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Worst supply day, Is teaching for me? (rant + advice)

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Rosie2278, May 25, 2019.

  1. Rosie2278

    Rosie2278 New commenter

    I’ve posted this on the secondary forum but was advised to post on here too in the hopes I could get some more advice.

    I’m a recent geog graduate not yet qualified with QTS but starting 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 a few days ago 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 all the different ways they wanna 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. Some will say it openly, whilst others will think they’re being discreet but I can hear them. Also, the first few days I started there female teachers would approach me asking what comments I’ve had off the students, as if it’s to be expected. Girls in my classes will give me a heads up about certain male pupils as a pre warning that they will try and hit on me. Is this normal behaviour? 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.
  2. hellyhoolie

    hellyhoolie New commenter

    It sounds as though you’ve had a really bad experience at this school - if I were you, I wouldn’t return. And the beauty of supply is that you can walk away. Be straight with your agency and tell them why. Not all schools are like this and it would be helpful for you to experience different schools before making a decision to end your teaching career before it’s even begun.
    I hope you’re feeling a bit brighter today. Try to put it behind you and build up your confidence again in other schools with (hopefully) more respectful students x
    bea35, Marisha, phlogiston and 5 others like this.
  3. FrauRussell

    FrauRussell New commenter

    Great advice above. What a horrible experience for any teacher, but especially a young one at the beginning of a career. I can't say this doesn't happen in other places, but it isn't the norm. You deserve to be treated with more respect, both by the students and the school. It appears the school know what is going on but are leaving you to it. I assume as you are not qualified you are working as an unqualified teacher/cover supervisor, who has had the bare minimum of training and preparation. It really is hard to go into a school and just get on with it. Your teaching course should give you much more of these. Young teachers such as you have a lot to offer in terms not only of subject teaching but in being a relatable role model. Many young women teachers I've seen in my career cultivate, either consciously or unconsciously, a "bossy big sister" persona that nobody dares mess with. Hopefully your training will help you to do something similar. You may find when you've had the benefit of training that you love teaching or hate it, but it's worth a go and will add to your skill set. In the meantime, you are approaching a difficult job in a gutsy and determined manner, but as Helliehoolie says, you don't have to stick with it, so don't. Good luck!
  4. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    When you say that you’re starting your teaching course next year, do you mean you’re starting your PGCE? Or have you completed it and are starting as an NQT?

    I would have expected that there would be some behaviour management techniques that would have been part of the training. You say it’s generally been a fun experience, so what do you think was different about this lesson? A group you hadn’t seen before, although some of them you knew?

    Most secondary students sense inexperience very quickly and will take advantage. Think about the successful lessons and what you did to make them successful. Clearly, this was an unhappy experience and not one you want to repeat. Is it enough to change your view of teaching altogether?
  5. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    As far as I can see the OP is totally unqualified as far as teaching is concerned. So should we be surprised if they face problems... ;)

    Would we allow an airline pilot, a surgeon, a dentist, a police officer, a firefighter etc to start the job with no training, no qualifications?:eek: And if not, why do we allow people to teach without any?o_O
  6. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    You're not qualified. Therefore you're really being set up to fail. Shame on the school.

    You moved a child's hand - in the current climate, I really wouldn't do that. Allegations of 'she touched me spring to mind. This is something you learn when training.

    And no, the sexual comments students have been making for a month are not acceptable. This should have been dealt with before. Regardless, if female teachers are warning you sounds like a school where inappropriate behaviour is to be accepted - avoid.

    I would take a break, do something else for a few months, then start your training course with actual mentoring and support.
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Depends on the school. Depends on what they think they can get away with.

    It shouldn't happen and it's deplorable but it does. Women shouldn't have to put up with it. But we do.

    You can shut this down sooner if you're confident enough to have some responses:

    Exaggerated eye roll
    You're not serious!
    Er, underage boys? Just no.
    How low do you think my standards ARE? That's not very nice of you.
    Sorry, but who told you that you're God's gift to women? They misled you.
    Wow, that's only the 275th time someone said that to me today. Original!

    Some schools would probably rather you just say nothing at all. Body language is useful. Pull a face. Double over with laughter. Rotate a finger to suggest they keep going. Raise your eyebrows. Look at your watch.

    They are trying to bait you. There are other schools of thought on how to handle this though.
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    This is absolutely appalling behaviour, and should not be allowed. If you allow poor behaviour like this, it is only going to deteriorate from that point onward

    NO! only if he is a danger to you, or a danger to himself, or danger to someone else, or damaging property. And in real life, we usually disregard the last one

    It is your job to remind them to keep saving throughout the lesson.

    of course they don't think they are being discrete, of course they are doing it so you can hear them.

