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Supply Teacher bullied by kids?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by Vixen46, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    I have been a supply teacher since qualifying and normally love what I do, have a passion for teaching and can usually manage difficult classes. However the last week has been horrific, with me refusing to go back to a school as the verbal abuse that came my way was just one step too far. Even the other students told this lad he had overstepped the mark, and asked " Miss, are you ok?" . I am appalled with myself because as this awful pupil was dismissed from the classroom, calling me names, I muttered under my breath words to the effect of "go ahead then, go and enjoy your sad little life". Unfortunately he heard me say it and I cannot repeat on here what was said to me. I feel ashamed that I reacted the way that I did but it had been a lesson where I was personally insulted and had remakrs made about my weight, appearance etc. There was no support from the school whatsoever, but now I am having sleepless nights about what might happen. Please can anyone offer some advice? Thank you.
     
  2. Hi,
    I have been a supply teacher since qualifying and normally love what I do, have a passion for teaching and can usually manage difficult classes. However the last week has been horrific, with me refusing to go back to a school as the verbal abuse that came my way was just one step too far. Even the other students told this lad he had overstepped the mark, and asked " Miss, are you ok?" . I am appalled with myself because as this awful pupil was dismissed from the classroom, calling me names, I muttered under my breath words to the effect of "go ahead then, go and enjoy your sad little life". Unfortunately he heard me say it and I cannot repeat on here what was said to me. I feel ashamed that I reacted the way that I did but it had been a lesson where I was personally insulted and had remakrs made about my weight, appearance etc. There was no support from the school whatsoever, but now I am having sleepless nights about what might happen. Please can anyone offer some advice? Thank you.
     
  3. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    First thing you must immediately do is not think you are alone in this experience - every (and I mean every) teacher has had such a day, or days (or weeks!!)
    You did nothing wrong either in your reaction, and despite the abuse back, such comments from you may well have helped.
    Secondly, if the school cares not to help you, then you must care not about them - don't go back there. Or if you do, just keep calm and have the boy removed immediately, do not enter any conversation with him.
    But don't beat yourself up about this, use it more as an experience to help you next time. As said, we are all different I know, but I find a poker face and no reaction from me at all, together with a calm request to another child to fetch the HT, is the best way forward. (Or whatever the school policy is)
    Now go and get some sleep and shaddup!!

     
  4. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Getting a supply teacher these days seems to be an invitation to even usually well-behaved pupils to act up (or 'have a larf' in their parlance).
    I have noticed that the degree of verbal abuse has gone up a notch in the past year or so.
    I had a pupil removed for directing the 'F' word at me and he continued to scream at me and call me a 'stupid fu$king bit$h' as the Deputy Head cajoled him out of the classroom with soft, peading words. He was returned, accompanied by another teacher, 10 minutes later and I refused to take him back!
    I have a theory for why things are getting worse for us. Supply teachers are regarded as at the bottom of the pecking order (by pupils and by some staff!) and that marks us out as 'fair game'.
    In recent years schools have taken on more, permanent CS and the pupils are not aware that they are NOT teachers. If anything, pupils think that they are senior staff because they are always in school but the pupils don't get 'taugh't by them regularly; this puts CS on a par with SMT in most pupils' minds.
    In addition, many schools employ temporary CS who are able to respond to the ubiquitous "Are you a supply Teacher?" with "No, I'm not!" That ability to not be labelled 'the supply' saves CS from the worst excesses of pupils.
    Pupils who have not had the same opportunities as years ago to bait supply teachers, will take full advantage when the rare supply teacher is employed (usually when the in-house CS are on sick leave). They might not have the opportunity again for weeks or months, so they let rip and make the most of it.
    I was provisionally offered 2 weeks of work starting today and was then contacted on Friday with the news that the school had managed to cover the absence internally, thank you very much. I can guarantee that the different CS who will cover those classes (a practical subject) will get less abuse whilst doing brain-numbing wordsearches and poster designs than I'd have received teaching them proper lessons with practicals.
    To the OP ... stop worrying! As long as you weren't swearing, letting off steam quietly in a sarcastic way is not a hanging offence!
     
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I think you've summed up the situation very succinctly jubilee.
     
