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My Horrible Day

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by pepper5, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Thanks for taking the time to post les25paul and sharing your experiences. Science teachers are thin on the ground, so students should be grateful to have you teach them. Some students complain when they don't have subject specialists but even when they do some still complain. If the head of Harvard University's science department showed up, some would still think it not good enough.

    I used to think a lot of the bad behaviour was just kids being silly, but now I realise much of it is mean in nature: mocking people, breaking equipment, and defiance with an entitlement attitude.

    The times when they demand pens like I am a waitress or a servant. I've seen hours and hours of nasty and defiant behaviour. How did schools get to be places like this? The frightening thing for me is that worse things have happened to other teachers. In some ways I have been sheltered.
    ams00 likes this.
  2. splinters

    splinters Established commenter

    Sorry to hear you had a bad day. Mine was exhausting but, as a DT teacher the practical demands of a Year 11 class can be overwhelming especially when they have no idea what they are doing due to a constant stream of supply teachers over the year. They can be rude but I remind them I might be their beat chance at a decent grade and send the disruptive ones out to another class to 'revise'.
    Its not ideal but I wont have those who want to do well held back by one or two idiots.
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. splinters

    splinters Established commenter

    Remember pepper...no two days are the same and its not personal; you are just a new face to vent their frustrations on.
  4. indusant

    indusant Senior commenter

    There are many factors at play but really I think that it is symptomatic of the unhealthy state of the education system as whole. More pressure and stress leads to more teachers going off which leads to more and more instability which leads to a deterioration in behaviour. Many SLTs are burying their heads in the sand and analysing data rather than focusing on improving the standard of behaviour across the school. This, coupled with the consumerist society we are in where kids are all too aware of their rights but not of their responsibilities. Everything has a knock on effect. It has all led to a perfect storm of conditions and supply teachers are just some of those in the roughest parts of it.
    Jane Austen and pepper5 like this.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi splinters

    Thanks for your post; it is kind of you to take the time.

    After six years, it is a bit hard not to take it personally and I have had many, many days of good thankfully, but the bad are starting to be more than good. Broken rulers, glue thrown across the room, mobile phones, and defiant behaviour is what is grinding me down.

    indusant's analysis is right in that the factors are complex why schools are like this and soon no one is going to want to teach in them.

    I'm pretty sure I have had enough and in the new year will look for something outside supply teaching. My hair is starting to shed and I think it is partly due to the stress of the behaviour. Obviously, for me, it is time to go.

    Last year I noticed the behaviour was starting to deteriorate and this year it is just a shade worse. It is never going to improve....only get worse and I will be relieved when I am out. I want to find something else to do while I still have some good memories and I am not a complete broken shell. If you have time, read some of the sad stories over on work place dilemmas. Although my situation is bad, there are others with a lot worse - making less than me with students threatening to slit their throats. Who wouldn't want out????
  6. is2

    is2 Occasional commenter

    I'm sorry to hear about this.
    Supply teaching can be draining.
    Yesterday I had a similar situation. Periods 1 to 5 were excellent. Hard working and nice students.
    Periods 6 to 10 were terrible however. No work was left for two really difficult bottom set classes. Is it just me or is it always the really terrible classes that seem to never have work left for them, and the poor supply teacher has to rustle something up and pick up the pieces? This seems to happen a lot.
    I hope you have a better day today. In these classes I threw together something lesson wise, yet the students were awful and no matter what strategy I implemented they just would not behave. At one point a fight even broke out between two students.
    It is absolutely nothing to take personally. Heads of Departments need to take responsibility here I feel, and especially acknowledge when the really challenging classes have no permanent teacher that and make a special effort to leave plenty of suitable work for those classes.
    I am sure you will have a better day today. Best wishes to you.
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Thank you so much for your reply. I am sorry you also had a bad day. At least most of your classes behaved. I shall now now you what happened today.

    Period 1 - a brilliant year 7 working hard and behaving wonderfully.

