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Should people like me get the hell out of the profession?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by tobychainsaw, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. For the past three and a half years, I have had a job working with adults with Asperger's Syndrome which I absolutely love. What is a bonus is that the shifts rota allow to be available for supply teaching fairly often, although not nearly as much as the agencies would like. I know they would prefer to sit by the phone and wait for them to call and you're supposed to be grateful when they do. But I digress.
    At first, the agencies were ok with this, but in the past term, work has totally dried up for me and part of the reason they claim is the fact that I'm not available all the time. I get this feeling that many in teaching see me with some sort of disdain, that because I am not teaching full time, that I don't take the profession seriously. Furthermore, they are disgusted by the fact that I am only teaching as a second job. No one has actually said this to my face, but I sometimes get the feeling they are saying it behind my back.
    I'll be the first to admit, it's a case of me wanting my cake and eating it too. I don't see me doing anything wrong and I am still committed to teaching. Furthermore, I am committed enough that I want to keep up my teaching skills and that should be a good thing. However, when I tried to sign up for new agencies, two of them have said they won't take me on if I can't give them five days a week. One even suggested I sign up for a care work agency to which I responded by asking them if I should burn my teaching certificate. What do others think? Am I disgracing the profession by not working as a full time teacher? Should I get out?
  2. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    You're a trained teacher, and want to teach part time. Like lots of other people. So you have another part time job, so what?? Sounds like it's a very "worthy" job too.
    I don't know why agencies are saying you can't work for them if you can't do 5 days per week - lots of supplies I've met have kids etc so can only work 2 or 3 days. Maybe try another agency and don't mention your other job immediately...just say you want 2 or 3 days per week on a flexible basis. Most agencies have an online diary now - you just update when you are/aren't available and don't have to justify why you're not available - it's one of the (few) benefits of supply! I originally said to my agencies that I was available 5 days per week but by the time work picked up there were loads of days I was unavailable due to my birthday, work booked direct through schools, other commitments etc. Didn't stop them calling me on the days I was free.
  3. Thank you for your comments. You're right, my job is worthy and it is very useful when I get work in SEN schools. One thing about my availability is that it is erratic week by week. Some weeks I'm available three days while others I'm not available at all or just mornings. Maybe that is what agencies don't like, the inconsistency. However, I am convinced that I have fallen out of favour with one agency since taking this other job.

  4. historygrump

    historygrump Senior commenter Forum guide

    At the end of the day, if you worked just supply, then there is a chance that you could be struggling for an income, by working p/time you are keeping your teaching knowledge up to date and also ensuring that you have a secure income. It is easy for teachers in a permanent post, to be critical of someone who is doing two jobs, when they have a guranteed income. Moreover gaving worked with SEBD students, which I enjoyed, I have the fullest respect for anyone working with people with ASD and in truth, you knowledge of working with this SEN group is something that most teachers lack and instead of being negative, they should be seeking to use your knowledge to gain anunderstanding of the issues relating to people with ASD.
  5. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    It sounds to me that the agencies you are currently signed up with are very inflexible and not geared up to cope with the demands of the supply market. Whilst you are clearly not available for longer term placements there is no reason you cannot do daily cover (when there is any).
    I suggest that you ditch these agencies and sign up with some that can meet your needs. They do exist, for a period of eight years I juggled supply teaching with another role which took me out of teaching for two periods of up to nine months at a time plus shorter periods of time throughout the year. None of my agencies had any problem with this and had work for me on my return.
    In my opinion, for what its worth, the opposite is true you are enhancing the "so called" profession by bringing experience of the real world to it.
  6. Mrs-Pip

    Mrs-Pip New commenter

    I think the job you are doing is honourable... I couldn't do it, I hate adults which is why I work with children... (JOKE!).
    I agree with the other post, don't tell them about this job... it's not in your interest. Supply is supposed to be flexible if that's what you want!
  7. Interestingly when I registered with my agency I told them I wanted part time and that I was available around my husbands shift pattern of 3 on 3 off due to childcare and that I couldn't do emergency work due to childcare. They were really fine with me and said this is common. After getting only a handful of days before the summer I opted to be available on husbands days off for emergency and updated weekly with availability. Never got emergency call but at October half term I was called as a school requested me for a long term post, afternoons, til Xmas, now til summer. I couldn't turn it down and am enjoying it but was surprised the agency actually asked me.

    You need to find out which agency is the market leader in your area. Mine is for a couple of LEAs but I could work in about 6 and nearly joined another market leader in a neighbouring county but was offered this job.
  8. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    Change agency. You've got everyright to work which jobs you want and if you want to mix and match teaching with something else then thats fine! Especially as you seem to be doing another equally important role working with adults with ASD. I'm personally wanting to try and get some sort of secondary source of income going, aside from the fact the extra money would be nice I'm thinking I might prefer to do a part time teaching job if i can. I like teaching but i don't want to live for teaching.
  9. Of course, because they're doing you a favour by dragging you out at all hours all over the place at the last minute, as they've found you work! You should be grateful and lick their boots for it! ;-)

    God forbid that you should have a life and do everything you can to earn a living in these troubled financial times! Scandalous and disgraceful! What on earth are you thinking of?! ;-)

    I'll be the first to admit, it's a case of me wanting my cake and eating it too. I don't see me doing anything wrong and I am still committed to teaching. Furthermore, I am committed enough that I want to keep up my teaching skills and that should be a good thing. However, when I tried to sign up for new agencies, two of them have said they won't take me on if I can't give them five days a week. One even suggested I sign up for a care work agency to which I responded by asking them if I should burn my teaching certificate. What do others think? Am I disgracing the profession by not working as a full time teacher? Should I get out?

