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The life of a supply teacher - in today's TES

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by Lucy2711, May 22, 2019.

  1. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Lucy2711

    Thanks for posting. If you are interested in more real life stories about supply teachers, have a look through the My Horrible Day thread.

    My own story is in there but there are many other stories too from other supply teachers.

    You are right...just a bit more awareness might make the situation better.
  3. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Might have a read of that later
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  4. pwtin

    pwtin Star commenter

    The life of a supply teacher is indeed a tough and lonely one. Invisible and ignored in many places, however you quickly toughen up and get used to it. I tend to treat people I meet how they treat me and get on with my day. Luckily on day to day we know we do not have to return and walk out of the building at the end of the day without looking back but with a days pay in our pocket.
  5. historygrump

    historygrump Star commenter Forum guide

    Sadly the article as some truth, I have been to a school in which supply staff had to sit in the library at break and dinner times, I did not go back to the school or schools were the cover work is a simple poster or makes on lined paper and not in their books. As if their books are reserved just for the permanent staff or you need a code or key to get into the classroom or staff toilet, but you are given neither. You are not allowed to take the register on sims, because you are just a supply. I have been given access to the staff section to see the cover work, but sometimes it hidden under the initials of the teacher and you are expected to identify the teacher, as if you have some special powers or in the case I have going recently, where the cover work as been the same for weeks and the kids are fed up with, because it is so boring.

    To be fair some schools treat supply with respect and support to some extent, you can take the register on sims, gave achievement points or log detentions, but sadly many do not, some permanent staff support and welcome supply staff, but some treat supply staff as idiots who only work supply, because they cannot teach.

    I hope the article wakes up the teaching profession and ensure support for supply teachers, but in truth there is more chance of me winning the lottery this week.
  6. Teslasmate

    Teslasmate Occasional commenter

    Once had an interview where the head spent ages grilling me to try and find out what was wrong with me because I was a supply teacher and had been for a while. M0ron.
  7. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Quality supply teachers are integral to the running of any school, because life happens and teachers are sometimes absent. Many teachers have and will do supply teaching at one point or another. The way a school treats its supply staff speaks volumes. With devastating cuts in school budgets, the fact that agencies are still capitalising on supply teachers is a scandal.

    Having only just started doing supply in January the sentence highlighted is so very true. I now refuse to go back to schools who do not treat me well. A friendly welcome from staff is so rewarding and easy to do.

    When I was a HT we always ensured that supply staff were made to feel part of the family.
  8. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    I hardly do day-to-day supply but Mrs C does and she seems to either be impervious to such cold-shouldering or more likely so chatty that she steamrollers any such obliviousness aside.

    I set great store by going out of my way to chat to all adults in a school, which makes long-term quite enjoyable and hopefully I will continue to do the same when (or if) forced back into short-term.
  9. FrauRussell

    FrauRussell New commenter

    It never hurts to say hello, does it? Doesn't take much effort, and neither does a smile. I've found though, that it's easier in some schools than others, as some are quite open and happy places and others are, well, not. A good cover manager sets the tone as they will have interpersonal skills and know what you need to know and will tell you. They will also be approachable and helpful, even if others are "too busy". I've worked in departments where no-one makes contact and others where everyone does, sometimes in the same school. And, of course, that can happen in a permanent post. It's much worse when your invisibility lasts weeks, months or years, rather than a few days.
    JohnJCazorla, agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  10. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    I felt some of the worst behaviour is toned down...

