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Sending for SLT- Did I do right?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by suertesamp, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. suertesamp

    suertesamp New commenter

    Went to an Ofsted rated ("good") school today for only the second time covering English. Terrible period 5. Was covering a year 9 class. Was so bad I nearly called the agency to resign, but held back after taking a minute to calm down.
    Class made very little attempt at the work, were loud and kept interrupting during a reading aloud task (when one person should have been reading/speaking at once). Later when we did some Q and A, people just spoke over the person giving the answers. Would be easy enough with one person doing this, but more or less the whole class was speaking over me. Called SLT. They came, class goes silent. SLT member doesn't say a word to me, waits until after about 5 minutes of walking around the room, telling the children to stay focused on their work. A student was rude to him so SLT took him outside for a word. After a few minutes of silence, I decided to ask the class why they decided to behave the way they did, and why they went silent when SLT teacher came in. They said that it's because he is intimidating, scary and has authority. I asked "and I don't?" and got the usual riff-raff about me being a supply, and they can't expect the class to be good. Told them that many would disagree with that. I also told the children that I pay them the compliment of assuming that they behave well when their usual teacher is here and that I expect better if I have them again. While they were quietly getting on with their work, some of them made some polite small talk with me and were finally being respectful.
    Did I make myself look weak by calling SLT? Should this only be used for the removal of one student. The giving the sanctions/following policy of giving written warnings in planner did not seem to deescalate the situation. This was one of the worst classes I have had, probably the worst.
    I struggle with behaviour sometimes and I resigned from a long term cover post because of this previously. Maybe I should have learned from the first time.
  2. MissGeorgi

    MissGeorgi Occasional commenter

    No it sounds like you were spot on. A great school which I recently worked at made sure SLT always dipped in to supply lessons to check all was ok. Sounds like they should have done this! You couldn’t have carried on in that situation and giving individual warnings etc wouldn’t have worked. It’s very tough to make the right judgement call when you are surrounded by chaos. The lesson clearly improved after slt so it was needed.
    Kids sound arrogant- middle class kids can be terribly arrogant and very testing.
  3. abwdSTEM

    abwdSTEM Occasional commenter

    No you did not make yourself look weak by calling SLT for support. It is their job to support members of staff (supply/contracted/non-teaching/etc) as a leader and is why the word "leadership" is in their job title. Many members of SLT will realise this and happy to do so.

    But this particular member of SLT was at fault by not speaking to you "professional to professional". On entering the room a good senior leader would have initially spoke to you, asking what the problem was and how they could assist you (and in my experience most will). By acting as he did he was only serving to boost his own ego and reputation as a god-like being.

    I'm guessing that you are fairly new to supply and would therefore suggest that you don't worry too much about behaviour management. It gets better with time although can still be difficult on occasions. I certainly found it got easier after about 10 years but that could be in part because I had seen it all before many times and would oven respond with bored indifference, Kids like a reaction and when they don't get one they look for a new "victim".

    But don't enter into discussions about why they behave for some teachers and not you. Since that will only confirm in their minds that you are struggling and encourage more poor behaviour. Its a game for them for which you need to learn the rules.
  4. suertesamp

    suertesamp New commenter

    Thank you for your input. I know now I shouldn't have gotten into that conversation at the end of the lesson about why they behave for the other teacher and not me. I'm not sure I want to carry this on much longer. In February I will be starting an invigilator job. No phone call this morning from the agency I was quite relieved to say the least.
    ellenlilymay and agathamorse like this.
  5. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    All of us who have worked in supply have been subjected to the same treatment. I knew it was nothing to do with me personally when I went to a new school and headed down the corridor for the first lesson. The pupils were lined up at the door. Someone noticed me approaching and I picked up the excited whispers of "it"a a suppy!". They clearly had rehearsed repertoires for playing up and avoiding work.a

    here's a tip that shows how you might scupper their plans . I went to one new school and introduced myself in lesson 1. I was immediately asked if I was married to Mr. jubilee. I confirmed that I was. Behaviour was perfect.
    Behaviour carried on being superb all day. Sometimes a pupil greeted me as I walked in with "you're Mrs jubilee, aren't you!"
    It turned out that one of the deputy heads shared my surname ! His photo on the staffroom board showed that we were broadly from the same generation.
    I suggest adopting a different surname when doing a single day at a new schol!
  6. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    This week, at a normally good school where I enjoy going I had a middle ability yr 11 classfor 2 periods split over lunch. Ist lesson they were re-roomed to the library which was full of computers. Despite the work not being computer based and being told by me not to log on they all logged on and spaffed away the hour doing none of the work set. Apparently this teacher has been absent since the start of term and they claim they don't understand the work being set. I offered to teach them the lesson (it was my subject) but they refused to listen and just played on the pcs. At one stage I got the librarioan to freeze all the screens but they knew how to get round this by turning them off and on again! After lunch we were again re-roomed, this time to a large general purpose room at the far end of school. A big room with about 40 desks in it. First thing they did was re-arrange the desks into groups so they could chat. They refused to put them back so I sent 2 pupils to fetch SLT. 10 minutes later they returned telling me no-one was available as theire had been a fight at lunchtime and they were sorting that out. 10 minutes later I sent the register in with a note written on it for SLT support. Again no-one came. So the class spaffed away another hour refusing to do the work set. As I left I asked at the office as to why no-one came. The office had no knowledge of my requests so the pupils tasked with carrying the messiges had not delivered them!
    ellenlilymay and agathamorse like this.
  7. lunarita

