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Worst day of supply, is teaching for me?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Rosie2278, May 22, 2019.

  1. Rosie2278

    Rosie2278 New commenter

    I’m a student teacher not yet qualified with QTS but hoping to start my teaching course next year. I’ve been doing supply for about a month, it’s been challenging at times but generally a fun experience. However today I had the worst lesson and it genuinely has me questioning if teaching is even the right career for me. Firstly, the lesson was with y10’s some of whom I’d taught so I made it clear to the other teacher in the department who would check up on me through the day that I would probably need his help. He agreed that he would pop in a few times in the lesson to ensure everything was going fine as he was aware of the troublesome class. I entered the classroom period 5 to a bunch of cheers all of the students were clapping and screaming as if they were at a football game apparently happy to see that I was teaching them. The min the other teacher left they started shouting out things like ‘your fit’ ‘date me’ and you’re ‘so young are you a sixth former’ etc. I told them to stop the comments and they laughed. Got them to start the work and three boys who often play up started saying silly comments. I got them out the classroom and had them removed. The rest of the lesson was fairly fine a bit loud but all except 1 were doing the set work. The kid who wasn’t doing the work came over to my desk and started opening the drawers. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was bored I asked him to remove his hands he said no. I moved his hand and he said you’re such an annoying *****. I told him to get out the class and when I went outside to confront him he thought it was funny. I told him he wasn’t to come back inside until he apologised and he put his foot on the door to block me from shutting it. Luckily a teacher in the office opposite came out to help he gave her and me attitude and she got him to move to take him to the office. When I got back inside the classroom everyone was screaming because the computers had shut down somehow due to a technical error. They started messing around as it was only ten minutes left and were annoyed that all the work they hadn’t saved was now gone. One kid who I had seen at break and had said how excited he was that I was teaching him today came over to me, with another student and said ‘you’re such a bad teacher’ ‘it’s clear that your out of your depth’ etc and he even went as far to say ‘this is why your just a supply’ and ‘im glad you’re not teaching here in sep.’ those words really hurt I’ve always thought that maybe I’m not the best teacher as I can be seen as too soft and the ‘nice supply’ but most of the kids do say how much they enjoy my lessons and will greet me in the corridor. But if students are saying this to me already then maybe I’m not good enough to teach. It’s not just that, however, today I was told by some girls that the boys often say degrading comments about me talking about how they’d f me and wanna date me. I’ve only been supplying there approx a month and the amount of dirty, sexual comments I’ve had is disgusting. So I’ve decided that I don’t want to return to that school, but now I’m debating if I even want to go into teaching at all. I don’t know if I’m being dramatic but this was meant to be a way for me to see how secondary teaching is like and if this is the norm then I don’t want anything to do with it.
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter


    1). Their behaviour is not down to your skills as a teacher. Baiting Supply is well established even in good schools - and this is clearly not a good school

    2) Write down asap everything that is said to you. Ask the school what their policy is for sexual harassment. Inform your agency that this is what is happening.

    3). Find a different school.

    4). Try a permanent role - behaviour is a bit better.

    5) whatever your decision make sure it's your decision and not the little people you taught today.

    Good luck
    JohnJCazorla and pepper5 like this.
  3. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    By the way, you could post on Workplace Dilemmas or Supply Teachers. You might get better advice than mine.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. phatsals

    phatsals Established commenter

    I'm sorry but this doesn't make any sense to me. You're a 'student teacher' but 'hoping to start ..teacher training course next year'? You're on supply as what? If this post is even vaguely for real you shouldn't be near a classroom on anything more than a voluntary basis until you've had some training in behaviour management.
  5. Rosie2278

    Rosie2278 New commenter

    Thank you for your reply I really appreciate it. I definitely think that supply isn’t the best option for me at the moment especially considering I don’t even have my QTS yet. I still want to do my training in September as there have been many moments during my supply experience that I have genuinely enjoyed. It’s just the bad experiences have been really bad. Also from your experience is harassment in the classroom something that is normal? The first few weeks in the job I was asked by many female teachers what kind of comments I had got off the boys almost as if it’s expected? Even the female students pre warned me about certain boys as a ‘heads up.’ I don’t want to sound naive but I genuinely didn’t think this was a thing where female teachers are expected to deal with sexual comments in the classroom. I wanted to go into teaching to teach and inspire, not to be harassed by young boys.
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. Rosie2278

    Rosie2278 New commenter

    Sorry I don’t think I made it clear. I’m a geography graduate who is going into teacher training this sep. I was offered supply work as a sort of ‘work experience’ to gain an insight into teaching before I start my teaching qualification.
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Sorry I thought you had QTS.

    Are you a Cover Supervisor or on work experience? If the latter there should be someone with you.

    If the school thinks sexual comments are something you should just deal with they are wrong. Don't accept it. Inform the police/Ofsted.

    And leave.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. phatsals

    phatsals Established commenter

    Ok, now I'm with it. First of all you aren't a student teacher, you are a graduate on work experience. The pupils, quite rightly, found you out. They do that.

    You should never have been left alone in a classroom, you have no experience. The school is very much at fault here, it wasn't fair on you but it is completely unacceptable for the students. I am horrified at this situation, please don't go into any classroom alone and don't believe you are a supply teacher - that you are most certainly not.

