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Positive experiences of supply

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by nhdut15, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. I find the supply teaching forum quite depressing at times as it all seems to be doom and gloom (in the current economic climate) so I thought I'd start a thread where people could share their positive stories about supply teaching.
    So add your positive stories of supply work so that we can remind ourselves that it's not that bad all of the time!
  2. I find the supply teaching forum quite depressing at times as it all seems to be doom and gloom (in the current economic climate) so I thought I'd start a thread where people could share their positive stories about supply teaching.
    So add your positive stories of supply work so that we can remind ourselves that it's not that bad all of the time!
  3. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I enjoy a much better relationship with the students on supply than when I was full time. It's because I'm not as over-stressed and under pressure from bureaucratic bullsh*t and targets and SLT bullying. I'm more natural, relaxed, and patient with the students. I rarely if ever have to shout or whine, and I can enjoy a joke with them, and take time to discuss things properly.

    I enjoy the different type of challenges that come with supply, especially when teaching subjects I'm not a specialist in, and I enjoy the variety that comes with moving from school to school instead of being stuck in the same place for years on end.

    I feel particularly good when I get friendly greetings from students (and staff) when I return to a school I haven't worked in for a few months. It makes me think I must have done something right the last time ;-)
  4. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    I agree, we have good and bad days. But when we go into schools and the teachers remember you and talk to you, the kids also remember your name and are happy to do the work and more then may normally do and are happy to see you. Then teaching is a great and happy experience, but the lack of work is having a demoralising impact on us all.
  5. littlelebowski

    littlelebowski New commenter

    I haven't completed my NQT, so I can't compare it to 'regular' teaching, but I've found supply teaching better than I thought it would be. On the whole, colleagues are very friendly, helpful and respectful. I feel that I am treated as a fellow professional, whereas I had feared that people might be condescending to the 'supply.'
    There's less planning than there would be in a full-time teaching job, and you also don't get involved in the politics of a school, which is good.
    It can be hard to get into the 'supply mentality,' but it's a buzz going to lots of different schools and realising that you can teach a good lesson when you've had minutes to prepare, you don't know the kids and you may have never taught that year group before. I sincerely feel I could give anything a go after doing four months of supply teaching!
    Another bonus is not having to run any after-school clubs!
    I would say that I've had a very positive experience overall, mostly because of excellent advice from people like Magic Surf Bus, Planetx and LaraMFL.
    Just a shame that so few schools seem to book qualified teachers to cover classes these days....
  6. Half of the reason I moan about it so much is that it was a bloody enjoyable job.
    I learned to "cut it" properly in supply. When I started, I was wet behind the ears with **** behaviour management/confidence issues. I came out with it being my strongest area. I could could get any class of mental monkeys under control and cracking on with minimum effort.
    The bit I liked most was doing a "stint". Doing all the planning and marking and practical work, but with nobody kicking my ass. It was like being allowed to get on with the job without being micromanaged. This was probably the best bit.
    I liked the variety of schools, I got to teach in Private, Boys, Girls, Catholic, Grammar, Sink Comps, Ex-Grammars, various issue, etc, etc, etc schools. I also taught every flavour of science, got to develop my Biology (I'm not a biologist) and every course. There were different methods of everything and I took the best of them on board. It was good rewarding experience.
    It all added up to making me confident and capable, which was good for the soul and good for getting "headhunted" (sorry to use that prickish word) and called back.
    Knowing you were going to get 4 or 5 calls a week was also good.
    The most valuable part to my professional development was being allowed to find my own teaching style without having someone breathing down my neck. I did this and had I an NQT busybody presiding over me, I would have probably got moaned at and eyebrows raised. However, I attributed my new found ability to having the freedom to act. Then I was able to.
    I've seen so many students being throttled in their NQT years by ***, my honest advice to them was to do a bit of supply and find their own feet. (not all departments were like this, but most were-this is the best bit, the experiences were real, not just my opinion!!!)
    I used to like meeting fellow supply staff, I imagine it's what you would feel like meeting an English person in Outer Mongolia. A refreshing change. I grew fond of various people I met on the circuit and we formed our own support networks. I felt very much a part of something difficult, but doable. I was there to help and I always had someone to moan at or share success.
    Being treated like a non-entity by various staff washed over me in the end. I didn't take anyone too personally or get too excited about rudeness or poor behaviour by staff or students alike. It made me less emotionally firey, which was a good development.
    Overall, it was a hugely beneficial experience which has totally changed me as a person, as well as a teacher.
    When it started drying up, the misery set in and the money worries and they soon eclipsed all of the beneficial points. It turned into a chore and I wanted out and into a normal job. I didn't really, supply was great and I would much prefer to work as a supply than a normal member of staff. It was so much more rewarding and the longer stints would allow you to achieve so much without having some jobsworth on your case, kicking your ass!
  7. annie2010

    annie2010 Occasional commenter

    Absolutely agree with MSB. Having switched to supply, as I am at the 'mature' end of the age spectrum, I am thoroughly enjoying the work- despite the financial uncertainty .
    I love actually TEACHING, even if it is not my specialism, without the dreaded school politics, boring meetings and endless bureaucracy.
    I too am alot more relaxed with the students, as my focus is on them, without other issues getting in the way.
  8. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    totally agree with you here Annie.
    After 20 years in secondary, watching the efforts of other people teens gradually falling, while the demands on staff to gain them higher and higher grades with no effort on their behalf continually rose, i made the decision to follow my heart and move to primary. i had been responsible for inducting many year 7 tutor groups, teaching them severla subjects etc.
    As there is no pathway to transfer, especially as a secondary teacher in a shortage subject; i gave notice last christmas and applied to supply agencies.
    Although work was worryingly slow at first; i now have regular work in several really lovely schools. I love the challenge of teaching new faces and subjects. No meetings, no endless requests for the same information from different members of SMT (my last school had 13 assistant head teachers, so you can imagine the piles of useless paper they produced!).
    I just get to teach, and use my skills to help children develop.
    I have been placed in every age from nursery to year 11 and have loved virtually every minute. Feedback is consistently good which is a real boost to my battered confidence after the recent years of battering from smt who avoid teaching whenever humanly possible!
    It is like being back on the first year of my BED again. I particularly enjoy the chance to teach other teachers' resources and ideas!
    My bank account is worryingly empty at times, but hopefully that is now improving!

    I've also been accepted to mark GCSEs for two exam boards, so hopefully that can bridge the summer gap!

    if i can pay the bills til september, i can't see i will go back on the treadmill that a permanent contract can be. not just yet anyhow..
    but if a nice primary had a year 3 post going, who knows???
  9. Yes I see that too good point.
    Yesterday I had a minor accident with a lorry on the way to school - I ride a scooter.
    I limped into school and had the best teaching day ever - at a school where I teach one day per month. One pupil who remembered me from a year previously approached with concern about my limp!
    I felt like the accident really put into greater perspective what the bigger picture is and helped me focus on the kids. The question is should i now crash my scooter every day to replcate this experience? !

    PS I work for teachweb - they are great

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