    Period 2 small group of year 11s finishing off work. A bit chatty, but mostly working.

    Then....the class from you know where...Year 11s...disrespectful, eating in class, mobile phones out, won't stop talking so I can take the register, won't listen go instructions, at one point they were singing Silent Night.... I called for help and the head of year came and spoke to them. They finally settled, but it was another horrible class.

    Period 4...an ok group of year 9s

    Going back again tomorrow....I need the money.

    Thanks again for all who have sent kind words...
  8. PizzoCalabro

    PizzoCalabro Established commenter

    Having had no voice after yesterday was dreading a day of drama today. And the lesson plans left were so unreal it made me laugh - looked like they had been written for a Ofsted inspection of a small class of angelic, robotic university students with a deep theoretical knowledge of drama conventions, no way was it intended for the rabble classes I had!
    So I ignored it, and made up some stuff, and also explained I had no voice and needed a student to speak for me. They loved it, no shortage of volunteers and were miles better than usual, and I even got thanks at the end. So in future I will just do the thing that will get them working, regardless of the rubbish left. I realise that the regular teacher actually doesn't want the kids to do well in a supply lesson so I will make as many of them as I can achieve something In revenge :)
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi pizzo

    Hope your voice recovers soon. I haven't lost my voice in ages since I stopped going to the worst schools in town where most of the lessons were horrible not just the odd ones.

    I must learn some new things to do in drama classes.

    Some of the worst cover work is set by drama teachers, but don't ask me why.
  10. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    I'm glad today was better for you,Pepper.

    Last year I had some horrible Year 9s in an open plan computer room. Random Year 10s wandering in and shouting foul language ( this did get followed up.)

    Two lessons DT in a row - cover work Design a Christmas card. They had the same cover lesson previously so were all able to show me completed work at the flick of a switch...

    On another topic - if you are thinking of doing something else... There are still some graduate schemes still open ( some to all ages) this year, eg NHS Management.. Might be worth looking at if you're thinking of a career change.

    Hope it all works out. Take care.
    pepper5 likes this.
  11. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    And then they wonder why the supply 'can't handle the classes'. Cover work like this does nothing to help. I suspect even their 'normal teacher' might have trouble making that lesson work successfully and trouble-free.

    Good one PizzoCalabro! (missing thumbs up icon!)
    emmalcm1 likes this.
  12. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Deirds

    Thanks for taking the time to post. Dreadful Year 9s in an open plan computer suite with no appropriate work makes me shudder. Poor you. At least they didn't break into singing Silent Night, but that would have been an alternative to the foul language.

    Thanks for the tips about NHS Management and I might well look into that if I am pushed to the extreme edge. What web site would I go to to get more information?

    I really do think the time will come when schools are going to be struggling to find anyone to work in them. I'm only going back tomorrow since I am desperate for the money and behind with some commitments I must pay. On the bright side, at least I have work and my other agency had work for me today, so I could have worked elsewhere.

    Are you still teaching? I can't remember whether you are or whether you said you now do something entirely different.

    If I do leave teaching, I've had six years and taught hundreds if not thousands of students, so that is no bad track record.
  13. emmalcm1

    emmalcm1 Established commenter

    A lot of the work I set for my classes today was absolute rubbish, not to mention none existent for one lesson. This was in a school where all cover work is sent by email. No one had bothered sending it or would reply to my emails. I had also been moved classrooms away from the department so it wasn't like I could just pop next door and speak to someone. I sent a pupil with a message but still half the lesson was gone by the time anything was sent up and when it arrived they had already done it...so I basically had to make it up as I went along and it wasn't my subject either! Clearly no-one really cared as long as someone was stopping them killing each other.
    pepper5 and PizzoCalabro like this.
  14. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Sorry you had a horrible day today.

    It really isn't difficult for a department to create one off emergency cover lessons they can use when needed. It would save so much aggravation for all concerned.

