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No NQT post - should I take this supply post?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by PeggyDee, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. PeggyDee

    PeggyDee New commenter

    Can anyone give me their thoughts? I have just qualified as a secondary science teacher but was unable to find a position for NQT. I registered with some supply agencies (who also recruit permanent posts but have nothing available at the moment), and have been offered a part time supply position but I have weird feelings about the post. I have listed some points and then listed the problems I feel with these points. I would really appreciate comments and thoughts from other NQT's and experienced teachers on this....
    The school is a religious muslim school (that is not a problem for me) where the pupils have religious studies for most of the day (7:50 to 3:30 - over 7 hours) and then start their national curriculum from 3:30 to 7:15 ( less than 4 hours!!) which means the teaching is all in the late afternoon / early evening. At first I thought this would be great, allowing me to teach some science in the afternoon after other school hours have finished which would leave me free to accept other supply posts (and earn more money).
    Problem with this: 1) sort of okay to do weird hours but not really ideal for my family life to come home at about 8:00pm. 2) the hours might be fine if this is my only option but should something else come up during normal school hours I don't feel I have the energy and experience to stick with this post. I feel my new teacher status and lack of experience are my focus to work on rather than extra hours to top up the bank balance.
    The school is tiny so there are very few staff. The girls are taught only by female teachers and the boys only by male teachers (the different sexes sharing the tiny facilities at different times according to strict timetables). Because of the size of the staff there is no science department as such, simply the boys science teacher and myself for the girls. We never meet because we are on the premises at different times. There is no HOD, no technicians, the previous girls teacher is long gone so I cannot talk to her.
    Problem: as a recent trainee and inexperienced new teacher I feel lost and lack confidence without the support and guidance of a departmental team
    The school is tiny (as I already said) so the science facilities are limited.
    Problem: Very little practical equipment for a practical based subject, additional time demands to source and set up practical work, and I don't see why I should be spending my own money to supply some practical material (although probably very good experience for me)
    Religious bias to the school day and talking with the few teachers and staff available at my interview gives me the impression that the nat. curriculum subjects are of secondary importance, eg: when I asked about practical equipment I was told "don't worry, we do mostly text book teaching". I get the feeling that as long as the pupils concentrate in their religious studies then it is acceptable for them to simply read about the other subjects and pass their exams
    Problem: This is not what I was trained to do, and I feel that it is not how I want to teach, and not the type of experience I want to build on (although admittedly this is more of a personal ideaology issue than an issue with the school)
    The staff seem very unorganised, unapproachable and vague, not passing on information to me. For my interview I was phoned at 4:14pm and asked to be there by 4:30, without any warning that the agency had even submitted my name to the school. It was hardly an interview but rather a brief description of what I would be doing (as if I had already been employed). The following day, waiting for an answer from the interview I was phoned (by the agency) at 2:30 and told to be there for 3:00 to teach a 2 hour year 10 lesson. I was told on the phone that this would be a cover lesson and that work had been set. When I asked if this meant I had the job I was told that decision had not been made yet but they simply needed an emergency cover lesson for that afternoon. I went along thinking that last minute instruction would be the nature of cover work. When I arrived I was told that because this was the first day back at school the pupils would be missing some of their lessons anyway for an assembly so could I please just wait. The head asked me to wait in his office then proceeded to ignore me, working on the timetable. I asked several questions: what work had been set for the pupils? who had set the work? any information about the level ability of the pupils? number in class? lesson times? He ignored me. I sat around for over an hour (having rushed to get there) doing nothing, getting no answers. Then another staff member entered the office and he told the new arrival that I would be the girls science teacher for the years 7, 8, 9 and 10. This was the first I had heard about it!! As far as I knew I was there for a 2 hour cover supply. He had not even told me that I would be the new science teacher. Finally after an hour and half waiting I was told the cover lesson had been moved to 5:30 to 7:15 so I would be starting soon. I was furious, but kept calm as I explained that I was told to be there for 3 till 5 and had already been there for 1 1/2 hours but could not stay till 7:15 without being advised. They hurriedly gathered one pupil from each year group to meet with me and tell me what they had covered in science, telling me to plan my lessons based on these conversations.
    Problems: 1) lack of organisation = last minute call and last minute change of plans. 2) nobody told me I was being hired as the new science teacher. 3) HM ignored my questions and spoke about me to someone else while I was sitting in his office 4) no information on class at all. 5) no information on science curriculum
    On the plus side for this post:
    1) later hours would give me the opportunity to take more work (but not a priority for me)
    2) lack of departmental support might be incredibly helpful for me to build my confidence in planning and teaching by being forced to be independent (is this a challenge I am ready for? I don't know)
    3) incredibly GOOD discipline means no behaviour managment problems (something I struggled with during training)
    It all just feels odd and strange to a recent graduate who lacks experience and confidence. What do other think? Thank you for reading this very long post.

  2. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    The joy of supply is that either party can give notice any time. Why not give it a go and then you can always leave if you don't like it? I can understand most of your concerns, ESP regarding the way they are taught and textbook learning, but if it was me, id try it for a week and see what I thought.

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