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Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by stuart54, Oct 24, 2018.


As a supply teacher, do you mark students' work?

  1. Always

    13 vote(s)
  2. Never

    1 vote(s)
  3. When on long-term placements

    13 vote(s)
  4. If I have free time during the day

    4 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. stuart54

    stuart54 New commenter

    I have recently begun working for an agency in my local area and have thus far been posted to three different secondary schools.

    I have enjoyed the challenge of "hitting the ground running", being welcomed by the cover manager, given a copy of the school's policies, and thrown straight into the classroom, sometimes teaching every year group throughout the day, and almost always with classes of 30 students of more.

    In most cases, lesson plans and worksheets have been left for me to use throughout the day and I work through these diligently with the students, sometimes even picking up text books and learning/revising the topic quickly, so that I can help students or explain things more clearly (e.g. I re-learned how to find the nth term in maths the other day!)

    My question is how to deal with marking. From my point of view, I'm not really paid enough to do the marking, especially when I've taught 150 students throughout the day. On top of this, I am not usually a subject specialist and so I do not feel competent to mark the students' work (I worry that I may mark something as correct, when in fact it is incorrect). Indeed, many classes start with a 'Do Now' task, and I sometimes have to rely on students being correct, as I personally do not know the answers and the teacher has not included them in the PowerPoint.

    If I was to mark the students work, I'd therefore have to read through their work alongside module revision guides in order to determine whether their work is correct. When covering a recent English lesson, the students had to write an essay based on a novel they had read. In this instance, it would have been extremely difficult for me to mark the work, as I am personally unfamiliar with the novel and so any feedback I provided would be of no particular benefit to the student in terms of relating to the novel.

    So, the general rule seems to be that supply teachers should mark books. I would like to know how many of you actually do this? I understand that in a long-term role, it comes with the territory of essentially fulfilling the role of a permanent staff member, but what about when we undertake short-term roles (one or two days at one school, then a couple of days at another, etc.)?
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    In Primary, it is expected that work is marked and 'notes' left for the teacher to inform their planning / change of planning for the following day. We even often have a 'Marked by supply teacher' stamp, to inform any book scrutiny that marking was not done by the teacher,

    however I think Secondary, especially when teaching outside one's subject expertise is much more problematic. Certainly if I marked, I would initial and say (supply teacher) to avoid any repercussions for the teacher. If on long-term, more than a eek, I would definitely be asking for answers and a marking guide.
    tolkien28, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  3. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I did some marking in secondary - it was appreciated.
  4. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    If I was you I would always take the books home to mark properly. You can then drop them off the next morning, on your way to your next gig at a different school.
    Everyone else always does this. Those that claim they don't are probably just fibbing, the little scamps!
  5. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    When I do primary supply I always mark the books and leave a message for the teacher to let them know how the class were, who worked really well and if there were any problems.

    Day to day secondary I never mark the work as it’s usually not my specialism.

    Long term in secondary it’s my subject and I mark books on a regular basis in line with that school’s marking policy.
    install, Lara mfl 05 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  6. supply287

    supply287 New commenter

    Manage your time. Marking can be making a mark to show that the regular teacher didn't mark it so they're not responsible. Fair use of your time. What would be best for pupils that you can give? - fair to you, in your time.
  7. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    I’ve only ever done secondary, and the only time I marked worked was when I was in long term posts in my specialism. When setting cover work I have never expected it to be marked by a supply (again, secondary).
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    In primary, you are expected to st least mark the numeracy and literacy work.

