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Hellish day, just need to vent, no-one to talk to IRL

(218 Posts)
fatcheeks1 Mon 20-Jan-14 19:25:28

Hi, feel this would be a safe place to get some perspective on this.

I am on supply in a local Primary school.It's a failing school.Up until today I was working with small groups providing much needed support (interventions) in speech and language/fine motor skills and number.I work in reception/nursery.I was also covering phase leader's class and NQT's class in reception .It was all going well, until I took over one of the classes belonging to a reception teacher today.She went off sick early, I was due to cover for her in a couple of weeks as she had time booked for an operation/recovery.These 2 weeks were meant to be transitional where she discussed the class with me/their needs, where she was with assessments, what they had covered in phonics etc.I couldn't find any planning, I couldn't find their writing books I couldn't find anything.I didn't know where they were with phonics(all 3 classes are at different stages) so I made do, I didn't have a plan as such I tried to do an assessment type thing on their writing and knowledge of writing simple vc and cvc words, then making up and model writing a sentence.
The head came down and was there for it all, I wanted to cry.They couldn't find their books so I gave them whiteboards, they weren't following instructions, they weren't even trying really.She was busy scribbling away.I couldn't find any resources(the class is a mess) I couldn't find what they had done before.I must have looked so ill prepared, I was but it wasn't from lack of trying.I came in early to look for things and next thing, they were coming in and she was there, looming large as life.I was crap, I know I was crap, I need to speak to her but am sooooo embarrased I don't know what to say.No new learning took place other than perhaps modelling a sentence and talking about capital letters etc but they should know all of that.I know the class, well their names but I don't know their needs.
It was awful , truly awful, the behaviour was o.k, they are just fussy, they were just. . . passive:>(
I didn't talk to them about what they could do and why as I was panicing.I should have been more prepared. . what's the saying. . ."fail to prepare. . . " I knew Friday I was taking the class but was so busy taking another class that by the time I had finished clearing up etc it was way past my time to go(I have family) I just thought there would be stuff in the classroom for me, or some plans on file but there wasn't.

I am sitting here feeling wretched, I don't want to go in tomorrow but I know I have to.I also know I need to speak to her but I don't know where to begin. . .any advice? I have brought home 2 large bags of paper crap from the class to try and sort out tonight.That's without my planning for tomorrow :>(

Sorry this is so long, DH doesn't understand, no-one does, I just feel overwhelmed.

Idislikemymil Mon 20-Jan-14 19:35:59

I just wanted to say, I know how you feel. Bad days in primary teaching are awful!! Will the Head appreciate that you were in an unfamiliar class? He/She will will prob know that the usual teacher is disorganised and make allowances.

Tomorrow may not be as bad as what you think. If you get chance, explain to the Head that you know things went wrong and why. They will give you another chance, maybe? Sometimes, I've had observations which I thought were terrible, then when I've had feedback turned out fine. It's easy to be too harsh on yourself!

Please try and get an early night, it's no good being tired when the day is so busy. You have my full understanding. Good luck

fatcheeks1 Mon 20-Jan-14 19:53:37

Thank you, but it really was bad, I was awful.When I applied for the job I had a mini lesson observation with this class, I didn't know them but she thought I did well.It wasn't a formal observation more an informal drop by but I should have been more prepared.She was probably expecting me to be better, good even, and I wasn't.This class is behind the others in terms of what they have done/covered , I don't know why.I have been asking the LSA questions all day, the poor woman, LOL:>).I just feel I might be dobbing the regular teacher in it but she is about to go on an action plan so SMT must realise.

saadia Mon 20-Jan-14 21:15:06

You poor thing, these situations are awful and I'm sure most of us have had moments like these at some point. I know I have.

Try to detach yourself from the situation and develop some sort of plan to avoid it in the future. Try to think of what you could have done differently.

If the Head is approachable perhaps go and speak to her and explain that you had no information about the class. It was actually really unfair of her to come and observe without warning.