  6. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    As others have said I wouldn't worry about this incident. Of course it wasn't very professional to respond as you did, but I bet it felt good, allowed you to let some steam off in a harmless way and probably something the little toad needed to hear anyway. I expect most teachers have muttered something under their breath and have been caught out and its certainly something you will not do again.
    Take it onboard as a lesson to yourself, put it down to experience and move on.
     
  7. Don't worry unduly about it. I, too, have been in a class where the children were rude and ill-mannered and verbally abusive. I just refuse to go back there. It is the only school I've been to where I have been treated so badly. Other schools ask for me personally and I'm treated well and love teaching in those schools. Don't make your life miserable, there ARE nice classes out there.
     
  8. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    Sounds like you've earnt yourself a very large glass of wine or other tipple of choice. I wouldn't let the little toe rag get to you! Which I know is easier said than done sometimes. My last perm job was a year of aggro as I was working in a school where my face didn't fit and the kids gave new staff a hard time. It's a shame that some people are like it and as to your comment you are only human at the end of the day so you can't be this bastion of perfection all the time.
    Speak to your agency, tell them you don't want to work there again and say why. You are a profession that not only works in a valuble role (teaching in general) but we're the ones that get called in to plug the gaps when the perm staff are off. Yes, some schools don't value us and else where on the web I had a run in with a cover supervisor type (I'm not sure what their role was) that thought they were better than a supply teacher as they were teaching an A-Level subject and it was better than a string of supply teachers, apparently all the staff thought that so I can see why they never kept a supply long!
    Remember we're awesome, we're the paratroopers of the teaching world dropped in at the deep end to sink or swim.
     
  9. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    On at least one occasion I've told that sort of kid that it's not necessary to punish him because he has to spend the rest of his life being him, and that's punishment enough. I don't recall any come back.
     
  10. The most important thing you do right now is - try and stop worrying about what happened. Easier said than done, but worry depletes and accomplishes little. What is done is done. In the past now.
    I always try and imagine that my mind is a blackboard onto which I write and scribble all the cr-ap which has happened to me on that day at school and then rub it off when I walk out the gates.
    Hope you can relax a little today. Don't let the bas-tards get you down!! Or grind you down.
    But don't dwell on it.
    Give yerself a pat on the back for coping. You let rip (momentarily) and muttered something. You are human. You are allowed to make mistakes. Most folk (if they are honest) would have reacted in the same way or at least thought the same.
    Take comfort from the fact that a lot of the kids "felt" for you and could see your helplessness and that you were visibly upset. That is a positive and shows that most kids are inherrently decent.
    I have, in my time on supply, had tipp- ex thrown at me, been called every name under the sun and in one Brum school, I'd have a year 7 lad proclaim "You ca't bloo-dy teach! You're cr-ap". I would send him out and he'd get his arm and swipe off everything on my desk onto the floor and throw the exercise books on the floor which were on the shelf next to the door. He'd storm off and run round the school! Boasting! Same kid would stand next to me and impersonate me and then do the tough "What's yer problem? Can't you take a joke! Tut. Tut".
    He loved going to isolation for the day as all his mates were in there and he was the "hero"!
    I would NEVER go back to that school as there were a lot of kids like that! They ruled the stack.
    Supply is one of the hardest things in the world and you will get little sh-its who do this. They like it and it makes them look big - street-cred.
    BUT, you need to switch off this evening and do something nice. Remember - it is the kid who has a problem and not you.
     
  11. Well done you! It just goes to show, there are plenty of good classes out there who will appreciate you. 6 weeks work is fantastic!
     
  12. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    Personal comments are not acceptable and we would all prefer that they never happened but school is also about growing up and gaining social skills as well as academic qualifications and to this end we all know that the teaching profession can always present us with something that we are unprepared for. All of us have something that we might call our achillies heel and the only way to deal with this is to be aware of this and have in your mind prepared answers preferably to distract, divert or to lighten up the situation not always easy to do but try we must after all we are role models and if we buckle every time something personal is aimed at us then its time for a rethink. Fortunately for supplies we can choose not to return to the school............. however, get emotionally prepared as it may well happen again.
    Enjoy your next placement.
     

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