Post 1: Well, it’s half term…..and since I am a supply teacher that means I have a bit of time on my hands. I’ve been thinking of doing a blog for a good while now. The reason? Since I started this career I have tried to find examples of other similar blogs to reassure me that the things that happen to me happen to others too. But they were few and far between. So here I am taking things into my own hands!
So what makes my blog different to other ones? Maybe not much at all, but I still think that if you are a supply teacher – or thinking about doing it – it would be valuable to hear from someone on the front line doing it. I will try to be as honest as I can (without being too obvious to specific schools!) and hopefully interesting too…
A wee bit of background about me: I have been teaching in the UK for over 20 years now (sigh) and have always had permanent teaching jobs. I graduated from a 4-year teaching degree (I don’t meet many people who have done that nowadays) and have always done this as a career. I specialised in Early Years, including Nursery, for my degree. 4 years ago I took the plunge to do supply as I have previously toyed with the idea but never really gave it serious thought. Necessity meant that I had to take this new direction (family reasons; maybe one day I’ll go into it). I didn’t really know anyone who did supply (still don’t) so I was in the dark. I joined an agency (very little alternative really without having a network of school links) and got stuck in.
In the first year I had a slow start in September. Then the work started coming in. And to my surprise I found that I loved it! I was being told I do a good job! I was asked back many times! And that’s the key: if you do your absolute best – and why shouldn’t you? – you will get repeat work. I never ever assumed work would be left so came prepared with banks of resources, but about 95% of the time it is left for you. The comments I get tell me that some other supply teachers do not do a good job. That’s not me saying this, it’s feedback I get. So why on Earth would I not do my best? There are only a finite number of schools in my area; I don’t want to shrink the pool. Being an Early Years teacher creates opportunities especially in Nursery as not many teachers want to do those days. I love them!
I have taught in over 40 schools now. The experience of them has been invaluable. It is fantastic to be able to see how other schools and teachers work. It is not for everyone, but it suits me and I am learning all the time. In other blogs I will write up specific examples of what I got up to and how schools treated me, but for now I think that will suffice for an introduction. I don’t know how the blog will progress – maybe it will be like a diary? Or a rant?! We’ll just see how it goes.
Oh, and just one more thing….It’s not very obvious. It shouldn’t make a difference. But I am a man. Yes, I specialise in Early Years, Foundation and Key Stage 1. There aren’t many of us (I was the only male for my entire 4 year course at university) and I rarely come across male practitioners. But this also brings positive feedback from my work, especially if the schools have no male contact for their children. If you are reading this and you are a woman I hope my perspective will be enlightening. Thank you for reading this far!