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Have I done the right thing?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by WED85, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Hi. I work for a supply agency and have for the past 2 years. I'm very lucky with the work I get from them - have had two placements - one a term and another a term and a half. I also have regular work from one particular school (am there either full time or at the least 3 or 4 days a week). Today was a rare occasion I wasn't pre-booked so I said I was available for work. Got a call around 8:25 and was told I had work. I live in Wigan and the lady from the agency said the work was in Manchester/Trafford. I said it was quite a way to travel at that time of day in traffic. Would have gone if pre-booked because would have set out way earlier! The agency said they were desperate and if I didn't take it there wouldn't be anyone else and they would give me an extra £5. I reluctantly said yes. However... After coming off the phone I put the postcode into google maps to find out the school was actually in Stockport and it was 28.3 miles from where I live! I felt this was too far a distance to travel so rang back to cancel. They tried to get me to keep the booking, offering me an additional £10 for the day, but by this point I was so annoyed with the agency being 'economical with the truth' about where the school was and the fact that at 8:30 I was being asked to do almost a 60 mile round trip I said no. Now I have the usual feelings of guilt, that I've let them down, that they won't think I'm reliable etc. As it turns out I've got an afternoon booking now at a school much closer. What would you have done? Thanks for any input.
     
  2. Hi. I work for a supply agency and have for the past 2 years. I'm very lucky with the work I get from them - have had two placements - one a term and another a term and a half. I also have regular work from one particular school (am there either full time or at the least 3 or 4 days a week). Today was a rare occasion I wasn't pre-booked so I said I was available for work. Got a call around 8:25 and was told I had work. I live in Wigan and the lady from the agency said the work was in Manchester/Trafford. I said it was quite a way to travel at that time of day in traffic. Would have gone if pre-booked because would have set out way earlier! The agency said they were desperate and if I didn't take it there wouldn't be anyone else and they would give me an extra £5. I reluctantly said yes. However... After coming off the phone I put the postcode into google maps to find out the school was actually in Stockport and it was 28.3 miles from where I live! I felt this was too far a distance to travel so rang back to cancel. They tried to get me to keep the booking, offering me an additional £10 for the day, but by this point I was so annoyed with the agency being 'economical with the truth' about where the school was and the fact that at 8:30 I was being asked to do almost a 60 mile round trip I said no. Now I have the usual feelings of guilt, that I've let them down, that they won't think I'm reliable etc. As it turns out I've got an afternoon booking now at a school much closer. What would you have done? Thanks for any input.
     
  3. I wondered why they do this, too. I used to put it down to Australisian 'consultants' not knowing the geography, or the transport systems, of this country, but with Google Maps etc, there is no excuse for them not knowing where somewhere is. Sometimes, you know that they are trying to 'pull the wool over your eyes' when they claim not to have the school's address, but only the postcode. I have been offered TA work in locations with Maidsstone postcodes, and I live in NW London. I am also annoyed when I am expected to be interested in an assignement, like a morning of TA work, so far away that after paying travelling expenses, I would be out of pocket. I always feel a little insulted to be offered this sort of assignment, as I get the feeling that they are 'scraping the barrel'.

    Oh!, and in my experience offers of extra money never materialise.
     
  4. I would personally never turn down any offer of work from an agency.
     
  5. I cannot agree with you, buckle. Surely we are hoping to make a living from supply teaching, which means making some net profit for a day's work, certainly not a loss. Perhaps once, making a loss might be sustainable, but not on a protracted basis. If the agency knows that you will work for nothing, or less, then what is its incentive to find you profitable work?
     
  6. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    ...................................... Think twice about never refusing work from an Agency. You can quickly be put into the slot of he will do anything, anywhere and often you miss out on the good supply that is around as they tend to keep those who are so flexible as the early morning back ups for the last minute anywhere, slots. Pays to show a bit of back bone now and then and the more you stay with supply teaching the more you get to know where you want to work and where you are prepared to work ocassionally and where in preference you prefer not to work and where you really really do not want to work. Of course the longer you do supply the more you know about the schools and whether they are on the up or down. Mind of information should the schools think to ask us.
     
