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Leaving no notes/plans for supply teacher??

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by littlest4r, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. Hello I'm an NQT. Today one of my colleagues was off sick, and so a supply was called in for her class. She'd left no plans at all, and so was told to do a stand alone lesson in literacy and just sort of told her what unit they had been working on (this was about half an hour before the children arrived). The other teachers in my year, and the LSAs later said in the staff room about how the supply seemed really uncomfortable and they couldn't understand why because 'surely she should have some stand alone lessons up her sleeve and expect this kind of thing!' - I have to say, I was shocked. Is this usual practice? I've not actually had a day off ill before, but if I was ill, I would certainly leave at least some rough notes telling the supply what I'd like them to do!
     
  2. Hello I'm an NQT. Today one of my colleagues was off sick, and so a supply was called in for her class. She'd left no plans at all, and so was told to do a stand alone lesson in literacy and just sort of told her what unit they had been working on (this was about half an hour before the children arrived). The other teachers in my year, and the LSAs later said in the staff room about how the supply seemed really uncomfortable and they couldn't understand why because 'surely she should have some stand alone lessons up her sleeve and expect this kind of thing!' - I have to say, I was shocked. Is this usual practice? I've not actually had a day off ill before, but if I was ill, I would certainly leave at least some rough notes telling the supply what I'd like them to do!
     
  3. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    I'm a secondary supply so not so up with primary but what you could do is get together a stash of 'emergency' stand alone activities, maybe some a couple of literacy sheets and some numeracyand the like, a mix and match bag so that if you ever are unwell and can't leave cover theres a day or so's work and it's all mixed. It gives a supply something to run with and then if they want they can adapt things you've left or run with work a colleague of yours sorts out.
     
  4. zenmonkey

    zenmonkey New commenter

    as an experienced supply teacher yes I do often have many stand alone lessons but that is the result of experience of being dropped in it a few times , it does sound like your colleages have forgotten that supply teachers have to learn the ropes as well.
    as regards the the etiquette of the situation, my views are that the more info the better but do not think it would be inappropriate to offer the supply the chance to do one of their own lessons. Sometimes being just given a vague instruction which one feels compelled to attempt to teach with out enough resources or planning is less effective than a tryed and tested lesson that is a curricular detour.
    As a supply, to me the most important thing is that what the school wants is effectively communicated, I had one teacher who pinned a lesson plan to a notice board I did not know existed. On another occasion I found clear instruction to do a dull but clear text book related copying task. however 10 minutes into the lesson I discovered the teacher who was absent, had been so for 3 weeks and the scribbled instructions (Not dated) had been recycled 3 times with the pliable pupils filling thier books with the same text. Then there are the teachers who leave instructions which are reliant on the whiteboard or other IT expecting a colleage to do the cover but they get a supply who has no loggin,
    The absolute worst is that dreaded phrase" the children know what they are doing" I am sure with in the confines of normal lessons and school discipline systems the pupils can be mature and helpful
    but with a stranger, with the possibility of a sitoff or a video in the offing you get complete amnesia and a conflict situation as a starter.
    Anyway it is at least nice that you have consideded the supplys position, so many teachers think its just like what they do and it most definetly is not.


     
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I work in a school as a 1-1 tutor and occasional cover teacher. I occasionally get dropped in it and have to cover a class at short notice. I've noticed the planning (if it is there) is not very detailed. I have no idea which groups there are (if any). And don't get me started on the limited resources in the class and a bizarre rule on rubbers. I'm not sure as to how to explain how this makes teaching a bit difficult without sounding critical of my colleagues.
    As someone who does supply, I do have one off lessons. I think teachers should be asked to take over someone's class just to see what it can be like.
     
  6. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Of course its preferable if work has been set so that the students can continue to make progress without the setback of their normal teacher But I don't think it unreasonable for a Supply Teacher to have to "wing it" occasionally if no work has been set. Very often Supply is called in at the last minute as an emergency and it is not always possible to set work. Its part of the "craft " of a Supply Teacher.
    Naturally this only really applies if you are covering your subject, it becames a lot more difficult if you are outside your specialism.
    Maybe the teacher in question is new to supply but she will quickly learn what to expect in this role (which could be anything).
     
  7. I tend to mentally take the line that a planned absence with a "oh I thought you'd want to do your own thing" is a cop-out, a sickness (particularly a Monday morning sickness so the weekly plan might well not have made it into school yet) and I tend to anticipate needing a backup plan of my own stuff... doesn't always happen, I know when I was full-time we had two teachers per year group so would always help sort work out for the other class if one of us was off, but it's more of a likelihood. I've always viewed having the ability to do something constructive with the kids for the day as a key part of being a good supply.
     
  8. I do know of one head who told his staff not to leave any work for a supply teacher because "they get paid enough"
     
  9. Do something on... is always the worst thing a teacher can tell a supply teacher to do.
    Detailed lesson plans, yes I can follow them even if I have to read them WHILST teaching if I get a late call.
    Do your own thing, yes I have a stash of tried and tested lessons, but my bag is not a tardis. It cannot possibly hold a lesson plan for every single aspect of a topic.
    My biggest request for class teachers is please, put up a timetable and a list of the groups the children are in with some indication as to which is the top and which the bottom set. We don't necessarily know that Adelie penguins are higher in ability than chinstraps and lower than rockhoppers.
     
