Despite my occupation

Yesterday I had to ‘babysit’ some Year 11 boys. They had been withdrawn from their class, but, by the start of the lesson, no cover work had been set. I was told that this would be sent over shortly.

The boys were good-natured and resigned to their confinement in the room for the last lesson of the day. I didn’t have any access to books, or any resources, so I spent the time talking with them about their GCSEs, their plans for their educational future from September, and fielding questions about why I worked as a supply teacher.

It soon became apparent that the set work wasn’t going to arrive, so we carried on with our discussion. I discovered that two had apprenticeships to train as plumbers, one wanted to study PE at college, one wanted to go to university eventually (but he was wary of the cost), three wanted to get jobs, one had a job already lined up, and two hadn’t thought about anything beyond their exams.

These were boys who had been removed for a variety of reasons, yet they could all hold a reasoned, calm conversation. It struck me as a great pity that they apparently hadn’t applied this ability in class.

As the bell went, the boys all got up to leave, gathering their bags and coats into their arms. Filing out through the door, one of them turned to me and said, “You’re alright Miss, you are. You seem like a nice person, despite your occupation!”

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1 Response to Despite my occupation

  1. 4c3d says:

    The four learning needs:
    1) Belonging
    2) Freedom
    3) Fun
    4) Power
    Meet some of them most of the time and you tend to get learners to meet you part way. I suggest that is what you experienced. Perhaps they were prevented from applying themselves in class. It is amazing how toxic the “learning environment” can be when teachers do not meet learners needs. I can suggest a good book and a good INSET course that will help if anyone is interested. I can be contacted at


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