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What should go into a supply teacher handbook?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by celebrity_gossip_fan, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. celebrity_gossip_fan

    celebrity_gossip_fan New commenter

    Hi all,
    I'm putting together a handbook for supply teachers in our school.
    Would really appreciate your imput on what sort of things you'd find useful to know when arriving at a new school as Supply.

    Many thanks.
  2. celebrity_gossip_fan

    celebrity_gossip_fan New commenter

    Hi all,
    I'm putting together a handbook for supply teachers in our school.
    Would really appreciate your imput on what sort of things you'd find useful to know when arriving at a new school as Supply.

    Many thanks.
  3. Hi all,
    I'm putting together a handbook for supply teachers in our school.
    Would really appreciate your imput on what sort of things you'd find useful to know when arriving at a new school as Supply.

    Many thanks.
    [/quote]...Hi all,
    I'm putting together a handbook for supply teachers in our school.
    Would really appreciate your imput on what sort of things you'd find useful to know when arriving at a new school as Supply.

    Many thanks...

    Having worked in over 30 secondaries in Devon as a supply teacher (popular!), the documents that I have seen/been given range from the excellent to the banal and patronising...some essentials are:
    • Names plus phone numbers (internal) of departmental key staff- must be up-to-date!
    • Map (latest edition)/plan of the whole school
    • Disciplinary/reward systems, documentaion etc
    • Timetable
    • HW policy
    • Leadership Team personnel
    • Pastoral care/clubs/exams etc
    • History of the school
    • Ofsted summary - not just the usual quips!
    • Policy and value statements about qualified supply teachers
    • Year groupings
    • Staff briefings:where, when and what!
    • Sign-in procedures/reception procedures etc etc
  4. jillinthebox

    jillinthebox New commenter

    I'm primary, so use as appropriate:
    Routines - are you expected to collect kids from the yard or do they just come in (and where the heck IS the yard in many rabbit-warren schools). Some indication of what class lines up where would be a help as well - even if it's Year 2 line up on the red dot on the yard.
    Assembly times and general expectations if we stay in or not
    Break duty rota (preferably one with proper "teacher names" on - ones with just initials are hard to work out when you've just read on the door that it's Mrs Smith's room and there's a HS FS and DS on the rota
    Wet play - cover arrangements and what the kids are/aren't allowed to do (in terms of using computers etc)
    Discipline system - and some indication of how serious things have to be for children to end up being sanctioned - this varies wildly across schools in terms of what's acceptable and what warrants a frog marching down the corridor to the head/resident scary teacher. Some indication of who we can send children who are really pushing it to - it's amazing what difference a name to drop has on a class
    Coffee/staffroom chairs politics - if things like this get particularly contentious in your school (I've been in schools where they've had named chairs in the staffroom with properly made engraved plaques!)
    End of day routines - are children dismissed from the classroom, from the door; what happens to late-collected children? (Again, I've had a flea in my ear from a school secretary for not realizing the expectation was to remain in the classroom for 30 minutes with the child, whereas other schools give it 10 minutes and then all go and wait in the reception area, some schools have rotas for which teacher waits with late collected kids - some don't)
    Hall timetable, ICT timetable - if there's a time you HAVE to be out of the hall for (so they can set up for lunch etc) it's handy to know that so you don't end up teaching under the venemous stares of irrate dinnerladies.
    The code for the photocopier, login for the IWB computer, login details for the ICT suite if the kids are of the age where they'll never remember this (mainly reception/Y1 ish... although I'm sure some older ones deny all knowledge of ever having logged on when confronted by a supply)
    I've got one particular school in mind when I write this - they've got a numeric code lock to their staff area, which is great... but the staff loos are behind that locked door which they never tell the code to - and there have been a number of times I've been stood blue in the face, cross-legged hoping someone comes by before the end of break so I can get through and pay a visit!
    Again - if we're out on break duty/outdoor PE... can someone please give us the code to get back INTO the building afterwards?!
    Oh and the big one - WHERE THE LOOS ARE!!!
  5. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    All that has already been mentioned but also
    Photographs with registers......... invaluable.
    Double printed registers, one usualy goes to student reception the other to make notes beside pupils names - good and bad - again invaluable otherwise you are left with no quick way of checking names.
    Laminated pass cards for Toilet, Medical Room, Other (different coloured)
    A bundle of Cover Lesson Report sheets........... again invaluable to leave an update for the teacher.

