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Teaching English on supply at a Grammar School.

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by speechcompanyinfo, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. speechcompanyinfo

    speechcompanyinfo New commenter

    Can anyone please advise me?
    I've been booked to teach English and Drama on supply at a Grammar school.
    The pupils are well behaved an motivated, and the staff seem to be supportive and intelligent. I've returned from my first day there, completely perplexed.
    They seem to have all the schemes of work "on the computer"... (I haven't had a login code yet, so I don't know what I will find.). and as far as I can gather, I am meant to find the schemes of work, for each year group. Then - what - ..?
    Its really confusing.

    I've returned to Supply after a long time looking after family members, and so I think things have really changed.
    It seems that I have to do every class, based on a Powerpoint series of slides... And eventually, I guess, I will be able to access these slides to work out what is on them, before I teach?

    I don't know what to make of it. I was in tears by the end of the day. Last time I did Supply teaching, we had A4 sheets for each class, to tell us what to teach, (if it was a good school), and if it was a challenging school, it was just "there are the kids good luck" followed by a departing teacher.

    I've never come across the "its on the computer, sort it out for yourself, when you gain access to the powerpoint on there" approach before. I don't think the staff mean to be dismissive, but I do think that its a sink or swim situation. And I have returned from my first day, with a sinking feeling.
    All advice welcome
  2. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Planning by powerpoint is pretty common in English these days. What you will probably find (once you get access to the computers) is that each powerpoint will:
    -have the learning objectives clearly stated on them
    -have the instructions for the starter, development, consolidation and plenary activities on there, probably in child-friendly language
    -have lots of visuals on there to support meaning
    -links to videos to support learning

    Essentially, probably everything (and more) that you got on the old A4 sheet.

    If they are really good, you might also find:
    - differentiation on there in terms of stepped success criteria, extension tasks and/or options when it comes to activities.
    - suggestions/instructions for questions in the notes section (only visible to teachers)
    - glossaries
    - timings for activities

    Hopefully, the powerpoint files (and any accompanying hand-outs) will all be numbered sequentially so it is easy to work out the order in which they should be taught

    My suggestion would be to ask the HoD (or the teacher who made these powerpoints) if you could observe them teaching via powerpoint so you get a sense of the house style.

    I think that once you get your head around this, you will find it a God-send: all the planning has been done for you, and the resources made, allowing you to present the learning in a format the students will be familiar with.

    Good luck!
  3. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I think three quarters of schools use power points now. It probably hasn't occurred to the staff that you don't know what they mean. Just tell them somebody has to log in for you every lesson, and you need a personal log in ASAP. You will be fine
  4. speechcompanyinfo

    speechcompanyinfo New commenter

    Many thanks to both of you - That's really helpful advice for next time. Actually the school dumped me today, and I'm full of relief. I had a Year 11 class who were off the scale in terms of bad conduct. Sad because the other classes were great. However, on both days, I ended up in tears of confusion.
    The school has a two week system. There seemed no way to work out where we WERE on the two week system, when it came to trying to find the right classes on the Staff Search.
    I spent this morning with the Tech team, and also the lunch break with them, trying to work it out. By the time I tried to get somebody in the English dept to explain, they'd written me off...
    The drama dept were very supportive, giving me all the info that I needed and one even emailed me with her powerpoint slides, so that I could prepare the lesson. They were a really nice bunch. However I had to explain that I'd been dumped.
    I am booked to go into another school next week and I've already worked there, so I know that they don't treat supply teachers badly and they don't have a dismissive attitude, and they provide help with powerpoint situations.
    After I complete that booking, I will go for a receptionist job and stay right away from teaching. Its far too brutal for me these days.
  5. speechcompanyinfo

    speechcompanyinfo New commenter

    However, looking on the bright side, I won't have to spend the weekend, desperately trying to access the grammar school computer and desperately trying to access these powerpoints, and desperately trying to work out where we are supposed to be on the two week cycle. Thank God! Message to tb9605, your description of the Powerpoint resources do make them seem very useful and interesting, so rather than end up terrified of the entire thing, (due to the way this grammar school treated me ) I think I will seek out people in the next school, (a much kinder place), and see if they will teach me how to use this resource. And message to Corvuscorax - yes - I think that you are right that the English staff didn't register that a person could come in and not know how to use a "Staff Search". But such was the brutality of the place, that my attempts to learn were negated and I was replaced as if I was less than human. Perhaps this is what teaching is these day, and that's why people seem so unhappy?
    tb9605 likes this.
  6. speechcompanyinfo

    speechcompanyinfo New commenter

    Gossip in the Health Club Ladies changing room - I mentioned the grammar school where I was dumped and treated badly - an the other girls fell about laughing.... Seems I'm not the only one. The odd thing is that (as we all chorused together) "Its meant to be a good school!!!" …. maybe it is, but if a supply teacher can't access the information needed to teach, what's the point?

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