    I totally agree that you should get out and make room for all those cash cows and mugs who are willing to spend their lives with their phones glued to their ears and the car engine running everyday 'just in case!' ;-)

    Seriously speaking, no you're not disgracing the profession, you have every right to find a way of working that suits you and anyone who suggests otherwise has the problem not you! There are lots of agencies out there who appreciate honesty and will actually listen to what you have to say, so tell the ones you've spoken to so far to take a hike because you'll be going to better and more professional ones who will respect your needs and rights!

    Happy 2012 and good luck! Keep looking and keep teaching!
  10. I'm a ex teacher who now works for a supply agency.

    There could be a number of reasons why you have not been getting work. I'll lay out all the reasons I can think of - most of which will probably not apply to you but could be possibilities.

    * Term 1 is always very quiet when it comes to supply teaching.
    * Have you kept the agency up to date with your availability? I tend to call my teachers who keep in regular contact as they are at the front of my mind. Try giving them a very quick call in the morning you are free just to say "I'm up and ready to go"
    * Do you live close to schools? Some of my teacher who dont get as much work live in the middle of nowhere so it is hard for them to get to schools.
    * Do you get good feedback? Harsh as it sounds, teachers who dont do a great job get put on DO NOT USE lists - and are not sent back. Ask your agency for feedback they have had on you.
    * How flexible are you? Do you teach primary and secondary? A range of Key Stages?
    * Do you answer your phone? I know it sounds basic but it will stop your consultant from calling if they can never get through to you.

    Of course, none of these could be the reason. Your agency could just be useless!

    I fully understand how frustrated you must be - I've done supply in my time too and agencies can be VERY frustrating!

    I hope this maybe helps!
  11. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    It's rather annoying to hear about the agency list sidelining some supply teachers based on poor feedback. Is this done when only one negative comment has been passed on or does it require several similar comments from different schools?
    I would imagine that most contracted teachers have off days but they do not lead to them being flagged up as worthless. Contracted teachers will also take paid leave when they are under the weather but, increasingly, supply teachers will feel compelled to accept a booking even if they are feeling ill as their income has been in freefall for several years. Combine hostile pupil attitudes( and behaviour) to having a supply teacher with a teacher who is below par and financially stressed and it's not surprising that it won't be seen as the most productive educational day.
    With no idea of key stages, subjects to be taught and pupil abilities, supply days can also be like the first day of term from the supply teachers point of view yet I suspect that most of us achieve more with unknown classes than was managed with their permanent teacher on Day one!
    Basically, we're just the fall guys in some schools. I'm not averse to telling classes that I have never met their usual teacher and have not been told what has triggered their sick leave but that I have worked it out for myself based on their attitudes and behaviour!
  12. First I would like to thank all of the good, supportive feedback that everyone has given me. I am taking everything on board and try to get back in the teaching game. The problem with the agency which I used to get most of my supply from is that the regulars have left and it's now staffed by newbies who don't know me. I am thinking of contacting other branches of said agency even if it means more travelling.
    The last point made about poor feedback is very good. Sometimes it isn't even down to sub par performance, many times, the supply has done something which the school deems wrong and the supply is an easy scapegoat. Once, I got blamed for leaving a door open even though another class and their teacher came in after mine. One agent remarked that supply teaching is ruthless, it shouldn't be like that.
  13. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    Agencies are there to find us work yes, but we call the shots when and where we are prepared to work. If they want us on their books then they need to keep us sweet after all its their living we are supporting and that is the problem... if they cannot fill the position on offer the schools go elsewhere............ but to me that is not enough for me to be available on the end of the phone 24/7....... when there is possibility of more and regular work elsewhere. If I am available... then I can do the work if not then its an opportunity for someone else to have a good days paid work.

    Keep doing what you like best and if you are happy with the amount of work for supply teaching then keep it like that... to swap to all supply teaching would be financial suicide.......
  14. zenmonkey

    zenmonkey New commenter

    Don't be daft Toby, you are talking about agencies here as if they were motivated by some professional ethos with some sort of ethical philosophy underpinning their actions, once when I complained to an agewncy that I had registered with that they had never contacted me or offered me any work they started to attack my ability as a teacher , (like they would know having never put me in a school) other agencies rated me excellent. It's all about the money, they can and will do anything for the highest commision/ most proffit and say what is most expedient at the time, use any exscuse to make you feel in the wrong and that you owe them in some way.
    Also I don't know about other teachers but I did my PGCE when I was 40 and I have always found that my non teaching life experience was of great interest to the kids and very useful in making me an effective teacher.
    but remember also teaching with its emphasis on planning, and creating a controlled environment can attract a somewhat anal character who likes a place for everything and everything in its place, which is not the way the so called "real world" works.
    if you are flexible and adaptable these are virtues, you are free to sell your labour where you can and in the present climate that is a virtue, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise
    kind regards zenmonkey.

  15. Wrong. The customer is the school, you are merely the tool and there are so many tools you are disposable. You don't like it? &^%$ off You don't want to work 60 miles away and be there in 40mins, tough, we won't call you again..... Sadly supply and demand has totally fallen against the favour of the supply teacher, the agencies are competing with each other and driving the prices down and sadly, you will get what you are given. If you want to call the shots, you probably won't have any work, unless your mum is a head of a school they use lots, etc.

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