When I started my new job (in Reception) I was lucky that the TA warned me that the Head always drops in at some point to see new .

saadia Mon 20-Jan-14 21:15:33


ineedanexcuse Mon 20-Jan-14 21:25:07

You need to talk to her. Easy for me to say I know but it must be tackled. It may well be that she was actually writing positive things about you and the class. It could be that the previous teacher was so poor that anyone with some organisation is an improvement.

I really feel for you in this situation though.I have been there and coped/not coped depending on so many variables. I was not subjected to an observation under these circumstances though.That was pure cruelty .

fatcheeks1 Mon 20-Jan-14 22:57:35

Thank you everyone, I know I need to talk to her.I couldn't read her face /don't know her well enough to know what she was thinking/writing.I have just spent 3 hrs trying to sort out the folders I was able to find.This is turning into a nightmare job, I just feel overwhemed and teary.I'm off to bed now, I'm too tired to think.I'm on a crappy daily supply rate as well, it just doesn't seem worth it :>( She had a go at me during PPA for not knowing where the children were in phonics, but I couldn't find anything.One of the classes is 2 letters ahead of the other, they are working at different rates because of the needs of the class which I don't yet know.I'm still trying to get my head round the inclusion folder!

GW297 Mon 20-Jan-14 23:23:25

You are doing them a favour remember! Presumably you don't have to stick it if it becomes detrimental it your health and well-being? I hope you get the support and understanding you deserve.

Cerisier Mon 20-Jan-14 23:32:59

SSLT and the HOY are massively at fault for not showing you where everything is and helping you get organised on your first day. You should have details of the special needs of all the children, assessment results and targets for them.

This is why the school is failing, because their systems are not robust.

You need to stand your ground on this and insist on proper documentation and to be shown where the folders and workbooks are. Only than can you plan properly.

I work in an Outstanding school and we would never leave a supply or new teacher in this situation. All our new and supply teachers go through an induction program of school systems and expectations.

fatcheeks1 Tue 21-Jan-14 05:06:11

My induction was quite good when I first started but my role has changed and because I am in the class before anyone expected I think the teacher still has a lot of stuff.I need to get on top of some behaviours, the way they do some things leaves a lot to be desired(my inherited class and the school) I can do something about the 1st at least.I can see why the Head came down over 50% of the teachers are performing well. Today will be better(it can't be any worse)

fatcheeks1 Tue 21-Jan-14 05:08:51

That was meant to say 'aren't' performing well.

MadIsTheNewNormal Tue 21-Jan-14 05:21:12

I am not in teaching but I fail to see how any of this can possibly be your fault, and if anything you should be angry with them not the other way around. Take control of this and speak to the head before she asks to speak to you. In fact you may be worrying unnecessarily about her opinion of you, and she may have been inwardly panicking herself about what you were thinking.

Was she fully aware of the chaos and disorganisation you were faced with?

fatcheeks1 Tue 21-Jan-14 05:55:11

Not sure MITNN, she is down in our setting a lot, the teacher off sick is going on an action plan, there are a lot of needs in the class.The systems in place just seem a bit chaotic.They are a lovely bunch but things like coming to the carpet and taking the register take a lot of time, too much time, there is a lot of dawdling which seems to have become established.There is a lot I need to tackle.I feel a bit better this morning about it all but tired, I didn't sleep well.
My plan is to break the day up and just focus on what I need to do, before now I was like "I can do that" etc to try and create a good impression.Not anymore, look after number 1 but if things don't improve I may consider going but I want a decent reference, so I'm in a quandry.

Eastpoint Tue 21-Jan-14 06:10:29

Gosh what a horrible experience. I'm not able to offer any practical help but I'm sorry you've been so upset & hope you have a better day today.

Judyandherdreamofhorses Tue 21-Jan-14 06:26:21

Why was HT there the whole time? If she was worth her salt she'd have stepped in to help!

Sounds like a hideous day and you sound very dedicated. One lesson where they learn nothing new, one day, one week even isn't all the world. Hope today goes better.

fatcheeks1 Tue 21-Jan-14 06:46:00

I don't know Judy :>(.

