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Summer Holiday Blues

09/09/14

While we are happy to see the sun sticking around (in London at least) we know that the summer is over and the days are getting shorter again. Meg reflects on the summer she has had. Maybe we can transport ourselves for a moment? 

The whirl wind trip through Europe has come to an end. From seeing stunning views on top of the Swiss Alps, walking through the fruit markets in Barcelona, to jumping off the boat into the Mediterranean sea. As I sit back on the couch, in my London flat recovering from lack of sleep and a horrible Topdeck cold, I ponder what will the next holiday bring, and where will it be?

Wait a minute, the advertisement for back to school has just flicked up, and back to reality. Summer is coming to an end, the temperature definitely has dropped after a month away, and I have to go back to work. Guess I better pull out the pencil case and check that it has at least one green pen for marking in and a couple of whiteboard markers and a pencil and rubber never go astray.

After a term of long term supply I am about to embark back into the supply world. This was a decision I made last term, as I only have 4 months left living in London and want to make the most of every situation, if that cheap flight pops up or my friends ask me to go on a road trip for the weekend I want to say “yes”, not “no I have too much marking, planning and reports to write, so you go and have a fun weekend away”.

That is the downside to long term or permanent work.   However, on the other hand supply work brings the unknown. Will I be in a reception class for the day or year 6? Will it be planned or not planned? These are situations that you need to be organised for when on supply. Have you got enough diverse lesson plans and worksheets that you can modify to suit a year level at any time? Picture books, writing objects such as bubbles which also engage the students no matter what age are always great to have in you teachers tool kit.

It’s not just the lesson content and materials which are important, but are you prepared for the behaviour that the delightful students deliver the supply teacher. Have you got a system to learn names fast, or even pronounce some of the names? I find that if you are in an older class, ask a student to be responsible and call the names out with you to help you put a name to a face, but also hear the way the name should be pronounced. Of course you never learn all 30 students’ names in one day, but try to learn a minimum of 5-7 names. I have found this is just enough to aid you with behaviour management and make your day easier.

Enjoy your first day back, if it’s supply or long term, hope your students are nice to you and you can smile throughout the day.

Meg is a New Zealand trained teacher who began her teaching in the UK as a supply teacher and is now working in a long-term role. 

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