  7. historygrump

    historygrump Senior commenter Forum guide

    I turned down an afternoon the other day in Wigan, simply because it would mean like the original post a 25 mile journey each way from Rochdale/Oldham area to Wigan, and it would not be worth my while, after costs, etc.
    So I can understand turning down work, when it is not worth the effort to get there in financial terms. The agency were fine about it and said they understood.
     
  8. Hmmm... one post reinforcing our status as mindless drones to be mucked around endlessly.... quiet day at the agency today for ya huh?
     
  9. Mrs-Pip

    Mrs-Pip New commenter

    I don't think you should worry about it at all! This week I got an 8.30 am call asking me to travel a 70 mile round trip and because of the location it would have taken me nearly two hours! I said no... 5 mins later I got a call from the same agency asking me to travel 10 miles away. They won't hold it against you.
     
  10. I wish my phone would ring, with a job from an agency!
     
  11. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    My view is to accept work as often as you can. I am happy to travel some distance (did a 50 mile round trip today), do half days or accept work outside my subject area. I find that if an agency thinks that you are flexible and willing to put yourself out a little then you will rise up their list of prefered staff and get more offers.
    Of course this isn't the same as "never turn down work". There are one or two schools I've chosen not to work in (Supply can blacklist schools as easily as schools can blacklist certain teachers), I will not travel any great distance for less then a full day and most certainly will not go to a school trying to get away with paying a lower rate.
    I'm working for the money not for fun and if its not worth my while I would rather stay at home and watch CSI all day.
     
  12. Thanks everyone. Feel better about it now. Had an afternoon of work, have work tomorrow from another agency and am working 4/5 days next week from the agency this morning. Also, glad to see it wasn't just my own cynical self that thought that the post from buckle85 (who happened to register today) was actually from supply agency! :) thanks guys
     
  13. So much thinly disguised (or not disguised at all) spam on the entire site of late that I'm incredibly cynical about most of the one-post wonders... site's getting spammed to hell of late (private tutors, primary and the baby forums being particularly badly hit) - I need a new "report total spammer" button!
     
  14. Of course it was OK to turn down work! Clearly you are relaible and have earned your agency plenty of commission from your long term positions.
    My view is to turn down work if I am unlikely to arrive on time. Being late creates a bad impression regardless of the reason. If the agency call after 8:15 for a morning/whole day cover I will never be available- unless the school is within walking distance. As a result.... they now call me before 8 am. I've also been to schools and said to the agency that I am not prepared to go back to them. Again, this doesn't seem to be a problem. I get great feedback from the schools I'm happy to work with, so why shouldn't a qualified professional have the confidence to say no when it's appropriate?
    BTW I have no problem travelling 30 miles + providing it is pre-booked and the agency acknowledges this with a little extra petrol money.
     
  15. Mrs-Pip

    Mrs-Pip New commenter

    I don't agree, I get a lot of work from last minute calls and if they ring at 8.30 and the agency tell them that you an hours drive away then they expect you at 9.30. I've never found that a problem as I always make sure I tell them when I arrive what time I got the call in case the booking was forgotten by an agency etc. (As that has happened to me in the past!!!)
    The other week a headteacher almost hugged me when I arrived at 9.30, as she had rang the agency after 8.30. She didn't really expect me until 11am!!! I would advise to ALWAYS mention when you received the call.[​IMG]
     
  16. Thanks for that tip. I'll try it out next week. The schools around here start lessons at 8:30/8:45 so I'm not keen to be turning up flustered at breaktime! I know that some of the local agencies make ridiculous promises to schools and blame the staff for being unable to drive 20 miles through heavy traffic in 15 minutes or less.
     
  17. You have to watch being "the man who can". As they will sometimes put "the man who won't" in a nice position because you will put up with being "the man who can". Sadly, it's bums on seats = prizes for the agy.
     

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