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Dear Supply, From Supply

Sometimes you may find yourself in the situation of leaving handover notes for another supply teacher. Hannah guides us through the process.

Dear Supply, from Supply

From time to time, on long-term supply, you may wish or need to take a day out of your usual school day to visit a new school (or even travel the country!) and leave notes for your cover. This can seem very peculiar if you are still new or unfamiliar with the school yourself. I recently left another supply teacher notes as the permanent teacher is on long-term sick-leave but I was not available for the rest of the week.

I had only been in the school for a few days but knew characters of the class and quirks of the school well enough to know what to say. I have written a little guide of what I would like to read from the supply teacher before me.

Do: Start your letter to the next teacher with a quick explanation as to what is going on, so they know who they are reading a note from.

Don’t: Expect a supply teacher to work out for themselves why they’re there.

Do: Give a detailed timetable of what is expected of that teacher. Where should they be and who should be there. When are breaktime and lunch, and is there anything they should be doing during that time. If no planning was provided for you or them, at least explain what you did last.

Don’t: Just write ‘No planning given’

Do: Suggest what the next supply teacher might do. They might be held up in the office or in traffic, and by the time they get to the classroom there may be no time to think of something. I don’t mean prepare worksheets, but a few suggestions of time fillers (like, what the current class text is) really helps.

Don’t: Write ‘handwriting, grammar, fractions‘ and expect the next person to be able to figure out what you were suggesting.

Do: Explain which children are particularly tricky (the top five) and how they respond to the behaviour system of the school. Also, which children especially struggle with independence, reading or writing may not be immediately clear, so a quick mention of names can really help.

Don’t: Whinge on about children or staff you don’t particularly like. Don’t list too many children negatively, the cover teacher hasn’t even met them yet!

As a supply teacher yourself, you know what you found odd or difficult to remember about the school when you first arrived. Even if you are not sure if all schools in the UK are like the one you’re in, if the housepoint or yellow/red card system is over-complex or children must take their dinner money to the office before they have taken their coats off, it’s worth giving your cover a heads up. 

Hannah has only recently joined our blogging team and she is fast becoming a regular. Why not read another of her blogs Planning for No Planning? A very useful guide on what do you do on the day that there isn't anything left for you.

Tags: Hannah, Bristol, primary, teacher

Category: Australian Teachers

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