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Surviving Supply

03/10/14

Jessica joins our blogging team and shares who you can use a 'cheat-sheet' as a supply teacher. 

Surviving Supply: Creating School Information Cheat-Sheets

Walking into a new classroom every day can be a daunting task. Each school is different, and the expectations for students will vary. Likewise, the expectations placed on you will vary, and you will need to be able to adapt quickly to school policies. Doing a little bit of research about the school you will be attending can be helpful and can ease the stress of not knowing what to expect.

In some cases, if you receive a last-minute booking for a supply position, you may not be able to do your homework on the school the night before. If you do have notice of where you’re headed, it is a good idea to make a cheat-sheet for yourself! Over time, as you start to return to some of the same schools, you might just accumulate enough cheat-sheets to make even those last-minute bookings less stressful.

Vital Information

Some of the most vital information I include in my cheat-sheet is the name and address of the school. I always include the post code, as this makes it easier to search in my phone’s GPS if I get lost. To avoid getting lost, I also write out directions to the school, and directions to get myself home. It’s not always as simple as reversing the directions, as not all buses and tubes run both routes. Make sure you can get home after your day of teaching!

Next, I include information about the school staff. I always write down the names of the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher, as well as any other staff members who may be helpful if I have a question. If you know what you’ll be teaching, write down the name of the Key Stage Leader or someone else who teaches the same level.

Use the school's website

Some schools have excellent websites, where you can find information about behaviour policies, recommended rewards and sanctions, student council, uniform policies, and other helpful tips. I always try to make note of some rewards I might be able to use. For example, if you know that a school gives out team points and rewards students with a non-uniform day, you can use this to your advantage. Students will be surprised that you know this, and they’ll be excited that you’re willing to participate in their school’s team spirit! When browsing school websites, keep an eye out for student council members. These students are usually elected as leaders, and you will be able to rely on them if you have questions or need assistance in the classroom.

At the end of your school day, be sure to add to your cheat-sheet by recording any additional notes about how your experience was, your successes for the day, and what you might do differently next time. Also include names of student leaders, students you need to keep your eye on, helpful staff members, or any other information you might find useful in the future.  Keep all your cheat-sheets together so you can grab-and-go before you head to work! Making or adding to a cheat-sheet is a great way to pass the time on your commute to or home from work. You never know when you might return to the same classroom again, and it’s always nice to have some tricks up your sleeve!

We welcome Jessica to our blogging team and look forward to her next blog. Jessica is a primary teacher from Canada, who has made the move to London to teach. 

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