    On the other hand, I’ve been lucky enough not to be excluded from staff rooms, where they still exist..
    pepper5 likes this.
  11. freshfriesan

    freshfriesan Occasional commenter

    Agreed. Bold lettering. I'd like yes, guardian, the sun, local news to pay me for supply horror stories. Some schools are a disgrace and if they're treating supply badly, they treat their own staff bad and have no regard for the safety of the students. That's the way I see it. That's the way that it is. Makes my blood boil. Within minutes I know the cut of a place. You can sense it.
    I've experienced such jealousy and vindictive ess of permanent staff coz they can't control my out of school time with utter waste of time nonsense. They don't like it ghat I give them a couple of weeks notice that I need a day off, they won't be paying for and it disappimtms them that I go home and have other interests besides data and marking. The one that didn't even look at my cv, and had me sat in a staff room while she chatted yo a colleague about her honeymoon. Co temptuous.
  12. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Yes, there are some schools I used to go to and wonder why someone hasn't closed them because they are so dysfunctional.
    agathamorse and a1976 like this.
  13. a1976

    a1976 Established commenter

    Me too. Sadly, I don't go to many schools anymore.
    pepper5 likes this.
  14. pwtin

    pwtin Star commenter

    It makes me laugh when you go to some schools and in big letters in the entrance is a sign saying warm, friendly, welcoming school when you know it is anything but.
  15. freshfriesan

    freshfriesan Occasional commenter

    Generally, as a rule, if they're paying for all that shtit signage and tat telling you that they're this that and the other., generally they're not.
    Funny, this time two years back I had very bad experience in school due to some scum of a teacher. He actually writes for tes himself. I'd done two days, without incident, almost, bar the lesson they had timetabled into a room half the size needed and not provided work till late on. During the faff about waiting to go to another room, I got poked in the eye by some silly little girl enthusiastically putting rubbish in the bin. Due to upheaval, things were a bit messy at the end of the day.
    Anyway, on the third day, I was covering a class and one of their own staff decided to linger in the classroom "I've just got to plan a lesson" thd atmosphere very different with Sir sitting around. A little gaggle of girls began to beatch me, which I don't tolerate. Get on with yer work is my line. They didn't like me pulling them up over that. They didn't like me asking sir for plant cutting, sir himself shook his head in disbelief over such a shocking request in a science lab. Anyway, sir left the room, the girls wanted to hog thd fan to themselves. I told em tk leave it else I'd take it altogether. If course they chose to move it. Sir returned and the girls were squealing about my bad form. Sir looked to the girls first to find out what the squealing was all about, I stepped in and asserted myself, ie reminding him that I was person in charge not girls. Sir smirked and sniggered behind his hand thru whole lesson really. Absolutely disgusting. You would semi expect school staff to be a bit embarrassed that their students would speak to staff so unpleasantly with themselves present and remind them of their manners.
    I really did not like the vibe off this sir. Anyway, I let my agency know what had gone on, and later the day or on the Monday my agency had received email from school saying said teacher had seen me winding students up and I'd left a mess in the class the day before.
    I did not like the vibe off this sir at all, particularly in an all girls school. I was covering for some long term absence seemingly, next door to Sir and I hit the distinct impression that sir did not want any strong, consistent possibly female teachers next door to his classroom.
    Very creepy guy for sure. Too keen to be chums with teenage girls for my liking.
    But this can happen. Often as supply you cannot be too good at what you do nor too astute. They prefer to play blame supply in some schools. Sickens me. I've got to start making something of all this coz I'm skint. Working my way thru it. My eye still plays up after being poked also.
    It's laughable that this joker of a teacher is writing for tes. Sinister sir.
  16. a1976

    a1976 Established commenter

    Oh I can and do believe it! I will say that this year has been the WORST regarding the behaviour or students and staff. THis year, I have had kids swear to me in my face, I've had teachers tell students behind my back that I was only going to be teaching them until such and such date, then denied it. I've had headteachers see me in classrooms and dump kids in the room that I'm teaching in, and I've had students spoken to by the head, only to be patronised and sent back into my class and humoured. And, people and some of these people ask me to work in their schools on a long-term basis. That, I don't do anymore.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    The experiences in the article sound all to familiar. I think much of the perceived 'cold shouldering' is down to other teaching staff being too busy out of their minds to have time to interact with anyone around them. Sometimes, there is an element of 'kicking the cart', as frustrations can be taken out on a supply teacher with little fear of consequence.

    How some SMT members treat supply staff is another matter. As @a1976 said, I have known the person in charge of the seclusion room trailing their charges around, and dumping them in the class covered by a supply teacher.

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