  10. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Agree totally.
    I figured out my son is in the lowest maths group - I noticed his group (named after a shape) was the bottom named one. Teacher logic for you - top at the top and bottom at the bottom.
    I have been into class on supply and have been given worksheets for HA, MA and LA. But no actual clue as to which group was which. No TA to ask and I could not very well ask the children. I think I might have done that in the end in a round about way[​IMG]
     
  11. Given the shocking rate of supply teacher pay, plans and resources should always be left.

    Supply teachers are there to cover, not to start searching in untidy classrooms for what may or may not be happening that day. Obviously, if it's sickness cover, then if the class is more than one form entry, colleagues can help and they usually try. If not, schools cannot gossip and become critical if a supply teacher makes up everything for the day. Most sensible supplies will look in exercise books to see the core subject teaching and just do more of that. No harm done. No harm either to do a bit of art related to a humanities topic or some outdoor ball games, if nothing else. Supply teaching is a hard graft, poorly paid, if not exploited by the dreaded agencies.
     
  12. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    123v456m

    What you say is true especially since on supply the conditions can be stressful and the priority is usually to get the classes settled; if you are in a class that is taking some time to get settled, then the brain is under stress it is a lot harder to try and think up a cover lesson from scratch when under stress.
     
  13. Alice1965

    Alice1965 New commenter

    As I have done supply for years I can usually sort something out on the spur of the moment, however I find most schools do provide planning for supply now much more than a few years ago. My advice to anyone in this situation is to ask where the planning and resources are and when told there is none, look them in the eye and say the agency told you all planning was in place and ask THEM what they want You to do. It has always worked for me.
     
  14. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Sorry if I'm being the irritating newbie to supply....but I can't help but find comments like this a big negative. I'm in secondary, so I don't know if it's different in primary. However, when a teacher is off ill, I would never think about criticising the teacher for not leaving notes for cover. They are OFF SICK. Why would they DO their job when they are too ill? If they were well enough to be at work, they'd be doing it themselves instead of a supply teacher being in.

    Perhaps it would be better to criticise the school for not having better plans in place when teachers are absent through illness?



    I didn't have a day off sick in my NQT year either. Perhaps because I was only on 80% of other teachers' timetables. I find you remark a little in bad taste to be honest. You cannot plan when you are ill, and your colleague may have been taken ill suddenly. It's down to the line manager to make arrangements in their absence. You sound quite judgemental to be honest.

    Now that I'm a supply (after 10 years full time), I view my job as making the class teacher's life as easy as possible. I know how stressful it is to be off sick, worrying what you're going to return to when you come back. I like to think that when they return, they feel relived that I'd left their classroom in a decent state and have used my initiative to do something productive and useful with the children.
     
  15. Riverhorse

    Riverhorse New commenter

    Eva_Smith, it's not the ill teacher's job to provide cover work for supply teachers (although a lot of schools these days put a immense pressure on teachers to do so), it is in fact the responsibility of the Head of Department to do so.

    Having said that, I was called mid-morning today to spend the afternoon at a local primary school (I'm a secondary languages specialist...) with no work set for the afternoon as a teacher had gone home ill. The normal activity for the afternoon was to be music. Hmmmm. Thank goodness I had half an hour before they came back from lunch and was able to throw together a quick introductory French lesson with lots of singing and games. I have a fun song (The 3 Little Pigs in French, I kid you not) that I tend to recycle a lot so at least I was able to pull something out of my sleeve fairly quickly!
     
  16. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter



    Yes, I believe that's exactly what I said. I was criticising the OP's opinion that the ill teacher is somehow failing in their job/responsibility if they didn't leave cover work.
     
  17. casper

    casper New commenter

    It is really horrible when you are really sick and off work and having to send in cover work. As far as I am concerned it is the responsibility of the HOD. I used to have a spare set of work in drawers for each key stage level to be used in case of emergency. If the spare work had to be used I would replace it with another set of work, enough for a class. I have had to magic lessons out of a hat especially on one occasion recently when I was sent into a class late. Bottom set year 9 RE last lesson of the day. I found something for them to do while I looked up resources on TES and found something that was ideal. it saved the day. I was able to do this as this particular school have an agency log in and I had access to the internet. Phew !!
     
  18. PizzoCalabro

    PizzoCalabro Established commenter

    Login - yes!

    I was in a school today where supply staff are not allowed a login - shame because it turned out that the work that had been left ( exercise from a text book) I actually have some fab resources based on that on a memory stick that I could have delivered, had I a login...
     
  19. casper

    casper New commenter

    Yep, and how many times have I had staff leave DVD ;s for the ;lesson with no login to use to put the DVD on in the first place. Oh and I have also heard this a few times.... Any problems send me an e mail and let me know??? Or just fill in the behaviour onSIMS... Yah right. it is great when someone has thought of it and left login details,.
     
  20. elvispenhaligon

    elvispenhaligon New commenter

    An old nightmare scenario. I find it says more about the school than the poor old supply.

    If I got stuck and no-one could help me out, I'd split them into groups and get them debating various topics from the front. As science, it's important to explore reasoning and thinking in detail.....it's not done nearly enough in the normal curriculum. SO, it's not a wasted lesson, it's actually entertaining and enriching in all sorts of ways. The list of topics is endless.

    however, it does take balls to go for it.
     

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