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Supply is Distilled Experience

Beth is a Secondary  teacher working in schools in Leicester through Protocol Education. Todays post reveals what supply teaching has taught her after 8 years at the same school.

Supply is Distilled Experience

I've learnt more in the last eight months - about both teaching and myself - than in the last eight years. Supply, whilst challenging in some ways, has also (thus far) been an invigorating and developmental experience.

I have been working in long term secondary supply since September. In that time, I have worked in two different - trust me, quite different - schools, covering a wider range of classes than I had been working with in my last job. Before this, I had spent eight years in the same institution, rising through the ranks into middle management and building a solid reputation. This experience taught me plenty, but it was also taking me away from teaching, away from the classroom and away from the human experience I signed up for when I chose teaching as my profession.

The main area I've been able to develop in as a supply teacher has been in classroom/behaviour management. I'm certainly not making any claims to expertise in this area, but I am now considerably more skilled than I was in my previous permanent post, where I was largely able to rely on reputation to have control in the classroom. That luxury cannot be relied on in a supply post! (No, not even in a longer term one, in case you're wondering...)

As any PGCE student or NQT can tell you, teaching is often a kind of confidence trick, confidence being the operative word. Exude the right kind and amount of confidence and things will work out. Appear at all tentative or hesitant, and you're lost. And yet, how much easier is that to say than to embody? Taking that first step, time after time, in classroom after classroom, can help you to feel that confidence. If nothing else, it's taught me that I can get through a tough lesson, a difficult day and sometimes even manage to teach someone something, often in spite of themselves. How valuable a lesson is that to have learned?

I would recommend a stint in supply for anyone as a form of CPD. It's certainly a great way to get back to basics and test your mettle with kids who have no reason to see you as anything other than a substandard teacher until and unless you can prove otherwise!


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Tags: Beth, Secondary Teacher, CPD, Teaching Jobs in Bristol, Supply Teaching, Protocol Education

Category: Australian Teachers

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