    These students are totally out of control, and there are far too many of them for you to deal with, and it is beyond a teacher anyway.

    Control needs to come from the management, and this lesson should have been stopped, managers should have taken over, a full investigation should have been conducted, parents contacted detentions and exclusions issued.

    You were not adequately supervised, protected or supported.

    not only that, but those children are being badly let down too They should be being looked after, being taught acceptable behaviour and self control, and being educated. That is not what is happening.

    To not return. There re schools like this, but no body should put up with this. If all teachers refused to be subjected to such abuse, there would be changes.

    There are better schools.
    jlishman2158, Ohwell, pepper5 and 4 others like this.
  9. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I feel for you.

    And I'm about to make this ten times worse for you-
    See the bit I've quoted?
    Remember the lesson you so graphically describe to us?
    You could receive a disciplinary. We inhabit a planet where given the facts as they stand this is perfectly feasible.
    You touched him.
    He wins.
    You are aced by the Child Protection card.

    If you become a teacher, not only will your classroom experience frequently match if not top what you describe, but also you can find yourself in trouble for a situation, the one quoted for example, where anybody apart from a teacher would have reasonably felt compelled to sock him in the chin.

    Are you still up for it?
    pepper5, agathamorse and CWadd like this.
  10. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Supply teaching is awful these days in some schools but that does not excuse the awful treatment you have received.

    Permanent teaching can also be awful but there is a key difference. You will be in a position with far more support, training and professional advice. Personally, I would stop the Supply because it is upsetting you. But still give the permanent teaching a chance.

    You might look at other jobs out there too though in case you need an escape plan in future..
    jlishman2158 and pepper5 like this.
  11. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    You can tell the agency. Some agencies do not deal with schools when teachers refuse to go there. If enough people complain.....
  12. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Having read the responses on the Secondary Forum and on here, I'm just going to add that I still do think the school is at fault for putting you in this position, but you agreed to go along with it by going to an agency in the first place. The school sounds like a shithole and the agency unscrupulous, but a new graduate with no teacher training should be focusing on how they're going to gain experience through training, rather than being crushed by incidents like this. Forget supply, go to an office telling agency, and do something else until your course starts.
  13. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Yes, that would be lovely.
    But I'd say there are far more agencies who are happy to drop staff who refuse to go to specific schools.
    Don't forget why agencies are agencies.
    Bastions of not very much.
    gingerhobo48, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  14. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Yes it's money but I do know of agencies that feel that some schools are just not worth the bother of phoning around for. Sadly you were young and green... Put it down to experience. I am old enough to remember when the borough supply list application form said, "These posts are not suitable for newly qualified teachers."
  15. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    But the OP isn't an NQT. Even an NQT is better suited to supply day like the one described, having had training for behaviour.

    People go on about the exploitation of unqualified in situations like this. They can only be exploited if they agree to it.

    I repeat- walk away until you've had training.
  16. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    I have a few points.

    Some schools are "problem" schools and even experienced teachers (supply or otherwise) will find them difficult. Sometimes things get easier the more often you go there but perhaps the best advice would be to avoid them.

    In ability to behave is the students' fault not the teacher's. You will find in other schools students can behave better, Weak management by SLT and poor parenting could be factors. Again avoid these.schools.

    Young female teachers will always attract the attention of year 10 boys (and years 11 upwards). However the majority will remain polite and control their behavoiur. Report any who make sexual comments to you to the Department Head/Form Tutor. They need to learn quickly this is unacceptable.

    Try not to touch the "orrible" little oiks You don't know where they have been. Ramming the drawer on his hand could be one tactic ( probably not good advice:D ) but reporting this incident would be more appropriate. Students should not be going through a teacher's drawer without permission.
  17. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Thrown to the lions, certainly, but why is someone who is unqualified and isn’t sure about being so, on supply anyway. Recipe for disaster.
  18. agathamorse

    agathamorse Occasional commenter

    Lots of schools like unqualified teachers as they cost less and are easy to replace. Sadly as the OP has discovered, teaching without training is a very difficult job indeed.
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    But, if you're going to teach in secondary and you're a young woman, get used to it. You'll get some stick. Hopefully nothing like as bad as this. Could just be mutterings, maybe the odd cheeky remark, nudging, winking. You do have to be prepared for it. Gaze at them with your chin on your hand, sigh, shake your head and say ruefully as if to yourself, "Poor little boys. Never mind. They'll grow up. Eventually." Then, as if you've just thought of something, mumble, "I hope I didn't say that out loud."
  20. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    It can take a long time though ;)

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