  6. May have been said already but here's my list of things which would be useful to a primary supply teacher (surprising what you don't get told):
    • School routine i.e. when assemblies are, do we stay in assembly, etc
    • Class timetable
    • Class routine- if children need to be collected in the morning/from break, what happend when it's hometime- do children just go out or wait for parents to come, etc
    • Names of children in class
    • Map of the school would be good or at least a tour of the school when we arrive (surprising how many schools show you to the classroom and nowhere else)
    • Staff names and where to find them. Names of each teacher, their responsibilities and the year they teach would be useful (no point in asking a teacher from Reception what the routine in Year 6 is)
    • Policies incase anything happens and we need to know the correct procedures
    • What sanctions are in place should there be any behavioural issues. Who to send children to or ask for if there are any major problems
    • How does the school reward good behaviour? house points?
    • Playground duty
    • Password for the computer or any other codes we might need throughout the day (many schools are using SIMS and we can't do the register without the password!!)
    • Lunchtime is a big thing- does the class have a dinnerlady? do they go straight out onto the playground or straight down to lunch?
    • If anyone is in to read with children, take children out of the classroom
    • Names of the children and anything we need to know about SEN, EAL, behaviour, allergies, etc of any children (I had a child who was diabetic but wasn't told until I went home...good job nothing happened to her during the day!)
    • Seating plan of the children- amazing how many children forget where they should be sat or tell you they can sit wherever they want when they can't
    • Names of groups and which group is which ability (writing that a piece of work is for HA is fine but which group of children are HA)
    • Schools marking procedure- do you use black/red/green/blue ink? some schools use different symbols for spelling mistakes, etc
    • Guided reading- where are the books, groups, names of children in each group, am I required to write any comments
    • Golden time- what happens? do I stay in the classroom? does my class stay with me in the classroom or do children go to different places/activities during golden time?
    Hope this helps [​IMG] if only more schools were so organised and thought about what a supply teachers life is like when entering the unknown
  7. celebrity_gossip_fan

    celebrity_gossip_fan New commenter

    This is all great stuff, thank you. I really appreciate your imput and am using all your suggestions!
  8. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    Oh and board markers...................... where are they ... when you want one?
  9. In secondary the school day and lesson times FIRST PAGE not next to last
    If it is a complicated split lunchtime system, Then make it less complicated to understand.
    SIMS register log in code that can be understood without a verbal briefing which you will not get anyway.
    If no SIMS register access then the school provides class lists.
    If the school has an on call system then a paragraph on that.
    The list of all the HOD/HOYs and the school cats e-mail, do me a favour. If you want to find who is who in the school ask the children.
    Assembly system (schools always fri g this up.) supply teacher scrambling to an empty classroom.
    Last word for big high tech secondaries. Do not say you are a welcoming school if you cant provide a way for a supply teacher to pay cash for a school dinner.
    sorry for shouting but schools which write welcoming community miff me when they are not welcoming communitiies (sometimes)
  10. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    What a shame Geffone the schools I go to offer free tea and coffee and have a trollies with sarnies etc on to get lunch at break.
    Great facilities.
  11. Hi,
    I am currently writing a policy for supply teachers and was wondering if you could give me some advice?
    The aim of writing the policy is to help bring some continuity to the way supply teachers are with classes (as much as possible anyway). I think from reading the various threads a handbook of some kind would be better. Is this what you would advise?