I am dedicated, I was a bit upset initially as I felt she wasn't seeing the best that I could do but now I'm more concerned for the children and doing the best I can for them.I want them to catch up and to experience the lovely things (I hope) that we plan for them.

Is it possible the head was taking notes about how the teacher had left the class rather than how you were managing it? I can't see what you did wrong here (except for not checking on fri if the planning was there)

Judyandherdreamofhorses Tue 21-Jan-14 07:04:38

ATruth is probably right. The teacher 'going on an action plan' like there are lots of problems. It's probably to collect more evidence for that.

MrsKCastle Tue 21-Jan-14 07:22:34

It's easy to see why they're a failing school. It sounds like you had very little support going into the class (why weren't the other reception teachers helping you get sorted?). And for the HT to come in and observe you formally (i.e. written) on your first day is unhelpful to say the least.

I think you should try to be the professional in this- I would go to see the HT first thing and ask to discuss the lesson. Explain that you're aware it didn't go well, but you feel it didn't reflect your true teaching abilities for these reasons: didn't know the children, didn't have plans or know what they had covered, didn't have appropriate resources available in the classroom. These are not excuses- they are the facts.

Explain what you're going to do to address these issues- get the ta to set up files and work on lined paper until the workbooks are found? Meet with senco/ta/head of year to discuss individual needs within the class? Carry out a more detailed phonics assessment to see where they are? And then tell the HT that you hope she'll be able to do another observation in a week or so when you've got to know the class- because that shows how confident you are in your own abilities.

In the meantime, spend a LOT of time today training the class in terms of transitions/lining up/sitting quietly on the carpet etc. At this stage in reception, behavior and readiness to learn will have far greater impact than covering more phonics and maths etc.

Hope today is better. You sound like a good teacher in a rubbish situation- believe in yourself.

Judyandherdreamofhorses Tue 21-Jan-14 07:25:46

The school should be very grateful to have you, by the sounds of it! Great advice above.

Jaynebxl Tue 21-Jan-14 07:33:25

I would go in with my head high if I was you. I'd go straight to the head this morning and tell her this is really turning into a nightmare. Tell her how hard it has been because of the lack of info / plans / resources and ask her of she has any idea where anything is. Make sure she knows you are working above and beyond the call pf a supply teacher but it is very hard when nothing is in place. You have the high ground here and need to make that known. And on another note I would be really not happy at constant observation when I was on supply and had been dealt a rubbish hand.

Jaynebxl Tue 21-Jan-14 07:34:53

Agree with Mrsk... must have been writing my pist when that appeared or I wouldn't have bothered as she has given great advice.

fatcheeks1 Tue 21-Jan-14 19:25:25

Thank you ladies, all of your support means a lot.I did have a better day, a much better day.I have just returned from the clinic and my blood pressure was really high 145/110.She had to take it 3 times and ask me to stop talking as guess what. . . I came straight from school! This is the highest it has ever been, another thing to think about.I need to get it checked again in a week.I spoke to the Head today and she said it was an RI, better than I thought as I had talked myself into an Inadequate.I had a chance to put my position across, I tried to do it in a diplomatic way, I don't want to "dob" the class teacher in it but as has been said before I think they must know.I was on top of the kids for everything. . reinforcing/reminding all of it.The Head now realises how little I had/have.I explained what was making it so difficult for me and she said I can see you know where you want to get them to and you will.I think that was a compliment.I said what I wanted to implement and why and I kept saying I was trying , I'm really trying with what I have.I am just so tired, my head is absolutely banging, the Head was hanging around like a bad smell today but I thought "you can take a jump".The behaviour is improving, the children are responding really well to me.I enjoy teaching it's all the other guff I can't stand! Right I'm off to sort my kids out, they haven't eaten yet and I have a wash to put on.

saadia Tue 21-Jan-14 19:57:54

That's good, sounds as though you got your point across really well and she must have seen that you know what you are doing and that things are going to get better, good luck.

MrsKCastle Tue 21-Jan-14 22:38:32

Good for you! Sounds like you made your point.

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