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That Early-Morning Uncertainty

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by FledglingMathsTeacher, May 24, 2011.

  1. Hello,
    I'm new to supply. So new, in fact, that I haven't actually done any of it yet. I only registered with an agency a few weeks ago, and some of that time was spent waiting for CRB clearance.
    I've been told I could get a call at 7am or 7.30am or 8am on any morning with an urgent request to work. So, every morning there is that anxious waiting period. Will Iget work today? Where will it be? Will I cope all right? Will the kids run me ragged? It doesn't help that I'm still an NQT, with only two terms' experience of teaching, and those two terms were hard.
    But anyway... I wondered, how do others cope with the uncertainty? Do you have a daily morning routine, where you prepare yourself for a possible day's teaching? Do you have a ready-ironed suit on permanent standby? Do you make sure your hair is always washed and in good condition, in case you have to leave the house at a moment's notice? Do you find it hard to make plans for what to do each day, because you know you might have to drop everything?
    Or is that kind of supply, in fact, quite rare? Do most people do medium to long term supply? Do the short-term supply workers work 5 days per week in different places, or maybe have regular every-monday-and-tuesday gigs?
    I'm intrigued to hear your stories and learn how people manage this uncertain life I find myself in!
  2. I am always half ready to go. Satnav and phones ready, PC on to cross check navigation, an agency can give a naff or old postcode. In the good old days I would get day to day which would go week to week on an ask back.
    On work depends where you live it is very area and subject dependent. My area awful for teacher employment.
    Agencies, bad agencies with poor pay rates have the most work. Beware of bullying agencies. Trusting agencies is based on developing relationships. and I have good relationships with three good agencies. The others I will starve before I will work for them.

  3. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    I agree with geffone, work in Gt Manchester for me is quite poor, but I still get up at 6.30 take my dog for a walk or two and get ready by 7.15 in the hope of a phone call. The truth is, I don't think you ever get use to the waiting for a phone call, because you are constantly on edge, wondering will they phone, if they do will it be the school from hell again, but you carry on getting up every morning doing the same routine, waiting for the non-existant phone call.
  4. And what do you do when the call doesn't come? Do you have a range of activities which can be dropped at a moment's notice? Do you have to avoid making plans which can't easily be cancelled? Do you scrupulously inform the agencies whenever you have something uncancellable (like a job interview) coming up, or is that likely to make them see you as unreliable/not consistently available?
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I'm now coming to the end of my 16th year on supply & day-to-day supply is difficult - never being able to plan even to have coffee with a friend, always being ready with bag packed, clothes ready etc, just in case . . .
    We have no agencies within my LA & apart from one school I now haven't had a call for six months & as that school is set to close at the end of the year. During that time I've had long-term posts & every time I the have to re-establish myself with new schools, to become their 'new regular'.
    It is difficult not knowing if one will have any money at the end of the month & coping with not working does take it's toll.
    Days when one works are however what makes one continue. Being in children's company renews one's faith in why one entered teaching in the first place & having a chance to see children enjoy lessons (sometimes, not always possible -depends on the work left) & learn.
  6. At 0700h, 0730h ? Never. Call centre staff are only in their offices by 0730 have coffee etc and start ringing around on your behalf at around 0740h [if you are lucky] and some cover managers don't ring until 0800h. God help you if you have to walk, bike or bus to hwork assignments????
    Best to be proactive and ring them yourself around 0740 and state your availability for the day/week etc.

  7. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    If I have plans that cannot be changed, then I inform the agency in advance that I will be unable to work on that day, but otherwise I do not or to be honest cannot make plans that cannot be altered, because as other people have said, you do not know if the phone will ring or not, so for many of use our lifes from monday to friday is in limbo from 7 to 9 am in the morning and to some extent between 11.30 and 1 o'clock at dinner time, because you may get an afternoon somewhere.
  8. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    Ps. If there is no work, then I do some work on my part time MA (Ed), walk the dog, do a bit of shopping, watch parliament live (for example I yesterday watch Michael Gove and his ministers advoid answering questions or labour MP's in the main asking pointless questions), etc, so I can keep myself fairly occupied if there is no work.
  9. I don't get morning calls any more. The agency says I'm "unreliable". I would put down the 'phone and drive as quickly as I could to the school but a few times I've turned up a few minutes late. I can't control the traffic. Still, I suppose the agency has to blame someone.
  10. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    When I'm on daily supply it's up at 6:30, then ready and waiting near the phone, piddling around on the computer from 7:30 until about 9:30. After that if there's no call I just get on with the long list of other tasks I have to do so I'm rarely if ever at a loose end. I'll sometimes agree to do an afternoon cover at short notice. I assume weekdays are work days and don't usually make other plans. If I'm proved wrong then so be it.
  11. lrw22

