best part of a term by one school. I've also followed this when I've been permanent somewhere, it doesn't take much time or effort to be pleasant and it pays huge dividends such as receptionists sending letters quickly for you or the reprographics staff photocopying something that you need quickly. As long as this isn't why you do it of course as that's very easily seen through.....;)
  10. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    If you are working through an Agency... Try this. Phone every evening and let them know your availability for the next few days or call first thing and say you are up and ready to go or not whichever is the case. Also tell them if you are not going to be available rather than let the phone ring and ring. Time is precious in the mornings when schools and agencies are trying to organise the cover.
  11. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    I'd agree that this is just good manners, although the person in charge of supply can't always be found.

    One thing I akwats try to do is leave a quick note about each lesson. How much of the work was done? Did any students do particularly well? Were any particularly poor? This can be difficult to do if you are moving around from class to class, but when I wasn't on supply I found it very useful to know what had happened.
  12. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    I agree with leaving a note makes a good impression and it also helps the class teacher or the person setting cover for the next day not to repeat the work.

    In secondary schools that means up to five separate notes, but they don't have to be long; I tend to write them up after the last lesson with the short notes I may have made immediately after the lesson and then put the notes in the teachers' trays in the staff room instead of leaving them on the desk where others may have a snoop. Usually I try to leave just notes of where we got up to, names of the students who did well, and the names of anyone who did not follow instructions or disrupted the class; but usually I keep it to the main culprits. If the lesson was particularly well planned and lots of notes left of where to find things, I also thank the teacher for their thoughtfulness in providing all the things I need.

    I try to put myself in the shoes of the returning teacher and as you say, it is useful for the regular teacher to know what happened - especially if their class worked well and behaved. That way the teacher can also give out rewards/sanctions as they deem fit.
  13. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    For a small charge go on to vista print and make yourself some business cards. Well worth the money. Every September circulate them with written on the back, I am available for (insert subjects) and general supply direct or through (insert agency number) . I have found that this is a reminder when you are available and if you have been in a contract that you are now back in the circuit. I do it for all the schools I work I via the agency helps them as well so tell them you ad their business and I also send them to schools I have yet to work in. Works well I think. They keep your card by the phone or computer so you are in their view. Go for it. When I worked direct with schools I created my own web page with a calendar and kept it up to dat each night and schools could see at a glance if I was free or not hence not wasting time or a phone call. Sadly there are few schools who work direct mainly due to the fact they are all in debt and cannot afford to pay ex teachers their grade especially if you are through threshold.

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