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NQT starting supply work... help!!!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by libra2024, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I finished my Primary PGCE in June but haven't managed to get a job for September, and so I am going to be starting supply work next week to keep my head above water while I look for a more permanent job for October or January. I'm a little bit nervous about this, especially as I don't feel I have lots of experience to fall back on! In particular, I'm very aware that most of my placements were in KS2, and I've only spent a couple of weeks in KS1, back in October/November time.
    Any advice on survival tips, what to take with me when I first get that call at 7am, and any good lesson plans/ideas that don't involve too many resources or photocopying (especially for KS1!) would be really appreciated! My nerves about the whole thing are probably the biggest issue at the moment, so some help and guidance from someone who's done this before would really help boost my confidence a bit!
    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. Hi,
    I finished my Primary PGCE in June but haven't managed to get a job for September, and so I am going to be starting supply work next week to keep my head above water while I look for a more permanent job for October or January. I'm a little bit nervous about this, especially as I don't feel I have lots of experience to fall back on! In particular, I'm very aware that most of my placements were in KS2, and I've only spent a couple of weeks in KS1, back in October/November time.
    Any advice on survival tips, what to take with me when I first get that call at 7am, and any good lesson plans/ideas that don't involve too many resources or photocopying (especially for KS1!) would be really appreciated! My nerves about the whole thing are probably the biggest issue at the moment, so some help and guidance from someone who's done this before would really help boost my confidence a bit!
    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  3. aw27

    aw27 New commenter

    The odds are you wont get much supply the first few weeks of september, if that helps!!
    Seriously tho, dont worry too much, get together a days activities for KS2 and KS1 - try general stuff like 'writing a story' and 'measuring' that can be adapted to suit a variety of age ranges without any prep, and collect as many worksheets etc as you can.
    Be prepared for <u>anything</u> - I was called up once and told it was a reception class only to get there and find out it was actually Year 6!! There was no work left and I had only ever taught in KS1 and had to just make stuff up on the spot. Luckily it was only a morning [​IMG]
    However, every school I've ever worked in have insisted that I leave a full days work for the supply (if its a planned day out), or have planning available in school if its a sick day - so you may not always have to worry about this.
    Most importantly, make the most of the time off you've got left!
     
  4. Hey hun,

    I was in exactly the same position last year so I know how you feel. I actually ended up really enjoying supply, especially once I'd been doing it for a while. The more you do, the more confident you become, and you'll find that a lot of schools will ask you back if they like you.


    The main advice I'd give you is to be friendly and appreciative to everyone you meet in a school, especially your TA as they'll often be the one who feeds back to the school about how you get on. You will be absolutely fine in KS1, as the kids tend to love having someone new to talk to and show off for!


    http://www.supplybag.co.uk/emergency.html has some great lesson ideas for KS2 that can be easily adapted for younger children as well. It's also worth taking photocopies of any good worksheets etc that you come across in schools to add to your supply folder. You'll find that a lot of the time planning has been left for you, and lots of teachers leave amazingly detailed notes, but it's a good idea to have a few ideas for activities just in case nothing's been left for you.


    One tip I picked up from one of my agencies was to get a class list for the class you're teaching at the start of the day. Explain to the kids that every time you see someone doing the right thing they will get a tick next to their name and, at the end of the day, you can give the person with the most ticks a small reward. I've found this works from Foundation up to Year 6!


    http://www.senteacher.org/Worksheet/3/Certificates.xhtml is a great site that allows you to design and print your own certificates. I tended to give one for 'Literacy Genius', one for 'Mathematical Genius' and one for 'Hero of the Day'.


    I hope this helps! Good luck and enjoy yourself - you will meet some lovely children and, if you get any tricky ones, remember that you never have to see them again :p
     
  5. Working as a supply teacher was the best thing that happened to me. I can just about cope with anything that I am faced with now! I am definately a better teacher for the experience.
    Best tip is to have a few general lessons for each KS or year group so you have at least something. Make sure you have paper copies of anything you use as a computer may not be available for you. I used The tiger who came to tea for KS1 and have a literacy lesson, maths lesson and art activity which covers the whole day.
    Always leave a note about the things you have done during the day, any children who have done good work or behaved well and any child who have not made the right choices. Mark any work that has been done and take your own stickers.
    Make friends with the school office staff, it really helps when you need to ask them for anything (and if they like you they recommend you to come again!)
    good luck

