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Daily Supply Myths: debunked

12/01/17

We’ve all heard them! In this blog Clare addresses some of the most common myths and rumours surrounding daily supply work and how she deals with any problems that arise.

 

There are so many myths surrounding the working day of a daily supply teacher. Not exciting myths involving dragons, unicorns and handsome princes...but more along the lines of unfriendly schools, horrendously behaved children and inconsistent working hours. Since I started doing supply teaching I've encountered several teachers who have been considering daily supply teaching but are worried about the myths they've heard. Frankly, I felt it was time to start debunking those myths and let other teachers know that far from the horror stories they've heard, supply teaching is enjoyable and has many enviable advantages over being a permanent teacher.

Myth 1: Horrendous behaviour in cover lessons

This is the myth I've heard the most - that even the most angelic class will turn into terrors when confronted with a supply teacher. This is just not true. I have covered lessons in several different schools and the majority of pupils are polite, helpful and keen to learn in lessons. When you encounter pupils who are not keen to learn this is generally because they would not be keen no matter which teacher is taking their class. On the few occasions I have had children be rude to me, refuse to do work or display other unacceptable behaviour, I just implement the school's behaviour policy and the child is either referred to the behaviour centre or parked in a permanent teacher's lesson. The teachers in the department you are covering in are always very helpful in swiftly removing a difficult child from the classroom, enabling you to carry on with the lesson. Poor pupil behaviour supply teachers encounter is no different to poor behaviour you would encounter as a permanent teacher. Plus if you really do not like a school, you tell your agency that you do not want to work there again! If you cover in a school regularly the children learn quickly that you will not accept poor behaviour and will not try it on in lessons.

Myth 2: You will not get enough work

Permanent teachers get sick a lot. Teaching involves working with hundreds of different children and adults every day and the disadvantage of this is that teachers are exposed to lots of bugs. Even if teachers aren't sick themselves they often have other commitments such as meetings, schools trips, training days...the list is endless. The advantage for supply teachers is that permanent teachers being off so regularly means that we gets lots of work! Plus if a school likes you as a teacher and know that you do a good job, as soon as they know they need cover they will be straight on the phone to your agency to book you up.

However there are certain times of year when you will get less work - generally it is the start of school year and the end of the school year. There are lots of ways to get around this though. If you need the money over summer then you can tutor, work at a summer camp or a private language school. Or you can use the low season of supply teaching to book a holiday abroad - a holiday in September costs much less than a holiday in the peak season of August!

Myth 3: Supply teaching is lonely

If you think about it, you actually meet a lot more people as a supply teacher than you do as a permanent teacher. Once you become a regular at a school, you get to know everyone from the different departments to the teaching assistants and of course your fellow supply teachers. Schools are generally friendly places and the staff are always keen to know how you are finding their school! Protocol also offers regular social events which are a great opportunity to meet other supply teachers in your area and swap stories and teaching tips.


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