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Is this normal for supply?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by lanokia, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    So I've just come from an interview for supply on a long term post after Christmas.

    I did the lesson, demonstrated I can teach, I was avuncular, charming etc. I had the interview and the agency tells me they didn't like my response to the question 'why do you want to work for....?' I just wanted to tell them about the bills and mortgages, but I waffled on instead about some guff. [sorry if that sounds dismissive].

    And then I get told I didn't get it.

    Now, thing is, they could employ me for two days after X-Mas and then say 'hey Lanokia we don't like you, don't come back tomorrow' and that'd be that.

    But I didn't get it, only candidate btw... not super-happy-chappy right now. Confused.
  2. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    @lanokia: I'm sorry to hear about what happened to you. Interviews for long-term supply through agencies can be tricky, as you have yet another player at the table whose cards you can only guess at. I wouldn't put too much store by the reason the agency gave you; they have to come up with something. It's probably down to money and someone cheaper being found; after all you were the only candidate, as far as you know.
    lanokia and pepper5 like this.
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I think Jolly_Roger may be right there. There may have been others considered- you were just the only person there at that time.
    Commiserations though. It is tough to think they don't want you.
    lanokia and pepper5 like this.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    They probably did you a favour. You could have gotten the job and hated it. There will be other jobs come along. Are you able to do day to day supply? That way you get to have a good look around a place before you take anything on long term.
    lanokia likes this.
  5. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Thanks folks... appreciate each one of your replies.

    And yeah, not too sure about the agencies response. Have to see I guess. Aye @pepper5 I plan on doing that but my DBS is taking... a very long time it seems.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. bonnie1

    bonnie1 Senior commenter

    When they say you're the only one, they probably mean the only one from that agency.
    les25paul, Lara mfl 05 and lanokia like this.
  7. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    I tend not to bother with "invites" for interviews with a long term supply post in mind. If either the school doesn't like you or you don't like the school its easy to terminate a placement by either side.

    In truth I don't want to spend time preparing lessons to be observed for a post I'm not that bothered about. And I most certainly don't want to lose a day's pay for it.
    lanokia and sebedina like this.
  8. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    Ianokia, if it is of any help, I also went for an interview for a possible long term position for January. I was rejected too.

    They said they had liked my resources but felt the "challege" was lacking (even though I did have a "challenge" task and my learning objectives were differentiated and I had a mixture of harder and easier questions etc.

    I find these interviews very hit and miss, mostly misses in my case! either I am not enthusiastic enough or whatever else is that I doing wrong/not doing I really have become indifferent and dis-interested.

    I think I need to avoid these interviews in the future as I always take it personally and feel quite low afterwards.
    lanokia likes this.
  9. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    From what people tell me guys it's VERY competitive right now for long term supply posts.

    They may well have different people from different agancies coming in for a while as others have said.
    lanokia likes this.
  10. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    The school might well be playing one agency off against another, keeping candidates dangling hoping to get a cheaper deal. I agree that elaborate interviews, observed lessons, etc., seem a bit pointless for what amounts to casual employment.

    As another poster said the other day, long-term positions can disappear on the day before you are due to start, often after you have written the SOWs and the LPs, so you might have had a lucky escape. Schools can keep on wheeler-dealing even after the supposedly preferred candidate has started.

    What the school might not have liked is that you are experienced, competent and, therefore, not so easy to push around. I went for one long-term supply interview from which the feedback relayed from the agency was that the school felt I was 'over-experienced'.

    As @peakster said, if schools can play these sorts of games, how does this square with the much-trumpeted shortage of teachers?
    lanokia likes this.
  11. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Thank you for all your replies

    Indeed, the thought has crossed my mind. But in my subject area there isn't much of a shortage. Now if I was Maths or Physics.... I suspect I'd be snapped up.
  12. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    @lanokia; I'm afraid the science teacher's grass isn't much greener; not here in London, anyway. I teach chemistry and nothing doing in the way of paid work.
  13. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter


    My agency is forever wanting me to go interviews most of which I'm not trained for, ie Primary.

    They did come up with 1 interview that seemed worthwhile. I could not, however, face a commute into Inner London with full workload for £120 a day. I worked out scale rate and they still wanted me to go ahead.

    I was told school wanted great resources that pupils could use for independent learning.

    Day was terrible. Given different year group, taught same lesson to same group after another candidate. The group had been taken out of DT because the proposed year group were out on a trip. I don't think they were too chuffed about that.

    The other 2 candidates had ignored prepare for independent learning or been given different instructions based on the brief conversations I had with them.

    I was sent home pre- interview because my lesson didn't engage children - relied on independent learning, would you believe, which wasn't suitable for their school.

    I don't know which of the other 2 from my agency got the job, if any. I felt that I had no chance when I was separated from them at start of the day. I suspect I was there in case the other two didn't turn up.

    On the other hand, I'm not sure I'd want to work in that school.

    I wouldn't go for another interview arranged again. I feel it takes too much time to prepare and leaves you unavailable for work. This year, however, there is no work....

    Good luck
  14. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    That is being set up to fail! If the school are that haphazard when interviewing candidates, it makes you wonder if they were really serious. It must be soul-destroying being told your observed lesson will be based on your ability to do certain things and then marking you down for doing them!
  15. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    The other thing which happened was that on the way to the lesson I was told I'd have a few minutes to set up. I had prepared a short PowerPoint and several handouts. The children were already in there having just had the same lesson from another candidate. As soon as I got in the same person said "Your 20 minutes start now". I couldn't get the computer to work, I had lots of handouts for group work, they had worksheets from previous lesson all over the place....and they were very obviously disengaged.
  16. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Thanks for the reply Jolly Roger. Yes, that was my feeling too.

    To be fair, I think with the Year Group being out on a trip that was genuine incompetence rather than sabotage. Still wouldn't want to work there...
  17. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Betting back to the main point,however.

    Yes, Lanokia. Your experience is ,sadly, typical.

    I'm not the biggest fan of my agency, but sometimes I think the schools are at fault. In my case, I think the agency acted in good faith on this occasion.

    I'm not doing any more interviews, however, unless I have applied directly myself for an advertised position.

    If schools want to interview they should advertise. If they want an agency to provide a long term teacher they should trust the agency. (Or at least, limit their distrust to checking out someone's cv rather than waste everyone's time).

    If they don't trust the agency, advertise. Or find another agency.
  18. bonnie1

    bonnie1 Senior commenter

    I think a lot of schools are just plain lazy. I taught at an outer London school once and was told that the school had spent £250,000 on agency teachers. think of the staff and equipment that could be bought with that, That was a few years ag now, who knows what the fee is today?
  19. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I went for a few agency interviews a couple of years ago. They were very variable. One of them I got the position within about 5 minutes on arriving on site and another one was just a disaster from start to finish. One school had agency teachers in every day for a week so I'm told before they appointed anyone.

    ...and yes I've also had a position disappear the day before I was due to start. That's one school I'll never deal with again. The irony is that the person they appointed lasted only a few weeks.
  20. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    My agency has occasionally set me up with trial days, albeit paid. The most recent one was at an absolute disaster area of a school where I was truly not prepared to be on a temporary contract, troubleshooting their problems for them. They never give you the job at the end. They just want an experienced teacher to restore order, they let you go on some fatuous grounds, then they throw another NQT to the lions the following September.
    Luckily this one was nearly an hour away from home so it gave me a good excuse to turn it down.

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