    You did a marvelous job keeping that show going!
  15. JamesH1lton

    JamesH1lton New commenter

    Am really sorry to hear about your day. Please don't doubt yourself.
    pepper5 likes this.
  16. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Hi Pepper.

    If you google NHS graduate scheme I think the details come up. Google Civil Service jobs to get details of all their jobs - though they are making cuts. Prospects has details of graduate jobs. I am a bit constrained by my poor A level and degree results. Also my caring responsibilities.

    Local councils advertise jobs on their websites as do many private companies if you look through their websites thoroughly. Also, local hospitals have job websites where they have some admin posts.

    I re-registered with Return to Teach and although the courses have stopped there are some things I could do. I got a mentor this time. He has recommended some courses of action and thinks I should be able to get a post by September. My supply work is so thin on the ground that I feel I am still in the process of returning.

    I am also looking at alternatives. I may take a pay cut and work in a shop in about a years time.

    I don't know what schools will do for staff if the economy does ever pick up...

    It may not have been clear in my earlier post but it was Year 9 with the Christmas card work. A bit undemanding even if they hadn't already finished the work the week before....

    Hope the rest of the week works out for you.
  17. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Thanks again form the kind words and advice from everyone.

    Today was somewhat better, but it seems like every class I had one or two tricky customers. The bright spots were the students who worked hard and were polite. Most of the time it is only just a handful which disrupt it for everyone. I still feel a bit fragile from some of the classes I have had this week.

    Poor teachers who have to see some of these students every day - at least I can have a day off if I need it.
    splinters likes this.
  18. tardis

    tardis New commenter

    Pepper5 so sorry to hear about your horrible day. Take heart, it happens to all of us. Today I got my first day of supply since forever and it was with a primary school Year 5. To say it was horrendous is an understatement. When did behaviour get so bad? I haven't done supply for almost 9 years and although qualified in primary and secondary this was my first taste or primary in over 12 years. I was possibly the third supply teacher they had had in days and so understandably the class was unstable. They played up something rotten and the TA pretty much left me to it. I handed out rewards and scolded students but still the noise they generated was awful. I was made to feel so stupid and small. I really did want to pack my things and leave. At one point, the Head walked in to see how things were going - possibly spying more like - and the look she gave me well it spoke volumes and if looks could kill. I don't think they will be calling me back and nor do I have any desire to go back. I have just put it down to an experience but the stress I felt is awful. My head hurts and my stress level is straight through the roof. Is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of my days until I find something more worthwhile? Feel so low.
    pepper5 likes this.
  19. splinters

    splinters Established commenter

    Sorry to hear all these terrible stories. I thought I had bad days but they are nothing like you guys describe. Still, I have just been offered two terms supply in a school nearby (too near methinks) and its still in special measures....so, its nice to have the security but dreading how bad it might be. I haven't accepted yet either.
    Good days and bad, we all have them. I tend to find the days I think will be easy are the most stressful and days when I expect classes to play up often end up surprising me. Every Friday I get an email saying my pay has gone in and I feel a little better that the blighters didn't stop me getting some weekend spending money.
  20. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi tardis

    My hear goes out to you. It must have been a shock to the system to go back to primary after so long and see how behaviour in classes has become so bad. If you have time, there is a book called Taking Care of Behaviour by Paul Dix that might help. However, no matter how strong a person is in behaviour management there will be some schools people won't set a foot in. The head teacher should have helped you instead of glaring at you.

    I know the feeling of feeling so low. I need the money and that is what keeps me going, but it is so stressful. Today, I had a year 8 class with two notorious badly behaved students. I prayed the entire lesson they would stay on track enough so In would not have to send them out since I had already had enough confrontation with pupils. It was a miracle I was able to keep them in the class.

    Splinters, have you ever worked in a school in special measures? The behaviour in schools in special measures is usually quite challenging.

    Tardis...trust you will be able to find some better schools...they do exist. Take one day at a time.

    Sending you a big hug.

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