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Short-term or Long-term supply

Samantha is a Secondary drama teacher and is currently in a long term role in East London. Samantha shares how the choice of daily supply and long-term work enters her mind frequently. 

Short term or long term supply: “To be or not be be…..that is the question” - SHAKESPEARE

Long term or short term supply is a question I have been battling with for the last two years that I have been teaching with Protocol Education.

My situation is somewhat unique as I still work in my professional field as an actress. Due to this short term supply has always seemed like the best option. I can book in acting work or go to a casting and simply let the agency know that I am unavailable for teaching that day. This leaves a world of uncertainty in whether I will have a paid days work from one day to the next. Protocol are an amazing agency and nine times out of ten I would have an early morning phone call confirming my days work.

There are however some days were there just simply is no need for a cover teacher, no teachers are off sick and there are no school trips or exams. On these days I would often go to the gym and catch up on errands but the fear of more days like this is enough to make you jump online and start looking for longer term position or frantically emailing the agency and requesting long term work.

Then there will be a week of confirmed work and I will get a call asking me to audition or can I move a filming day to the week earlier. Then I panic and think if I carry on teaching I will have to give up acting and my creative life, this panics me more than anything else. I want to be able to teach and to perform and act. The two inform each other and naturally work well next to each other. I mean if Hollywood calls than I might re-think the teaching but until that time I love teaching and teaching drama more specifically.

So back to the question do I stay as a short term supply, teaching random subjects and being fearful of a lack of work in both directions or do I take a long term position and just hope I can work the acting around the position. Which has the least risk, or which will be most beneficial?

My current position is in a long term roll, teaching drama at a school that I love and have thankfully managed to work both, acting on weekend and in school holidays. I think I have found a balance and a receptive school that welcomes the fact I still work in my professional field knowing I pass this passion onto the students.

What my future holds I do not know as a contract and being paid in school holidays at this stage would be most welcome but I am still waiting for the phone call from Hollywood. I could hardly say no to Wes Anderson, Baz Lurhman or Steven Spielberg when they want me to be the next Kate Winslet now can how, explaining that one could be interesting.

Short term gives flexibility and freedom to pursuit any other aspect one wishes too but the unknowing is only suited to a certain person that does not fret and worry about booking in jobs and lives for the moment.
Long term gives much better security but then there is also a loyalty to the cool and students that can cause a guilt trip that does not stop.

Of course staying in one school gives wonderful job satisfaction in watching the student’s develop and getting to know their young personalities. Feeling a part of a community within the same school and taking part in their Friday evening rituals, of most I have found the ‘library’ to be a very fun part of teaching.

Perhaps I will leave this choice to the stars and simply continue to quote Shakespeare at my students. In the words of Desdemona “as with the general warranty of heaven as I might love” – W.Shakespeare, Othello

Have you had your vote? We are running a poll this week on the choice between daily supply and long-term work. You will find it on our Facebook page.

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Tags: Samantha, Bromley, Secondary, drama, long-term, supply, daily, choices

Category: Australian Teachers

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