Supply teachers, in terms of behaviour, usually get a raw deal.
In an ideal world, the agency calls at 7:30am, and we arrive at school by 8:30am, some schools even ask for 8:15am. We are handed an information pack upon arrival, shown where the staff room and the staff toilets are, introduced to members of the SMT, and told to call upon them if we have any problems. We are then given a list of the classes we are covering, along with registers and notes about the work the pupils will be doing. We are also given copies of any resources, and shown where to find any that may be hidden in the classroom. In addition, we are also handed a map of the school, a timetable of bells and lesson changeovers, and a copy of the discipline policy.
In reality, it’s often rather different.
The agency call at 8:09am, and expect us to arrive at a school for 8:30. After tearing across town (or through the countryside) we arrive at the school at 8:48am, only to be told off for being late. If we are lucky we are shown to the first classroom we are in, before the receptionist disappears into the calm of the office by the school entrance.
It is only then that we realise we don’t have a copy of the day’s timetable, nor any idea of what we are supposed to be covering. Sometimes, the teacher we are covering for has thoughtfully left a note on their desk, detailing the PowerPoint they have prepared for the lesson, and a note as to where the resources are located on the intranet. Unfortunately, SMT have decided that they cannot risk leaving the laptop in the hands of The Supply, and so have removed it from the classroom. Or, if the laptop has been left, we are not given details of how to login.
It isn’t a great way to start a lesson. Is it any wonder then, that the pupils don’t take the lesson seriously?
Of course, pupils who aren’t focusing on the lesson tend to find other ways to occupy their time, generally engaging in things they are not supposed to be doing.
And that’s the fault of The Supply.