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I've finally done it!

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by skye78, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. skye78

    skye78 New commenter

    After returning to supply due to necessity of finding casual work yet again, I've finally quit! Supply teaching is a thankless task these days. Getting up very early, the anxious wait for the phone to ring when part of you realises you need the money, but most of you doesn't want the call to come through...

    The lack of work, the fact that my agency decided to take £20 off my daily rate without consulting me, being sent to schools an hour or more away, no work being set, unruly classes becoming the norm, rudeness an accepted part of being a supply teacher and no thanks for the incredibly hard job we do.

    The final straw came this morning. Asked to go to a very difficult school 45 miles from me, cover for the day and get paid 50% of my daily rate (i.e. cover supervisory rate) and when I refused, the consultant snapped at me and hung up!

    So I've quit. No job to go to, I don't care. I'll look at admin work, supermarket work, anything but education. I don't want to be rich. Just earn enough to get by and be happy in life. Supply offers none of that.

    I just want to finish by saying how much I respect everyone on this forum. Supply teaching is so challenging. And lonely. You have my total respect if you continue to work in supply. I really do mean that.

    Here's to the future!
    majoreazy, pepper5, speaker2 and 9 others like this.
  2. alsoamum

    alsoamum Occasional commenter

    Too true and good for you!

    Have you considered online teaching, private tuition or educational resource authoring?

    I do a mish mash of all of these over the year and clear just under what I was earning on UPS1 in fewer hours with less stress. It can be a little unpredictable but nothing like supply. I've just taken the dog on a lovely walk and will write an exam paper this morning before our afternoon walk and some tutoring after school.
  3. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Well done you. It's hard to just give up but clearly the best decision in your case.

    A much deeper philosophical question, and one for the schools and politicians answer, is
    "What would it take for you to come back?"

    Strongly suspect I know your answer to that but when will the schools and politicians try to even consider asking it, let alone contemplating an answer?
  4. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    Oh goodness- it’s all such a mess. I’m hanging on to Supply by my bootstraps and have only managed three days this term. However, I have a lot of conditions ( no early morning calls, only certain schools, don’t do Mondays....) so it’s no wonder I’m not inundated with work. I have a few schools that I like going to but I’ve had nothing from them yet- budget cuts, I suppose. It’s a crazy way to earn a living and I’m so lucky not to need the money. I just want to keep my hand in. Good luck @skye78 - there is life after teaching!
  5. MissGeorgi

    MissGeorgi Occasional commenter

    Sounds like a very unprofessional agency. Or, at least daft, for losing a teacher over a relatively small amount of cash.

    I dig my heels in something chronic regarding pay. I will always push for the best rate. I will argue over an extra £5. I will always check exactly what I have been paid, and keep a diary of what I’ve earned. I have been with my agency for years, so I have earned a reputation of working hard. But I totally understand that in some areas this isn’t possible.

    I have in mind to have a few months off and then contact schools directly.
  6. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Ditto but I sometimes wonder if I'm a super negotiator or merely benefitting from a shortage subject. Or, additionally, benefitting from actually negotiating at all in a world of non-negotiators.
    Impressive that you've stayed with just the one and v.v. I've got 6 on the go and at least 5 are useless at any one time.
    suggest you launch a charm offensive with as many Cover Organisers and HR people as you can, starting now. When I've tried this excellent idea, I've failed totally for these reasons
    1. Cover Organisers like to pick up the phone and get someone with one phone call. Agencies can offer a large number of people, I can only offer myself. I've tried to offset this with regular updating of my availability but that failed once the old LA supply lists ended.
    2. HR is bleeding useless and/or lazy and won't step up for the bit of extra work that checking DBS and arranging pay requires. Even though they do this every September for a lot of staff.
    3. Agencies spend a lot of time schmoozing the Cover Organiser at schools you need something special about you so you move up the list on the Cover Organisers' desks.
    I'm rather negative but you should go for it. It definitely needs to be the future for supply, not agencies.
  7. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @skye78: A ninety mile round trip would eat a good chunk of anything your earned as a CS.
    tonymars and catbefriender like this.
  8. MissGeorgi

    MissGeorgi Occasional commenter

    John, I agree with you on many points. I’m not entirely sure how I will go about my freelance supply plan yet, but i’m working on it!
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  9. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    In order to keep you sanity in a totally insane world, I agree that you have to set your own standards such as not accepting pay below X, not working as a CS, last minute panic bookings except if paid at X etc.