    If you are on work experience it should be unpaid. If you are being paid, then what for or what as? Cover supervisor? If so you aren't expected to teach, you cover - but again, you need some training.

    Probably the most difficult skill to learn, when you do start teacher training, is behaviour management. It's hard but it's doable. You've been put in a dreadful situation but as a trainee you wouldn't be left to it like that, it's structured and progressive.
    VampireVampyre and pepper5 like this.
  9. Rosie2278

    Rosie2278 New commenter

    My job title is supply and I am paid for it. The school is an academy so the head is fine with unqualified teachers coming in for day to day supply. Thanks for your responses I have informed my agency that I no longer wish to go back to that school.
    MissGeorgi and pepper5 like this.
  10. phatsals

    phatsals Established commenter

    You aren't an 'unqualified teacher', you are a graduate without any teaching experience. It's absolutely shameful that an academy is allowing someone to be in front of a class without any experience.

    Please realise you are not a teacher in any way, shape or form. 'Unqualified' teachers have teaching experience, you have none. This is a cost cutting exercise by a school that doesn't care about you or it's students. With respect, it's a little conceited of you to think of yourself as a teacher and I'm more than a little surprised at the agency. Did you really have no experience whatsoever before you were sent into a paid role in a school?
  11. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I feel sorry for you, OP, but those who told you that unqualified staff could teach are lying..and the schools that employ unqualified staff are doing so to save money (that the SLT etc can trouser...!)
  12. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Have a read through some of the posts in the Behaviour forum to read some real life stories from teachers with YEARS of experience having serious issues with behaviour management.

    There are very good schools where you would not encounter such behaviour but there are many where you would encounter such behaviour and worse.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  13. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    This is abuse and exploitation (and I mean abuse on the part of the school, not just the students). Unqualified "teacher," prob working for waaaay less than a qualified one, untrained, unsupported.
    You were offered supply work because they saw the chance to get someone on the cheap and don't care enough either about you or about their students to care about anything except the savings.
    Don't go back.
  14. Rosie2278

    Rosie2278 New commenter

    The only prior experience I had was a 2 week work experience in a school when I was in y10. Other than that I had never stepped foot into a classroom. The school had the nerve to contact me today to offer me a supply job even though I sent an email to the HOY detailing what had happened that day. Absolutely shocking what some schools will do to save money
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. Rosie2278

    Rosie2278 New commenter

    Thanks for your advice, I appreciate you taking the time to comment.
    pepper5 likes this.
  16. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi Rosie2278

    It is not a problem.

    Most people who have never worked in schools before have no idea what the behaviour is like in some of the worst schools. I have worked in some challenging places on supply but not the very worst; but what I experienced was bad enough. When I first started as a supply teacher a long time ago, I was shocked.

    The poor behaviour in some schools is a massive problem but it has been for years.

    Some people choose to train in the UK to become teachers then move abroad.

    At least you know now what it might be like.
  17. phatsals

    phatsals Established commenter

    Please don't let this put you off teacher training. Once you start you will quickly realise how ill equipped you've been

    You now have the experience you need to start training, use it to your advantage but please don't go back into any school. It's tough for even the most seasoned teacher and I'm afraid you've been used as cheap fodder. It's very possible it's a school that's being given the swerve by those in the know.
    pepper5 likes this.
  18. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    This is not the first post I've seen from someone being employed to do supply before starting teacher training. This worries me. I think supply agencies are exploiting people who think it will be useful experience, and no doubt agree to be paid peanuts. Supply is a hard job for an experienced teacher who has built up the classroom management skills needed to deal with a strange class who are ready to play up. It's an even harder job for someone who has trained but not yet built up that experience. There's no way you should expect someone untrained to be successful.

    Do schools know they're getting someone unqualified? Do they get to specify that they want a qualified teacher? (My guess is that the decent schools do, but the ropey ones get told there's nobody qualified available, and settle for a body in front of the class. Hence these poor newbies get the worst schools, which anyone with any experience is refusing to work in.)
    strawbs and JohnJCazorla like this.
  19. Rosie2278

    Rosie2278 New commenter

    I’m not sure if the school know I’m unqualified though I have mentioned it to many staff members in the school including an assistant head and 2 HOY’s, and they continued to book me. The red flag should’ve been when I was sent to one other school and mentioned to another supply there which school I had spent the majority of my time. She said that she was shocked I’ve lasted that long as no one else touches it with a barge pole. She did also mention that if ‘you’re successful in that school you can do well in any school’ which is in an indicator as to what sort of reputation it has. I think the only reason I kept going back was because of the good experiences I had and some of the lovely students I had met. I also didn’t want to give up easily as though it was challenging, I was beginning to somewhat enjoy it. It’s just that it’s got to a point where enough is enough and I realised I shouldn’t have to deal with some of the disrespect I’ve received from the boys. I’m glad I’ve got out now as I could see myself completely dropping out of teaching if I continued. It’s unfortunate that these agencies do this sort of thing. I feel sorry for any other graduates stuck in the same situation as I was in.
  20. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    I am beginning to understand why pupils and staff find it hard to believe someone on Supply is qualified and experienced if literally any graduate off the street can be sent to schools as a Supply Teacher....

    Nothing personal, Rosie, but your agency should absolutely not be allowed to have sent you anywhere.

    When I qualified as a teacher you had to have at least 1 years experience teaching in a school before being allowed to so Supply work.

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