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Supply Teacher Advice

Lyn gives new supply teachers a good piece of advice. 

I can imagine that for an inexperienced, young supply teacher walking into a classroom to find a teaching assistant in situ might well be a daunting experience. Secondary TAs are mostly middle-aged women but I have encountered men and women of all ages doing the job including retired male teachers. I say it might be difficult for an 'inexperienced, young teacher' because the TA is going to see that someone like me - see photo! - has been round the block a bit but will understandably be wary of someone who has just started working in schools when they have been there for eons.

If the supply teacher does not stamp his or her authority on the class from the outset the students are likely to ignore them and turn to the TA for help, permission etc. This must not be allowed to happen since the supply teacher is in charge of the classroom and it is our role to maintain discipline and keep the pupils on task, not the TA's. Yet TAs are there, by definition, to 'assist' so how best to avail oneself of their assistance

When you arrive in the classroom introduce yourself to the TA at the outset and make a note of her or his name. If possible have a quick private chat asking them if is there anything essential you should know about the class. Let the students see that you are working with the TA, showing him or her professional respect as a colleague and seeking information and advice at all times. The pupils will realise that they cannot pull the wool over your eyes regarding the usual classroom expectations in terms of both behaviour and work.

In this year's Teaching and Learning International Study (Talis) I read: "The more teachers report participating in collaborative practices with their colleagues, the higher the levels of self-efficacy, confidence in their own abilities, and the same is true for job satisfaction." (TES 27.06.14)

Supply teaching can be quite a lonely experience so sharing the lesson with TAs can mitigate that. Personally, I find their presence a godsend.

Lyn has blogged with us regularly and covers and interesting range of topics usually based on issues or challenges she has found when supply teaching. Read another of her blogs 'Armour' here

Tags: Lyn, Bristol, Secondary, supply

Category: Australian Teachers

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