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New Cover Supervisor-Can't keep control of classes....

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by suertesamp, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. suertesamp

    suertesamp New commenter

    I am a new cover supervisor with less than a year experience, and I started a full time post at a mainstream secondary last week. Previously I did some supply part time. It has just hit me how hard this job is. I am not a qualified teacher. Most of the over cover supervisors are, and they have all got a lot more experience than myself. The others seem to keep control of classes easily, yet about 50% of the time I can not even get the children to be quiet when I am speaking to them, trying to teach or explain the instructions of the task. For example, today I was completely ignored when I was standing at the front, at the top of my voice trying to get the children to be quiet. I was even counting down from three, out loud but was completely ignored. I had to resort to writing the task on the board rather than explaining it. I am already questioning whether or not this job is suitable for me. I am on maternity cover until July but I am starting to think that I will be dismissed if my teaching quality does not improve. Twice since starting this job I have had to send for help from another member of staff.
  2. jbsw27

    jbsw27 New commenter

    Don't worry this is completely normal for students to test you as you are new. They will be seeing how far they can push you and how much they can get away with as with any other new member of staff.

    The key is to be confident and follow through with the behavior policy as demoralizing as it will be for the first couple of weeks.

    Once you have been seen to be consistent and will actually follow through with sanctions then behavior will improve and students will begin to learn how far they can push it.

    If students are talking when you've asked for quiet then it's never recommended to continue giving instructions. Techniques I use are a countdown from 5, if any students are talking when I get to 1 then I challenge them directly using their name. This works for me but there are other techniques you can find online that help with getting a quiet audience.

    Set your standards early while you have a chance, be consistent with the behavior policy and get to know names quickly would be my 3 tips for success in your role.
    pepper5 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  3. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    If you can't get quiet and there's no-one to ride to the rescue then don't bother losing your voice.

    Write the instructions on the board and do laps around the room.
    1st lap, speak quietly to a pair at a time. "The work's on the board. Open your book and do it now.You should be working in silence" Apply sanctions to anyone ignoring this.
    2nd lap, apply sanctions to anyone who hasn't done any work since lap 1.
    Maybe a 3rd and 4th lap, but YOU HAVE TO DO THE REGISTER:eek:
    If they're not quiet enough then maybe try a 3rd lap but consider calling in any cavalry.

    Keep doing laps and dishing out sanctions.

    Yes, it is exhausting and like pushing water uphill but after a few lessons with you the little horrors will start to toe the line. So you can look forward in a few months to the enjoyment you can get from this job (and it is quite enjoyable).
    cadillac99 and pepper5 like this.
  4. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    What, you're teaching? Do you mean that as in planning, differentiating, marking, ensuring progress......?

    You're being paid just enough to baby-sit. Or maybe enough to jazz up the instructions,"Read pages 24-25, make notes and answer questions"

    Stuff that! Settle for not too noisy and looking busy as a class aim. Put in the hard yards re behaviour management and you'll look a star by February and they still won't learn anything but be more photogenic about it.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Have three rules

    Follow instructions fast
    Stay on task
    Work without disturbing others

    They are testing you, it you don't have to be defeated.

    To!low the behaviour policy and phone parents of it is allowed. Send post cards home to the ones behaving.

    As a minimum, classes need to be silent while you are giving instructions about the work. They also need to follow all your instructions.

    For classes before breaks and at the end of the day, keep the noisy ones back for the amount of minutes they have wasted by talking over you.

    It is a tough job and I am finding in some schools it is harder and harder to keep classes on task and the noise levels reasonable.
    JohnJCazorla and suertesamp like this.
  6. tuftyaurelius

    tuftyaurelius New commenter

    Now this classroom behaviour is unacceptable. Where are the senior managers? I will personally not tolerate this and walk out. TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE! Not even for £1000 per hour???
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. suertesamp

    suertesamp New commenter

    Sorry, didn't make myself clear. I am not planning etc as I am only covering.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. tuftyaurelius

    tuftyaurelius New commenter

    Are these delinquent pupils “babies”?
    More like psychopaths/devious wind-up posturers?

    RING THEIR PARENTS and speak to each set one to one! Use the school’s staff room phone and make sure everyone within that staff room hears you! If not shout even louder.
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. suertesamp

    suertesamp New commenter

    Apologies, I wasn't clear. I am only cover supervising, not marking or any teacher stuff.
  10. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    No need to apologise. My misunderstanding.

    This puts you under a lot less pressure from above. As long as you are keeping them quiet then SLT are happy. It's a real bonus to be doing anything else.

    When I did cover I used to say on lap 1: "Come on, Look busy."
    Lap 2: "Well done for looking busy, now be busy."
    Lap 3: "Thank you, this means the school will want me to stay here for a bit longer".
    Needless to say, I could only do this with classes I had a good rapport with which meant they (and I) had suffered the more vicious approach above. So you still have to put in the hard work for the next term at least.

    However this is the light at the end of the tunnel. If they are prepared to do stuff to keep you happy then you have the freedom to wander around and chat. No-one is going to be assessing you for progress, multi-coloured marking, differentiation which is why the teachers you mentioned took a serious pay cut to be in on that gig.
    cadillac99 likes this.
  11. sarah_dann1

    sarah_dann1 Occasional commenter TES Behaviour peer advisor

    It's a tough job! But it can be a good one. Give it some time and don't despair. The feeling that you're not doing it right is very common and affects new and experienced teachers alike!

    Spend some time on developing some strategies you can use and then see how you feel about the job in a few months time. Although students will always view a cover lesson as a "free" lesson, being in the same school consistently as a cover supervisor does give you a chance to get to know them. Knowing the kids is a really good behaviour management tool and probably the thing that makes the job most pleasant. As a collective, a class can seem horrible but individually, most kids are nice and interesting. As you get a better grip on getting the classes started and giving out the instructions, make some time to discuss the work and more general news items etc to get to know some of the students. This will really help to make your day more enjoyable and also to get whole classes more on track, especially if some of the more influential kids are on side.

    Do you have access to a computer? If so, you could gather some generic starter resources so you have something to display when the students enter the room. It can be simple like anagrams, guess the flag, name the capital, number games, riddles, ambiguous images etc
    look at our resources here: https://www.tes.com/resources/search/?&q=starters
    Try also www.formtimeideas.com
    Or showing BBC newsround and discuss one of the news items

    These sorts of things could help you get off on a more positive note with your classes and give an opportunity to get to know them. If you insist on silence and battle to get it, it will take longer to get to know the students.

    However, this is not to say you should try to be fun and entertain them. You're there to facilitate the work left by their teacher and they must respect that.

    Do not feel bad about calling in help. Just yesterday I asked the deputy head to come to help with a student and I've been teaching for a decade. A school's policy will usually say that after a warning, students will be removed and this requires another member of staff. So it's happening all the time. Hopefully, after you strictly follow the school's rules for a period of time, you won't need to rely on it so much.

    Have a look at some of these threads about classroom management strategies and try to implement them consistently. It is better to have simple rules that you can communicate to the students effectively and then be able to stick to them.

    Don't raise your voice. Wait for quiet. Even if it takes ages - and do try to keep them back to make up the time if the lesson backs on to break/lunch. It's trickier to get them to come back otherwise. Really try not to show you are getting frustrated. Stay calm, follow the school's rules and slowly you'll get the students on track. As they recognise you and you learn their names, this will all get easier and be less exhausting. Try to help with their work and discuss how they can problem solve so that your lessons begin to feel more valuable than just being "babysat". This will work especially well with older students, some of whom do actually want to learn!


    Good luck,
    pepper5 and JohnJCazorla like this.

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