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Mastering Behaviour Management as a Supply Teacher

Mastering Behaviour Management as a Supply Teacher

Walking into new and different classrooms as a supply teacher can be daunting for some without the added challenge of not having established relationships with the class you are covering and knowing what works.

Never fear! We have put together a few strategies together that work, however they aren’t the be all and end all and we’d love to hear what strategies you have while on supply.

1. Getting Started

You’ve arrived at the school and you’ve found where you’re meant to be. Right. Now find out the school’s behaviour management policy. Most classes will have established rules that enable the teacher to keep students on-task. If it’s not clear in the classroom ask next door.

When your class arrive, a good place to start is by introducing yourself and explaining why you’re there: “Hello, my name is Ms Smith. Mrs Jenkins is ill today, so I’m here to take your History lesson. Please sit in your usual seats.”

2. New Places, New Faces - Learn 4 Names

It’s another supply day and you have another class of brightly faced children. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to learn four names. Consider learning a name on each table, ability groups or pick from the monitor board.

Names are extremely important in communicating and think about how much you like being referred to by name rather than ‘the supply teacher’. This is true for the children as well “hey you, yes you, with the brown ponytail” doesn’t’ go down so well!

3. Gestures

Along with your pencil case and timesheets, you should pack into your supply bag a range of non-verbal communication tools.

If you shout, two things will happen: 1) the class will just talk louder and 2) you will lose your voice. Try instead hand in the air, facial expressions (don’t think Zoolander here!) or clapping.

Most children can’t focus on doing two things at once, so whilst they are clapping and trying to keep up with your changing rhythms, they aren’t wiggling around in their chair, or trying to distract the person next to them.

4. True to your word

Make sure you follow through with your actions. If you continue saying “I’m going to take your play away if you don’t stop” or similar followed by nothing actually happening will only show the children that you can talk the talk but won’t walk to the walk.

If the class uses a traffic light system and you have children on orange or red make sure you follow it up with them and their class teacher. When you do, ensure you question the child rather than accuse and ensure you listen, you may pick up on other issues. For example, disruption from a child can be from lack of sleep or hunger.

5. Us versus Them

Avoid creating a barrier and it’s important to know when to let something go. The more agitated you get, the more agitated your children will get. Remind yourself to consider the true point of what is going on and not to get lost in but I want to prove a point scenario. Remember, you might be back here tomorrow.

Be adaptable, be consistent and be positive. If you’d like to find out more about behaviour management strategies come along to one of our CPD courses.


Tags: supply, teacher, behaviour, management, strategies, what-to-do, tips

Category: Australian Teachers


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