    lunarita Senior commenter

    You were absolutely right to call for SMT.

    If nothing else, their response gives you an insight into how the school works, If they are not prepared to support a supply teacher, if they think that diruption is part and parcel of the job, whether permanent or supply, then they do not have the best interests of either students or teachers at heart and they are not worth working for.
  8. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    By the end of my time on supply, around 6 or 7 years ago, I realised that sending a pupil for help was unlikely to result in help arriving. Sometimes even good pupils date not deliver messages for fear of reprisals.
    I made sure that I always had the school number and I'd ring reception and make the request myself.
  9. historygrump

    historygrump Lead commenter Forum guide

    No, I have called the SLT many times, as have many other experienced supplies on this forum, it is part and parcel of supply and if the SLT do not like being called then they should not be part of the SLT team. I have been to schools rated good, but the SLT was poor and that is being nice and I would not set foot in the school again, and I have known permanent teachers to leave to move to challenging schools so they can actually teach, so a school status means now't. It sends the message that you will not take poor behaviour, I would also give the SLT a report when they visited the classroom and with some names for possible detentions at the end of the lesson.

    You did right remaining calm and calling the SLT, because the SLT needs to deal with poor behaviour, because it can be the tip of the iceberg and they need to be aware of issues. I have known the SLT to take students out for minor attitudes to their presence.
  10. ellenlilymay

    ellenlilymay New commenter

    Mrs Jubilee - what a brilliant idea!!!
  11. ellenlilymay

    ellenlilymay New commenter

    Hi Suertescamp and everyone

    I have to say that I had today an identical day to the one you describe. My period 2 was a nightmare (year 9s) in which a boy repeatedly threw a tennis ball across the room, refused to give it to me to put on the desk for collection after the lesson and then tried to draw triangles (Maths lesson on triangles) into his book as required, but using a 1 metre long rule. I had to call for SLT support as he was uncontrollable. Fortunately a nearby Maths teacher sorted the situation. This was followed in period 5 by an identical lesson to the one you describe, with year 8s. They refused to shut up for 10 minutes into the lesson, screaming and shouting across the room. When I offered to explain the task (areas of squares, rectangles and triangles) they told me they knew how to do it, followed 30 seconds later by accusations that I hadn't helped them. I sent for SLT and the deputy head arrived. He particularly focused on one particular girl with plaits who was being rude, arrogant and failed to do any work. I had given her the first warning at the lowest level available at the school (a C1) and at the end of the lesson her bestie came up to me extremely aggressively, accusing me of picking on Plaits who had done nothing all lesson, had mucked about and the deputy head had had a go at her as well. Unjustified C1, the mildest of the punishments available? This behaviour is getting out of hand, and is infinitely worse than it was 3 years ago when I started doing supply. I'm now looking to get out of it as soon as possible. I believe that safeguarding should protect us as well as the students!!
    freshfriesan likes this.
  12. suertesamp

    suertesamp New commenter

    Thank you all for positive input. I now know that I did right. I have some more detail.
    When I sent for SLT, I stood near the door which was already open and asked a passing teacher to send the duty teacher my way when possible. If other supply teachers do this, maybe it is the best course of action. I have dropped the habit of sending a student due to the request never being made/fear of reprisals from other students.
    I will just have to deal with these situations better and not get into them conversations with students about them not behaving for me etc.
    Happyregardless likes this.
  13. freshfriesan

    freshfriesan Occasional commenter

    its not always slt they use for on call. i go back to time as a permanent teacher and acouple of other places, ive known the cover supervisor types , or the person they actually employed to sweep the corridors during lesson (by sweep, i mean sweep them of kids, as in getting kids who wander the corridors into lessons) just like it often being these types of staff that staff the isolation rooms. it does make me wonder what some of these slt ypes are actually up to these days, theres a fair few jobs they seem to like to defer.
  14. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    I think this thread shows the true colours of some who post on here often citing the rghts of employers. Their silence is deafening.

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