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My Advice to Amy - Teresa's Reply

Teresa is a Kiwi Secondary teacher who has done a lot of work for Protocol Education. She has some advice for fellow Proto-blogger Amy who is about to swith from long term to daily supply teaching. 

Read Amy's blog, Switching from Long-Term to Daily Supply Teaching
Advice for Amy
Supply teaching…
First of all the benefits of day-to-day supply:
1. You know how you've always wanted to go to Norway (insert country here) but you’re tired of the fact that plane tickets are way more expensive in the holidays? Take a long weekend.  Nice!  Flexibility is the key.
2. Writing reports/planning/parent interviews…nada.
3. If you do supply in secondary schools – and you probably will if you do MFL – you can go home at 3.10!
4. Need to know how to get from Tooting to Wembley in the shortest amount of time? You’ll quickly become an expert on the tube, train and bus networks.  Don’t worry about finding your way.  Take your phone or an A-Z and plan your journey before you leave…or on the tube/train/bus.  You will always be told what you need to catch when you get the booking.  You may be late.  Try not to be, but if you get the call at 8.10am, no one will expect you to make it across London in 25 minutes.
5. TAs.  The teaching assistant is a rare and wonderful being who deserves laurels and gifts and flowers on a daily basis. You’re bound to have someone to help you at primary schools for at least some of the day. 
There are, however, some inevitable downsides to doing day-to-day supply:
1. Consistency.  You’ve done everything right: you’ve phoned the office; you’ve put on your work clothes; you’ve eaten your Weetabix…but the call does not come.  You don’t always get work when you want, or worse, need it.  There are times of the year when you could do with extra work (both sides of the summer holidays for example), but there is very little work available.
2. Human interaction.  People who work in schools are very busy, and for supply teachers the staffroom can be a pretty scary place.  You will need to accept that not everyone will want to talk with you, or that you will have to listen to half hour rants about people you have never met.  You’re less likely to form friendships with the people you work with if you are constantly at new schools. 
3 Scary Schools.  There is one school, ‘The School that must not be Named,’ that I have refused to go back to.  I will never grace its halls with my presence.  I will never, ever set foot in it again.  There are wonderful schools in terrible areas, and terrible schools in lovely areas.  It’s not geographic or economic.  The ‘worst’ schools are the ones where you get no support.  Your agent won’t judge you if you ask not to go back to a school…you won’t be the first teacher to have done so.
4. What to teach. Every so often, it’s true, you walk into a class and find out there is no work set.  If you are in primary school (or year 7-8) a quick game of silent ball (not familiar with this wonder…google it) will give you time to plan.  Pack a small, soft ball in your bag (this is a top tip).  Do the register and watch Newsround.  Have a class discussion.  Ask the students what they normally do.  You will always find reading books in classrooms.    It’s a bit different (and more likely to happen) in secondary school.  Send a student to get the Head of Department.  They may look harried, but they will help.  Stall for time.  Ask the students what they are doing.  It really doesn't happen very often.  Sometimes the work set is inadequate; improvise. 
Amy, day-to-day supply is a mixed bag really. There were days that I came home buzzing with enthusiasm; others that exhausted me completely.  Don’t let it scare you (though if you do find yourself a ‘School that Must Not be Named,’ they make a great story to tell at the pub).
Read Teresa's blogs here

Tags: Teresa, Amy, Supply Teaching, Teach in UK, Kiwi, Canadian, Daily Supply, Long term Supply, Advice

Category: Australian Teachers

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