    Because if you don't, it can really do you in.

    Standing firm is the only way and too many teachers are getting extremely ill due to being too flexible. Flexibility often doesn't pay. Perhaps being flexible for only one day a week may be an option, but definitely not 5.

    Agencies have to get schools to get organised so that the chaos doesn't land in teachers' homes.
  10. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    I think, in primary anyway, the use of HLTAs has sounded the death knell of supply teaching. So many people (including my agency consultant) are telling me that this is accepted practice. My consultant has suggested, rather optimistically, that doing this will soon become unsustainable and there will then be a demand for qualified teachers. Hmmm, watch this space. I'd like to know why the unions seem to be complicit in this state of affairs.
    tonymars and agathamorse like this.
  11. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Could you not try other agencies ?
    pepper5, tonymars and JohnJCazorla like this.
  12. skye78

    skye78 New commenter

    Thank you for all your replies. Very interesting to read so many points of view. As for trying another agency, I've tried most of them around me...which isn't the most populated of areas...and it's the same story every time. Taking more of a cut from the school than before, paying supply teachers less, unrealistic expectations regarding commuting distances on top of being sent to the schools which nobody will go to...for good reason I might add.

    I've been unhappy for a while now so it's time to move on.
  13. pwtin

    pwtin Star commenter

    I have been there so many times, you want the money but in the end do not really want the call.
    The days you really want the call the phone never rings.
    The times I have been unable to work, but those are always the days the calls would come.
    It is no way to live.
    Well done for making the decision, I hope you can stick to it.
  14. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    I must admit I am close to calling it a day, I have been offered potential bank teaching work with a sen residential school organisation, if my references are acceptable, but that is likely to be in the New Year.. But I fed up with the lies from the agencies, the growing poor behaviour of students, the lack of common sense and control of senior management, the lack of work (which is extremely poor this year) and the fact that schools expect you to work for virtually free. The Bank work seems an option, but I am now thinking long-term and I am wondering if teaching, especially supply is an long-term option.
  15. skye78

    skye78 New commenter

    It's so sad isn't it. People being pushed out of the system because of everything you correctly stated. The lack of work has been very noticeable of late for me too. Turning up to find absolutely nothing left for the students. Drawers locked so no chance of finding spare paper, etc. No access to the interactive whiteboard nor being able to log on in most places so no chance of finding something not in one's specialist area quickly online, so on and so forth. It's the penny pinching agencies for me though, expecting more and paying less. 12 years ago I got more per day than I have been on of late. I also got my fuel reimbursed at a very good rate. Again that has stopped.

    No. Enough is enough. I will never set foot in a school again. And after more than two decades of teaching, that is a pity. However life is way too short.
  16. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Good luck Skye in whatever you do.
    pepper5, tonymars and agathamorse like this.
  17. pwtin

    pwtin Star commenter

    You are so right, nearly 20 years ago when I first started on supply I was getting paid more than I do now with most agencies. It is ridiculous.
  18. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    I've been into a challenging school today and I've realised a few things. I've realised I can cope with the laziness, rudeness, non compliance and general bear baiting of your average ropey school. That is as long as I know that I'm in my car at three thirty on the way home.

    What I can't deal with is all of the above plus constant scrutiny and pressure from managers twice removed from reality.

    I've also realised why the behaviour teams always seem so calm when dealing with kids. It's because they don't actually have to teach them anything or be held to account for the students results!

    Good luck on your escape. If you find anything paying over a grand and a half a month that doesn't involve permanent teaching then please share on here!
    olegunner, pepper5, tonymars and 4 others like this.
  19. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Congratulations. Hope everything works out for you.

    I’ve decided that I will do this year. Back to Cover Supervisor yesterday...I’e decided it does rankle having had a few days at a Teacher rate just before half term. Although, it does take the pressure off - I’m not paid enough to perform miracles...And I won’t try as hard as usual to do so.

    Next year new job search in earnest....
    pepper5, agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  20. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Having done supply for about 16 years I fully sympathize with all the vagaries and difficulties of supply and well remember the feeling of dread waiting for the phone to ring, not really anting it to, because of what might be waiting for me.

    The 'other side' of me is just so sad that a once respected profession is losing so many talented teachers and I worry for the children/ students. Who will be left to provide that good quality education which we hope they'd receive? :(

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