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In these turbulent times for supply. Being good is no longer good enough. Discuss

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by is2, Nov 19, 2015.

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  1. is2

    is2 Occasional commenter

    There is so little work available in supply now that I feel far too much is expected of supply teachers. Even last year, if you were reliable, turned up, were reasonably well organised, followed the cover work set by the absent teacher or head of department and disciplined to the best of your ability you would keep getting work most days. Now it seems you have to be a phenomenal cover teacher to get asked back. Still, a bit of a shame that being good is no longer enough and you have to completely burn yourself to be superior for something that is not even a permanent job with very little work available as we all know. The expectation of being phenomal at classroom management in such circumstances as general cover is very difficult unless you do not have a life outside of teaching and if you are not part of the regular teaching staff as students will play up to a teacher they do not know naturally, and sometimes you can invoke every strategy but it just won't work. I can understand why we are all so bitter. We were sold the fact that there is a shortage of teachers and there always will be and supply would always be a guarantee. I remember when I was a head of department in a permanent post some of the supply teachers were dreadful but kept getting asked back and just took register and dished out work left and did not attempt any behaviour control. THIS WAS ONLY 2 YEARS AGO. Unless you were utterly incompetent and unreliable for example, you did not turn up to class, turned up drunk etc you would get regular work as a supply teacher most days until possibly last year. Times have changed in a very short time and the expectations of supply teachers have risen dramatically in only the last year. Times have changed drastically and the expectations for outstanding supply teaches has only come about recently due to the phenomenal surplus of teachers and colossal downturn of supply in schools that they are only going to employ the supply equivalents of Robin WIlliams in dead poets society now. Shame that we are so pressurised as a society these days, and that being good is no longer good enough. Still I believe supply is finished and anyone who thinks otherwise is misguided. I have had information that most schools are trying not to hire any at all and if they do in an emergency they have to be outstanding practitioners making the job now almost as stressful and with too much expectations in the same way a permanent teacher is. Ridiculous. Opinions welcome.
  2. is2

    is2 Occasional commenter

    Supply is now as stressful as being a permanent teacher, however at least with being a permanent full time teacher you are guaranteed work. It's become a mugs game. Only 1.5 days work this year whereas last year I had work every day .
  3. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    This is about the fifth thread you've started on the same topic is2

    There is work available - as many others will tell you it's location, subject and reputation.

    We had two supplies in today.
    PizzoCalabro likes this.
  4. is2

    is2 Occasional commenter

    It's not actually. It's a different slant to a widespread malady.
  5. is2

    is2 Occasional commenter

    Or if your face fits or you are deemed politically acceptable by idiotic senior management. Little to do with whether you really are a good teacher
  6. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

  7. PizzoCalabro

    PizzoCalabro Established commenter

    Agree - is nonsense.
    How can you say that those getting work are not good teachers? It is the ultimate in meritocracy - schools pay us what we are worth to them, and we only get repeat bookings if they are happy with the work we do.
    You may have time-served for years getting automatic annual increments, but that does not mean that you can provide the quality of performance required for a specialised role of a supply teacher.
    I was told in school today that the DH had specifically requested me because the kids respect me and work in the lessons and behave. I get work by my reputation, and if I do a lousy job they won't ask for me back - they have plenty of others willing to work, and plenty of agencies offering alternatives.
  8. is2

    is2 Occasional commenter

    Most senior management tend to discriminate against very well qualified teachers whose faces do not necessarily fit and who have a unique approach. It is not rubbish at all. Of course that does not mean that if you get work you are a poor teacher. It is however a lot to do with politics and whether your face fits, and how psychophantic to senior management the teacher is. Im afraid to say that in the horrible cut throat world of school politics, senior management frequently label staff as not good and bully them just because they are not clones of the rest.
  9. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    PizzoCalabro likes this.
  10. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Come on chaps, there's nothing to see here. There was a time when people went to the Bedlam asylum to laugh at the patients in distress. We're better than that. It may well be that the original poster is overwrought. You're not helping.
    And no, Peakster psychopantic is not a word.
    Sycophantic means obsequiously pandering to one's superiors (how ironic) and we all know what a psychopath is. It's a road for cyclists.
  11. educ80

    educ80 Occasional commenter

    Without making this a personal or weighted attack I have to disagree with IS2 rather than agree with peakster.
    As a Supply agency manager I am called quite frequently by top scale, ex-SLT teachers wanting supply work. As an agency we pay to scale so their daily rate is set regardless, however my decision as to how much I utilise that teacher in the early days is not. If a teacher is enthusiastic, flexible, motivated and can communicate effectively (and all the other essentials are in place - dbs, good refs etc) then that person will probably feature high on my wish list and will get more work initially. If someone comes to me and is cantankerous, petulant, demanding and obstructive then they will not. However over the fullness of time those things will disappear and the schools feedback will be the deciding factor.