    lrw22 Senior commenter

    I get up at about 6.30 and get ready for work. Then watch breakfast t.v or catch up on my viewing on Iplayer, ITV.com or whatever whilst waiting for the call! I've got a list of jobs to get on with if the call doesn't come (gardening, tidying out cupboards, all the bits and pieces that don't get done otherwise) and I just get on with stuff. Also been doing an evening class so I get on with my homework for that.
  12. lrw22

    lrw22 Senior commenter

    Oh yes and since I get up so early I have an afternoon nap!
  13. My agencies know I hate doing them and I've got a tendency to ignore the phone - they tend to ring me once to give me the option and then move onto someone else, and channel prebooked stuff my way. But I've worked for them a long while to be able to do that with them. If I know I'm doing something I'll update my availability (at the moment I'm totally off AM calls cos I'm SATs marking and like to plan out workload) - otherwise if they call, they call, if not - I go do something and definitely don't wait in on the offchance of an afternoon. If one materializes and I haven't made plans for the day I take it, but they're comparatively rare and I refuse to live my life on THAT much hold (incidentally the agency has the knack of ringing for an afternoon when I'm in the chiller cabinet aisle on Tescos!).
  14. bulegila

    bulegila New commenter

    I also hate the morning wait for calls. I get round this by staying in bed with the phone next to me if it rings then I get up. I don't see the need to get up early especially when it is being slow on the supply front. I always have my clothes hung up ready to go as well as by bag packed with stuff I may need. I usually have a food in a container ready to go as well. If I don't get a call I can eat it for lunch.

    If I don't have any supply that day then I'll do odd jobs around the house and gardening or go for a swim. I don't wait around for a slight chance of an afternoon of work.
  15. It's funny - because I've never yet done any supply, I find it hard to believe in its existence. So I'm not very prepared at all. I'm hoping that I'll get a bit more warning than that on my first job, but they've been quite vague about what I should expect. I suppose I should at least have clothes ready.
    OK, next question... what do you take with you on a job at a new school, where you've never worked before so don't know what to expect? I have read that I should have emergency worksheets (I haven't yet found such a thing as a generic maths worksheet, so if anyone cares to share I'd be grateful), spare equipment for both me and the pupils, and a list of rules that I can pin on the board. Any other suggestions?

  16. Hi, I just started too!
    I have amobile, notepad and pen on my bedside table and an outfit ready in the wardrobe.
    I jump up and check google maps and the school start time as some start at 8.40 - beware of this!!!
    In the car boot: trainers, bottled water and sat nav. Also streetmap in case the postcode is duff!

    Enjoy the freedom and the craziness :)
  17. I like your style [​IMG]
  18. General reply to original post but seems to want to reply to last one!!!

    Well, I am new to supply, after a saga of getting vetted I am ready to go, ah yes, its half term. ANyway, I have also said I am available for teaching assistant cover and all other things my agency are offering as it still pays more than jobseekers - currently claiming as I was made redundant in March. I also can't do the early morning calls as I have a toddler and a husband who works shifts so i need to be able to arrange childcare. The agency said this was common and fine and they often get pre booked work so I would have that noted on my file. SHe asked me if I was free in the holidays this morning and I said I was but wondered why and they said that day nurseries often provide much of the holiday work as they are an agency which covers alsorts of establishments. May be worth asking at your agency or finding others that offer this too.
  19. I used to work on the premise that I wouldn't get the call (even though I was that bloke who would have no quibbles and drive anywhere immediately). Go to the pub and have a shower when you come back, have a lie in, don't set your alarm, have your phone right by your head and if it rings, you are on the case in 2 minutes. Lynx shower, jump in the car and smoke some tyres. You are on it! Be the smartest man in the building. I always was, even though I still smelt like a petrol drinkers penis from the night before and was sometimes functioning on autopilot, I was always the smartest man in the building. People don't question a smart man, they think "Gosh, that is a very very smart man with very shiny shoes and a very neat briefcase". Couple that with Oxford English and you can bury the door handle planning, and being a chaotic *** in one devastating strike!

    I've bumped into types who are ready, suited and booted and well slept and they would be very lucky indeed to get a call. Don't put your life behind it, as supply is a fickle mistress.
  20. Echo the whistle. Good tool

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