     
  6. Go search through the supply forum - lots of ideas and threads about what people take with them on there.
    Keep the office staff on-side (for they are the ones who make the bookings), do the best you can, don't take the mickey and wander out leaving the classroom a mess and work unmarked (even if you can't mark it as "tightly" as their normal class teacher would - the last thing anyone wants to return to school to is a marking backlog for lessons they didn't teach - I tend to flick back in books and try to mark in a similar vein to the teacher and in the same colour pen)... don't rely too much on the idea you'll get a photocopier code and a computer password to log in - I run with a few things I can do with just whiteboards and plain paper if needed (some schools don't let supplys do work in books) backed up with story books I carry with me.
    Get a Sat Nav, get into the habit of double checking postcodes and school names (lots of infant/juniors merged and renamed around here which can cause fun at 8.30am when you're looking for Sunnytown Infants and it's been renamed Aspiration Primary and no one bothered to tell you).
    You get days of utter hell, schools that will treat you like something that's come out of my dog's bottom, you'll get bashed endlessly on here - but the trick is essentially being in the right place at the right time - you get into a school and do well, then you get back there and eventually you become the person the agency thinks of when X school rings up - and once you get those footholds in a few schools - life becomes much, much easier.
    Keep a tight eye on your payslips. Not maliciously, but mistakes DO happen, payments do get missed and I found that, if I was on the back of it, nicely and not aggressively, but in a "I'm just checking my timesheets and clearing out paid up ones and I notice that I can't seem to find X day's pay" - then things get checked much much more carefully in future! Double-bookings happen too (I tend to expect a couple each year) - sometimes the school will find another way to use you to release another teacher, sometimes they'll swear blind it's not their fault and send you away with a flea in your ear - I'd say 95% of the time it's an error on the school's part but if you push it you'll find the agencies will back the schools 100% of the way to keep their bookings rolling in - it's lousy when it happens (although it being a nice sunny day when you'd rather be doing the garden numbs the pain somewhat) but it's a fact of life.
    As for morning calls, doing all year groups etc - up to you how you take the line on that. I hate loathe and despise morning calls and my agencies know this - but I'm a very long-standing teacher on their books so when the supply year gets going, I tend to get enough work to survive avoiding year groups I don't like doing and not doing morning calls - but it's harder getting yourself established in the first place and I'm sure I could work every day going if I did them. I tend to take the line that I'd rather turn a booking down than go and do a **** job at it.
    Oh and chat to other supplies when you see them out and about - you can tend to work very in isolation and you can start to feel like every bad day is just YOU and your failings - when I've chatted to other supplies we've found that we've ALL had lousy experiences at certain schools, that the staff treat ALL supplies like dog poo and that it's not just in fact that they hate us personally! Helps to keep some perspective on things!
     
  7. Hi I'm only really going to repeat what other people have said... I did supply for 2 1/2years after graduating and then got a maternity job from one of schools I worked at. I am a much better teacher for it and my confidence is much higher now than when I graduated.
    For activities have a look on resources on here, someone has very kindly put up activities for every year across the curriculum, its under something like emergency supply pack. Otherwise I though of a few general activities that could cover most years e.g do a portrait of your someone on your table, write why you like them, continue a story from the sentenc, different problem solving sheets I got from the internet. As I went around schools I also picked up a spare of any worksheet I was given to use/ was lying around and added it to a folder I carried around.

    For behaviour I would go in tough straight away, set the boundaries let them know that you will be seeing/writing to their teacher at the end of the day and you will let them know who has been helpful and who has messed around. Make sure you know what is, and use, the schools behaviour system. Some days I just felt I was telling them off all day but at least they learnt something and next time I saw them they knew I wasn't a push over, at the end of the day you're in charge! On the plus side make sure you reward and praise those children that are behaving make a point of using the school system again/giving them a sticker/recording their name to let the teacher know how great they've been.

    If you have a TA ask them the key questions. I always asked is their anyone I need to know about for SEN/behaviour/helpful, behaviour system, and what their daily routine is. Make sure to thank them for their help at the end of the day. The teacher or head may ask them for their advice on how you were. Treat everyday as if its a new job, you never know when you may be back! Make a point of saying hello to everyone you meet and stick your round the door to introduce yourself to the teachers who are close by.

    Be prepapred. If you don't know where the school is ask the agency for an address and a phone number incase you get lost. I don't know how I would have coped without my tom tom! I tended to get up around 8, although I could be out the door in 15mins. And don't be surprised at the times you get a phone call, I've been called at 9.30 to go in asap and 12.50 as they forgot to book anyone for the afternoon.

    At the start I was very nervous. I didn't have much experience in KS2 and when my first call came for yr5 all day take my own work I said I wasn't available I was so scared. However over time the nerves went and in the end I loved supply. I worked in a range of school, usally the staff were worst than the kids but every now and again I went into a nice school/met a nice teacher who didn't just ignore me. I tended to work 3/4days a week as I was asked back quite alot. Make friends with the office staff, I always left with a thank you I'm free for work the rest of the week if you need anyone. Try not to read to many of the posts on here unless you're having a bad day. People tend to come on to let off steam in the supply forum. At the end of the day you get the chance to build your experience in a range of schools, ages, SEN and behaviours. You may have bad days when the kids drive you mad and the staff just glance at you in the corridor but you can just think you're only there for the day and think of the money. The great days far outnumbered the bad for me. I got to work with lots of lovely children and meet lots of helpful and friendly staff. Have fun!
     

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