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Going back to supply teaching

(10 Posts)
swedishmum Thu 22-Jan-09 10:25:27

After months of dithering I've finally signed up with a couple of agencies and the local school. The work I can do (though did mainly sec teaching before retraining). Main question: what do you have as your discipline strategy? Anything that's worked particularly well with children you've never seen before? It's something an agency asked me to have.
Many thanks - am extremely nervous (though I know I love teaching and can do it) but need to earn some money and jump back in at some point! I've put it off long enough.

saadia Thu 22-Jan-09 10:34:10

I have been volunteering in schools recently and some discipline strategies I have seen:

A "time-out" corner with a timer to send children to for a fixed time.

Sending the child to another class for a fixed time.

Keeping child in at in at play-time. One teacher has a small white-board and she would add minutes to it to indicate time lost from play-time and then "return" those minutes if the class/child behaved better.

Having sad face and happy face on the board and then writing the names of appropriate children underneath and rewarding with stickers or punishing with minutes lost from paly-time.

Depriving child of fun activity eg golden time

saadia Thu 22-Jan-09 10:35:05

and good luck, I'm sure you'll do really well, anyone would be nervous.

swedishmum Thu 22-Jan-09 10:42:57

Thanks saadia!

roisin Thu 22-Jan-09 18:58:24

I work as a cover supervisor in a secondary school, so have the back-up of knowing the school and the students, and knowing/using the school behaviour strategy is.

But I also see supply teachers who come in, some of whom are better than others. The students, even the best ones, will always try and play up for an unknown supply teacher. In my school certainly, and in many schools nationally, these days students will misbehave unless you make them behave. Your personality and confidence is the key.

My main advice for a behaviour strategy would be:
Set your stall out clearly from the start - ie from the door. Make sure you are confident and it's clear who is boss.
Pick up minor infringements very quickly, eg 2 minutes in.

Also have a range of simple starters ready, that you can quickly instruct or write on the board, to get them engaged and busy immediately; then you can deal with the reluctant ones and find out what the work set is. (You may not get the work until you walk through the door, and it is not unknown for there to be no work there.)

In terms of discipline strategy. The main thing would be to always give a child a warning. Explain clearly what they have done that is inappropriate, tell them the consequence if they do it again, and be sure they understand.

We've had 5 mins on this task and you haven't started working yet. I will move you to sit at the front by me in 5 mins time if you haven't improved.

Our school policy, which is a common one, and works effectively is:
First formal warning
Second formal warning = name on board. And they have to stay behind at the end to discuss their behaviour.
If they choose to improve at this point, the discussion is short and sweet.
If they do not improve they get a sanction (demerit).
If their behaviour deteriorates seriously, they are sent out.

One of the difficulties is that as a supply teacher you will probably be expected to teach a full day with no free periods, and it is hard enough to find time to go to the loo and grab some lunch. Keeping students behind for a chat or keeping them in at break, is rarely practical for a supply teacher, who desperately needs those 5 mins to find the next classroom and look at the next set of work.

Just a bit of a mind dump there - hope some of it helps.

swedishmum Fri 23-Jan-09 00:31:22

Many thanks Roisin. I've done supply before but only at schools I'd previously worked at and where I knew nearly all the pupils. Typically, I'll get all day teaching plus break duty. Oh well, money is required and I have the training.......

savoycabbage Fri 23-Jan-09 01:51:00

I always try and learn as many of their names as I can so if you do have to ask them to pipe down or anything you are not bumbling around saying 'you there with the pony-tail, no not you, behind you' etc while the whole place decends into chaos.

yellowvan Fri 23-Jan-09 08:21:41

I'm sat here waiting for the phone to ring atm! (vetran supply of 5 years)smile
My number one advice would be always find out the schools partic. discipline system- they are all (subtley)different and chn are v. quick to pick up on any deviation from it with "That's not fair!" and "You can't do that!" Then youre credibility takes a drop and it's even harder. Also, some smt get snotty if you do yr own thing.

Would second advice above to be firm from start, lining up outside class, being quiet.

Identify the potential catalyst chn early and get them on side (I know, I know I don't exactly mean "pander", but it does make life infinitely easier), errands, asking for info etc. Learn these chn's names.

Know names of hoy and ht, and tell chn you will be having "a little chat" with them.

Get to know the NC in terms of topics (QCA site good). Some of what passes for planning is v. thin on the subject content side,so don't be caught out not knowing. They will pick it up= potential disruption while they wait for you to "umm, errr" (I learnt this the hard way).

Now I really enjoy it. Hope you will too!

roisin Fri 23-Jan-09 18:27:20

Oh, I didn't realise this was in the primary topic; I guess that's a bit different as you would probably expect to have the same class for the whole day. So you should have a good opportunity to get to know them a bit and/or keep them in at playtimes if you need to.

swedishmum Sat 24-Jan-09 12:40:54

Thanks, savoycabbage and yellowvan. I used to be good at names when I saw all of KS3 every week teaching music but 4 children have turned my memory to goo so I'l be practising hard!
Agency have had CRB check done already and she's waiting for my final ref. They emailed me yesterday - they have a possible 2 day pw placement for me. That sounds like a great start to me as I could find out about the school first and get to know the pupils a bit better. Now I just need to find where I left my confidence.....

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