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Unsuitable coverwork

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by georgebn29, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. georgebn29

    georgebn29 New commenter

    I have recently started at a new secondary school and have been off sick for 5 days. I have provided the same topic strand per class with at least 6 question different topics to choose from. Students would select their starting point and review answers from the textbook and write a topic focused reflection. I have limited resources when providing coverwork from home. The coverwork was not checked by HOD as they did not have the time. It comes to light a senior staff member complained about the same coverwork being set for each class even though they only covered one class today. I was told this coverwork is unacceptable. Yet I have done this for 5 days. I am off sick and to me if i am going to spend hours producing cover work I might as well return to work. All classes are of a similar ability and work is completly accessible so students can work independently. Any ideas about what I should do? I am sure that I have provided cover work beyond the time I would have been expected to. 5 days worth provided and most schools would be 3 days. HOD told me they do not have time to set it?
  2. 576

    576 Established commenter

    You need to clarify expectations in your school.
    I would expect the HoD to set cover work for ill teachers in their dept.
  3. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    Are all classes in the same year? If not, then setting the same work probably would flag up a problem. You wouldn't teach the same lesson to all year groups if you were in school.
    It's perfectly possible to set cover work without spending hours and hours.
    Short term absences at my school are usually provided by teacher. After a week then HOD sets cover.
  4. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Setting adequate cover work for more than one day is nearly impossible. It's highly unlikely you'll get feedback of how it went in lesson 1 for you to plan a suitable lesson in Lessons 2-3. The only way around this is to do lots of 'one-off' lessons and how you can do that without straying off curriculum is another miracle.

    So realistically the buck should have stopped with your HoD as the one on the spot and the person who should know exactly where you are anyway. Of course, this makes the harassed HoD even more over-worked so that won't happen either.

    As an experienced cover supervisor I'm far too used to lessons 2-5 being shambolic and have had to cajole the kids into "doing something useful" far too often. Even then I appreciate the issues above and only complain about inadequate work from the likes of teachers going on courses and not even bothering to do much about a single lesson.

    Another bit of advice, if you're returning to a ****-storm then only come back when you're fully fit. It's bad enough having to sort out the mess left by various teachers/kids and if more hassle is coming your way then you need to be 100%.

    Jack Cazorla
    Author of "How to be a Cover Supervisor"
  5. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I would politely inform your critique that you take their points fully on board, but find being criticised for doing something you do not have to actually do in light of your sickness difficult.
  6. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    The fact that you are ILL means that you are not capable of doing the job that day. How on earth they think you can set sensible and meaningful cover work from your sick bed is beyond me. Yet it continues to be expected in the vast majority of schools I've come across. Then they complain about the quality of your work when off sick.

    Tell them to set the work themselves.
    ilovesooty and RedQuilt like this.
  7. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    This is precisely the reason cover supervisors should not be used for anything other then one off lessons or emergency cover (teacher suddenly taken sick, stuck in traffic, meeting with parent etc),

    If a teacher is going to be off for anything longer then a day they should not be expected to plan lessons (and not at all if they are sick), A subject specific supply teacher will be able to pick up from where the class left off and continue with the scheme of work until the regular teacher returns.

    Why are the unions not doing anything about this?
  8. johnberyl

    johnberyl Occasional commenter

    Unions are only as strong as their ability to act collectively. In essence that is what they are. That is how they work. Their membership have struggled to act collectively with the Actions Short of Strike Action so I don't see how they can do anything to address issues such as this.

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