    I work in secondary and I never mark books on day to day supply as it would take forever. No one in nine years has ever complained. If it is something like maths and the teacher has left the answers then I will have the students mark their own work.
  9. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    On long term secondary placements you are expected to mark any work you have set. On daily secondary placements I would use peer marking or marking together as a class when it was applicable also leaving a note for the absent teacher or HOD saying what had been done. This was always appreciated by the school and often lead to me being asked back. You can also do a bit of marking during the lesson whilst walking around the class, some kids really liked this,

    On primary cover you are expected to mark everything all the time. So I avoided any primary placements.
    agathamorse, Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  10. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    we have a general expectation that the supply will do one hours marking after school, however much that ends up being or not being
    agathamorse, Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  11. Lucilla90

    Lucilla90 Occasional commenter

    When I did supply it was £60 for a morning and £50 for an afternoon gross pay on day-to-day.

    I did marking at break time amd lunch time, even though not paid for lunch time. It was expected in my agency agreement. But as to staying an hour after school, I would have wanted to be paid for that .
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    I assume this is a comedy response?
  13. jamtart20

    jamtart20 New commenter

    The expectation to mark at primary is purely ridiculous. Unless long term you're not paid to scale, so why the expectation?

    One agency I work for doesn't insist on marking (albeit in secondary) whereas a rival makes it an insistence. Guess who I thankfully don't do work for?

    Having been covered myself in primary, I normally found myself having to mark the work (or if absent for more than a day, leave it unmarked), particularly if SLT had to step in. I guess management are too busy to do it.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  14. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    The thing is in Primary the next day's planning will be influenced by the pupil's progress in that lesson and without marking and feedback the teacher may move on , not realising they may need to go over some points. Or even better jump on.

    It's different to Sec. when there are a set number of lessons to be taught and planning is much more fluid.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  15. jamtart20

    jamtart20 New commenter

    To alleviate copious marking in primary, do one of two things:

    • Mark books in lessons - instant feedback is so much more effective, or related to this,
    • Write "verbal feedback given" in every book - set of books done in 5 minutes or so
    agathamorse, pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  16. MOfan

    MOfan New commenter

    I work in Primary and always mark. Having been a 'proper class teacher' for many years I know exactly what it's like to be on the end of a grumpy member of SLT doing book scrutinies. I often get asked back to schools and I think this is one of the main reasons why. I'm still amazed when I see fellow supply teachers walking out of the door at 3.30pm just minutes after the children have left.

    Having said that, you can't obviously be expected to mark exactly in line with the school marking policy as you don't know it (I only know of one school that has handed me their marking policy as I've walked in!). I always use the same colours etc but I would never bother to put any extension, correction or 'next steps' type comments. For starters, it probably won't even be followed up, so would be a complete waste of time. If you're running out of time, at the very least write 'supply' at the bottom of the page so SLT know that the lesson wasn't taught by the regular teacher.
    agathamorse, pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. Northern_Miss

    Northern_Miss New commenter

    My agency requires us to mark. I mark anything done in books or which I'm led to believe will later be stuck in books. I don't mark artwork, posters or booklets for display etc.

    If the day is unplanned when I arrive, I lead non-marking activities in the afternoon (ICT, Art, Music etc). I try to get everything marked, marking at lunch etc, but if it's not all done an hour after school finishes I usually leave. I don't get paid enough to stay longer...

    I mark using whatever colour is currently in the books and to whatever standard I can see in the books. I've just ordered a 'taught by supply' stamp to put in books as well, so will start using that when it arrives.
    agathamorse, Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  18. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    It is a disgrace that primary teachers do not get paid for that extra hour they have to stay behind and mark books, but I never see that changing. NM's strategy is what I would do if I taught primary: spend one hour and no longer.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  19. Northern_Miss

    Northern_Miss New commenter

    Forgot to say that I get the children to mark Maths and Grammar lessons where possible (at the end of the lesson) - just make sure to demonstrate what a 'good' tick looks like (appearance/size) first. This way, all I have to do is put a big tick at the bottom of the page, or an instruction for corrections.
    pepper5, Lara mfl 05 and agathamorse like this.
  20. MOfan

    MOfan New commenter

    I sometimes stay a little longer but 4.45pm is my cut-off time. Although having now read everyone else's replies I think that's being too generous with my time...
    agathamorse and Northern_Miss like this.

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