Advice for a new supply teacher please!

(18 Posts)
isitpimmsoclockyet Mon 23-Sep-13 18:01:40

My husband was suddenly made redundant a couple of weeks ago (complicated!) so I'm having to go back into teaching after nearly nine years at home. I was thinking about going back next year anyway, this has just brought it forward BUT I wasn't thinking about supply!!!

I have been CRBed by an agency and am ready to be employed.....what advice can you offer someone who has never been a supply teacher before? I'll be doing Early Years/KS1.

storynanny Mon 23-Sep-13 20:40:15

Smile and ask the lovely lsa or ta to guide you through the daily routine. Offer to do playground duty.
Take some lovely favourite stories with you to fill any gaps in "the plan" I also have some cd singing stories in my bag and they are a great hit, always asked for again next time i visit. ( barefoot books)
Mark anything they write or make according to the school marking policy and initial it.
Write a very short brief note for the absent teacher.
When you find a school you like and return a few times it becomes much easier.

Hope it goes well for you.

newbiefrugalgal Mon 23-Sep-13 20:42:07

Haha I want the same advice but for secondary!

GW297 Mon 23-Sep-13 20:48:53

As above plus leave the classroom tidy!

storynanny Mon 23-Sep-13 21:52:15

Also, try and read as many of the current documents about key stage 1 and early years as you can as so much has "changed" in nine years.
Ive found that some teachers do not like supply teachers in their classroom! Just keep smiling and enjoy it. Be thankful you dont have to go to any deadly staff meetings etc.
Try and find out if there are any sen or health issues that may need careful handling.

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 09:57:26

Take your own set of board pens. It's amazing how there never seem to be any decent ones around in other schools.

Longtallsally Sat 28-Sep-13 10:50:53

I'm no expert on primary, but went back after 15 years away into secondary, recently newbie, as a Cover Supervisor (in-house supply. Didn't have 'em when I was teaching 15/20 years ago!)

How long have you been out for?

Advice:

YY to having your own white board pen and maybe board rubber too. Teachers hide em.

Get your name and the l.o./work written onto the board asap, so that the class have something to focus on apart from you.

Ask for seating plans when possible. It changes the tone of a lesson completely if you can use the prearranged seating plan.

yy to asking about SEN/health issues . You should have notes on a lesson plan, but if not, the more folks who ask the better.

Read the school discipline policy - particularly on eg what to do if a mobile phone appears but have clear sensible expectations of behaviour of your own too. If told that "Sir always allows us to do X" you can simply reply that "I am not Sir so it doesn't happen today".

Have a simple starter activity in your bag that can be used in any lesson - eg sheets of plain A5. Ask the class to write down their names on the paper, and then:

1 thing they remember learning from the last time they did that lesson
1 thing they find hard to do
1 thing they are good at

It's a short achievable task, gives them something to do as soon as they come in the room, gives you an idea of their names, if you can read their handwriting, and of their ability.

I always carry blank grids for kids to make their own wordsearch up too, using key words from the lesson, if they have finished everything early. They can write definitions of the keywords at the bottom of the grid.

Best of luck

Longtallsally Sat 28-Sep-13 10:51:52

That was mainly for newbiefrugal smile

MiaowTheCat Sat 28-Sep-13 15:20:14

Stickers. They will sell their mother for one at that age.
Some good story books you can use for starting literacy activities - stop halfway, what happened next, blurb writing, character descriptions (plenary of reading some out and kids guess which character) as photocopying can be a pain in some places.
Numeracy I tended to do things like creating word problems working in pairs, times table or simple sum bingo (get them to write 5 numbers from a given range on whiteboards), I had some large coins and I would do small team money problems putting coins in 'purses' (see through plastic zip wallets) as that one you could differentiate on the fly and extend kids by saying you can't use a 10p piece or similar.
Puppets and small soft toys help for things like circle time or having a toy who looks for a good listener's lap to sit on. I also used them to pass around for things like counting up and down in patterns.
Whistle and working whiteboard pens for that point about April when ones that still write are an endangered species.
And for interactive board computers - staff, teacher, school name, class name, password are about 95percent likely to get you logged in when left lesson plans specifying resources on the PC but no login.

MiaowTheCat Sat 28-Sep-13 15:21:49

Oh and don't take too much stuff. You really won't use it and will give yourself back ache. I used to keep spare resources in a box in the car boot.

Oceansurf Sat 28-Sep-13 15:28:22

Second the comment about a board pen! I also find my smartboard stuff goes to waste, as no teacher has ever left the password for the computer for me (or told the office what it was) so you will have to make do with flipchart paper (IF there is any!)

You also need bluetack. (trust me on this one)

Nine times out of ten you won't have a TA. You will find that because the 'supply' teacher is in, the TA who usually helps that class has been moved to another class.

Definitely have some of your own work to hand. Normally I'm left work to follow, but quite often it's not long enough for a full lesson.

Take some lovely reading books.

Take stickers.

Take your own whistle (you will be playground duty!)

Take your own packed lunch and flask of coffee. Ask before you sit down, check it's not Sir's favourite seat (yes, that does happen) Just smile and nod.

Make friends with the office staff. They are the ones who will ask for you again!

storynanny Sat 28-Sep-13 22:32:48

I agree with everything said.
There is a common problem in all schools I go to, the computer password! Or.... The plan says powerpoint and there is no laptop, its at home or on the course the real teacher is on! If that happens dont panic, smile and get something different out of your magic supply bag.
I try and find out what the current topic is in Key stage one or two and take something relevant.
My main subject is music so i find that quite handy on supply. If you have a particular interest or talent you could have something to do with that up your sleeve for emergency use.
Yes to making friends with office staff. One told me recently that teachers often ask for particular supply teachers to be asked to cover if possible and have also told me that they want supply teachers who keep order, use their initiative, leave everything tidy and generally"fit in" . Following the plan has never been mentioned as an essential.

FrussoHathor Sun 29-Sep-13 06:09:38

Nine times out of ten you won't have a TA. You will find that because the 'supply' teacher is in, the TA who usually helps that class has been moved to another class.
ocean or in the case of my school where the TAs, on discovering its a supply/cover, take the opportunity to go AWOL and skive.

storynanny Sun 29-Sep-13 13:20:28

By the way, have any supply teachers here got any inkling of whats going to happen with new pay and conditions? As we are "new" staff each time we work due to not having contracts, , will we be paid at any old rate decided by the school? Im hoping my daily rate will stay as it is as im at the top of the upper pay scale but not convinced. None of my regular schools have mentioned anything to me yet.

Oceansurf Mon 30-Sep-13 14:23:01

Can't help Story I'm with an agency, so just get a flat rate of £100 a day. (which incidentally I think is quite low?!, I'm North West based)

storynanny Mon 30-Sep-13 15:24:57

Yes it is very low, below main scale point 1 if you were working for the school directly. From what i can gather by reading the document it seems to be up to the head and governing body now how much they will pay their " unattached teachers".

HumphreyCobbler Mon 30-Sep-13 15:27:10

When you leave thank the secretary and say what a nice day you have had. They will be the person who asks for you the next time there is a need.

isitpimmsoclockyet Mon 30-Sep-13 16:35:35

Thank you all so much for you ideas!! I have my first 'session' booked for next Weds pm, year 3 in a very good school so I'm hoping it goes well.......! xx

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