    Some schools may initially chose on cost but if I were to send them one cheap teacher per day for a week and they were all poor then they would soon ask for a top scale teacher, regardless of cost and sycophantic attitude. Equally if a school has always paid over the odds for top scale teachers and suddenly are given an NQT who impresses them hugely then they will ditch the top scale teacher, not because of price but because of quality and, inherently, value.

    If you are a good teacher, work hard, work with a good agency and represent yourself positively in the workplace then you should still find regular work. Like in most walks of life.
  12. dominant_tonic

    dominant_tonic Established commenter

    In my experience on a day to day supply basis the heads don't have anything to do with it unless something goes drastically wrong.I'm intrigued by this 'unique approach.' What is it you do that is so different? If you have identified it as being a problem is it not something you could change in order to get more work?

    If you are in a school one day a week for four weeks, you'd be lucky to see the head, let alone them label you (in secondary at least).

    I have always had plentiful supply, so you need to make potential supply teachers aware that your posts are very generalised. I teach music in Wales, and have had full time supply practically this year, and about to be taken on by the school I am currently in. All of our schools use agencies and won't take on direct, so money is not a consideration as they pay more or less flat rate. Again in my experience, schools appreciate someone that follows policy, chases things up, integrates with the staff and generally tries to function as part of the community (on long-term). Short term, they just want someone to keep bums on seats, but it is up to you whether you take this to heart and do just that, or keep things as professional as you can.

    You do imply that it is nothing to do with whether you are good at your job, even though you backtrack on that later. I am good at my job. I leave feedback for the teachers, I give detentions, I instruct and encourage, I alert staff to any problems when they arise, and I hold myself responsible for my own standards. I could of course do nothing all day or do the bare minimal, but those that organise cover are not stupid and soon get to know this.

    I really enjoy supply teaching, and these posts are generally just so negative I wanted to redress the balance.

    I am sorry you are having such a difficult time finding work. Are you actively doing anything about that or are you looking for other types of work now?
  13. is2

    is2 Occasional commenter

    Hi Dominic
    Thank You for your very encouraging post. Things have picked up a little, I had two days last week and am booked for two this week so at least I am getting something, although it is minimal in comparison to last year.
    I agree with what you say. The old supply style was very laxisaisical, and perhaps people need to realise that in order to get work a lot as a supply teacher, one generally does need to make as much effort as the permanent as cover are not stupid.
  14. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi is2

    I am so pleased that work is picking up for you and trust is starts to pick up more. I know how hard it is when there isn't much work about and it is great to hear that some is doing in for you.
    is2 likes this.
  15. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I agree with what you say. The old supply style was very laxisaisical, and perhaps people need to realise that in order to get work a lot as a supply teacher, one generally does need to make as much effort as the permanent as cover are not stupid.[/QUOTE]

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  16. is2

    is2 Occasional commenter

  17. is2

    is2 Occasional commenter

    [This comment/section has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions]
  18. splinters

    splinters Established commenter

    I must be lucky. I am on long term supply and a lot of staff were off today. In briefing the head said they had rung a supply agency and they had no supply staff left...they rang a second agency and managed to get just one but we had to double up some lessons. Maybe its busier in south yorkshire?
    As for the Head, he came to see me at lunch in my room to tell me he would love to keep me on but that I was expensive and they couldnt afford another teacher. He said they had written me a glowing reference and would be sad to see me go and asked if I would come back next term to help 'premoderate' the coursework.
    Not saying this is normal but just wanted to add something positive to the thread.
  19. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    That was situation normal at the agency I worked for a couple of years ago. In fact last year we couldn't get anyone from an agency because everyone was out.

    It will pick up again soon.
  20. TES_Community

    TES_Community Administrator

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