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Planning for the Supply Teacher

In his first #NexEdBlog, Adam Brennan talks us through the trials of being a supply teacher and how positive planning can lead to a smoother experience for all.

I often wonder if I missed the training session on cypher reading.  A lot of my supply bookings are to cover people on training courses, so they know the Supply is coming in and many leave notes on what they want me to do. Sometimes these notes go on for 2 sides of A4 and after reading them I’m on board ready to go. However sometimes I’m left a post-it note or a scrap of paper with some notes about finding worksheet Z in folder Y in the staff share drive and then I look round the room thinking where’s the computer and how do I log in. If I’m lucky enough to find that, next question where’s the printer? Why does this matter? In most cases I can’t get into a class before 8 o’clock as there is no-one on reception to check my DBS and let me in, so by the time I’ve been navigated to my class for the day and read through the notes that have been left (hopefully) there isn’t a lot of time to find the find worksheet z and the printer, as before you know it 30 faces are looking at you deciding how far can we push it today.  So, my plea to all teachers on behalf of supply teachers up and down the land, leave all the materials out ready or just have some questions we can display on the board.
Whilst I’m on the subject of planning, maybe it’s just by lack of experience, but I often find myself teaching Year 5 or 6 and I look at the planning left for and I’ll hold my hand up and admit I struggle with all different tense types. So, when I see my notes simply say teach past simple and present perfect tenses, I’m furiously googling both to try to quickly remind myself what they are. So if you are planning to leave a grammar lesson for your class please leave some resources to help both the Supply and the class, not just the notes – practical activities on whiteboards.  

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The author

Adam Brennan is a qualified teacher waiting to gain a teaching position to complete his NQT year. While he is waiting he is currently working as a supply teacher in Merseyside. Adam has a varied background when it comes to working with young people. His first job was working with children with additional needs such as autism and Down syndrome. Since then he has worked in “deprived” schools in London and Birmingham, working across all Key Stages from Nursery right up to Year 6. Outside of teaching he has been a member of the Scout Association for 20 years, starting off as a Beaver and is still involved today as an assistant scout leader for his old scout group.

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