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Gossip!

Miranda is a Primary Supply Teacher working in schools through Protocol Education in Manchester. Her latest blog explores the one thing in which a supply teacher will never be in short supply of... gossip! 

Everyone gossips to the supply teacher. Have you noticed that? From the moment you arrive – and meet the caretaker or the women who run the breakfast club (I’m always early – not for the gossip – just out of the abject fear of being late) to the moment you leave and run into the cleaning team or happen upon the caretaker again for the next instalment. Children are also inclined to gossip about their teacher to a supply teacher-  especially when you are new to a school and they assume you won’t be back.

‘Our teacher hates people who use her highlighter pens and leave the lids off. She makes us stand in the corner if we do it,’ a Year 4 boy mutters darkly, offended by the change in leadership. ‘And she goes mad with people that leave drink rings on her desk. Like supply teachers and visitors and that.’

Gossip wheels the oils of conversation; gossip supplies the supply with the thick unsubtle brush-strokes of an organisation’s character

‘Our teacher’s got earrings a bit like your’s only nicer. All her ones are from Claire’s, which is mine and her favourite shop. She goes to the Trafford Centre for them,don’t she Jade? We saw her with her baby there last year on a Saturday. She had on eyeliner,’ murmur  two adoring Year 3 girls.

‘Hm…going into the Head’s special assembly? That’s you done for the next hour and a half. You could have literacy five minutes if you fancy it, then wet play, then dinner. But hey-ho, I’m sure the kids will be learning about where there’s damp on the hall ceiling. That’ll be useful in an economic crisis. Still at least it’s easy money for you…’ mutters a TA into my shell-like.

Yes, thanks to the everyday eye-openers of supply work, I will be choosing my next long-term role with great care.

Gossip wheels the oils of conversation; gossip supplies the supply with the thick unsubtle brush-strokes of an organisation’s character; gossip is never quite the truth but seldom without truth.  The information itself is probably neither here nor there. An empty thrill, and a by-product of having a back-stage kind of job.

However, being a stranger who is privy to the idle and unguarded thoughts of staff at a school, can, I think, provide valuable insights to support a future career in the longer-term. I’ve got distinct opinions now about the kind of schools I can/cannot work for as a class teacher. Supply work has  sharpened my senses for sniffing out tyrant bosses, likely to demand six years of literacy planning upfront; or a leadership team that prioritises staff’s abilities to produce elaborate powerpoint before children’s enjoyment of learning. I recognise low morale, as it comesseeping through the staff room’s damp biscuits and scratchy chairs.

Yes, thanks to the everyday eye-openers of supply work, I will be choosing my next long-term role with great care.

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Tags: Miranda, Protocol-Education, Supply, schools, learn, gossip, eyes-and-ears, trust, opinion

Category: Australian Teachers


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