Once upon a time, in a land not so very far from here, lived a teacher. Struggling with perfectionism, professionalism and pressure from above, this teacher, like thousands of others, worked stupidly long hours, including every Sunday, and took no more than 3 weeks holiday a year from the classroom.
This teacher burnt out.
After few trial runs at other careers, including hotel management, business administration and website developer, the teacher stepped back into the classroom – on supply!
I found fear, isolation, lack of support and lack of communication. However, I also found my own confidence; I could be flexible, adaptable, patient and polite. My behaviour management skills, presentation skills, ‘thinking on my feet’ skills, were all honed to, well, not perfection, but near as they'll ever be!
Supply teaching is a daunting prospect. The relatively nomadic career path isn’t for everyone, but I believe that every teacher should have a go. It would make for a great CPD course. What better training ground for a teacher than in at the deep end?
If you can do it – be proud. If you struggle sometimes, is there any wonder? A million teachers would not even attempt it. Be proud. Supply teachers are to schools what a well-known breakdown organisation is to motorists – the fourth emergency service. Super heroes!
#ultimatesupplyteacher - for me? Baden-Powell!
I won't lie to you!
I stopped working as a supply teacher when my maternity leave started.
I always intended to go back to supply eventually, when my son started school.
However, I won't be going back.
I have developed a form of arthritis called Palindromic Rheumatism. It is mostly under control and not degenerative - for the time being! I am focussed on raising my son and building up my reserves of health and fitness ready for an onslaught in the future.
I do miss supply work, and hope to step back into classrooms in some other form one day!
*** Update Nov 2015***
Through determination, 'clean eating' and juicing, I have been able to ditch my immunosuppressants etc., and I'm heading back into the classroom on supply! Wish me luck...
Ever wondered if there was another supply teacher present in the staffroom?
Look out for our new Otis the Owl badges on lapels, bags, pencil cases and packed lunch boxes!
I give these to supply teachers I meet on my travels. If I meet you, and I don't offer you one, please just ask!!