  12. moleylong

    moleylong New commenter

    In primary these handbooks MUST include for each different class whether there are people a child must not go home with/can only go home with.

    As supplies we obviously do not know the parents/carers of the children in our charge and this makes home-time VERY stressful for me as I don't know if there are any particular people children can/cannot go home with. A sheet of paper with this info on would be great.
  13. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    VITAL many classrooms have no manual board (black or white)
    So set aside some log in staff accounts for supply teachers to use, especially if they work for you regularly.
    Trying to teach in a classroom with interactive board and nothing else is a completely avoidable pain in the butt.
    My favourite school set up 4 accounts: supply1, supply2 etc. I could save work which came in vary handy on repeat visits! alos this meant that I could leave slides used for the class teacher to access via the ICT manager.
    Less helpful schools say some untrue gobbledigook about the Data Protection Act (Code for cannot be bothered, sadly <u>some</u> ICT techs are very lazy!)
    Also very important. If there is a visual discipline system such as traffic lights, make sure they are issued and expleined with all staff neck badges etc.
  14. Among the best of ideas is having a sheet with the lesson plan on, the numbers and contacts of anyone who you might need to know and an area for feedback. I would go a step further and suggest that the head pulls their head out of their asre and actually takes an active interest in how cover is being managed, what work is being set, if this is appropriate and what the feedback informs.

    I remember when I was training and Superchief said "If you are ill, what do you set" and I said "I'd just give them a lesson plan which they could use to teach my class". The answer was "no" due to one not being sure who would be taking the class

    I used to find it moderately irritating (before I stopped giving a ferk) that the school would go to huge expense in dragging me in there, with my "get the job done" ability, only for me to say "Here are the red books, start on page 66 read and answer the questions, if you finish the whole book in the time of the lesson, I'll give you another book". They may as well have used a cover supervisor!!!!

    My mind boggles how schools ooze all the bull$hit and buzzwords about caring about each pupil as an individual and how the learning schemes treat all the learners in a specific learning way tailored to meet their learning needs....and staff are up until 3 in the morning planning exciting, challenging lessons which celebrate diversity, cross curricular links and contain the ability for learners with diverse needs to express themselves creatively whilst furthering their blahdy blah ****** ******, spending all their holidays working very very very hard with all that coursework which challenges learners blahdy ****** AND WHEN IT COMES TO COVER TIME IT'S A CASE OF TURNING TO PAGE 66!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have a bloody brilliant idea. How about you put a big sign up in the staff room and another on the desktop of the heads PC that says "WHEN YOU ARE OFF, HOW ABOUT SETTING SOME BLOODY APPROPRIATE WORK WHICH EXTENDS AND CHALLENGES THE STUDENTS?!?!?!?!?!?! RATHER THAN TAKING THE PI$$ OUT OF THE STUDENTS AND THE SUPPLY STAFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the realisation that people see their "off time" as "down time". It's arrogant and sets the students back. USE THE BLOODY STAFF!!!!!! AFTER ALL, MOST OF THEM ARE PRETTY BLOODY GOOD AT TAKING AN UNKNOWN CLASS AND PUTTING THEM TO WORK

    I'm sure that you will think I'm some sort of c- unit, however, I am barking up the right tree, I tell thee
  15. Is that the sound of a nail being thwacked soundly on the head? It can't be woodwork as most of those teachers have gone from their jobs (pushed or fell, who knows?) , so it must be the sound of reality.
    Nice one Stuart Dann!
  16. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

  17. One small thing that would be useful would be a note on the school's policy on letting pupils out to go to the toilet during lessons. Some schools have toilet cards; others let them go all the time and the pupils create a fuss if the supply teacher says no; others don't let them go at all and the supply teacher might be criticised for letting them be out of lessons.
  18. outstanding of course you are on c-unit, It is where they put the sane teachers!
    Loved that, teachers moaning about being up all night doing lesson plans, but never leave sensible cover work! Coz they love the children so much.

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