Interview with... An SEN Supply Teacher

Interview with an SEN Supply Teacher
An SEN Supply Teacher working through Randstad Education, talks to us about the privilege of working with SEN children.
Why did you choose to be a supply teacher?

Because I want to be in control of when I work and not at the mercy of the LEAs and their Human Resource teams. Also the holiday and travel companies charge a fortune for holidays taken at the end of school terms so really I felt I was working to pay their astronomical fees to go away at the same time as everybody else.

How did you get into supply teaching?

Once qualified many years ago I did not want to go into an LEA pool so I registered with an agency.

What do you take with you on assignment?

Very little because I can think on my feet. Also I work in SEN a lot where the planning is very prescriptive because the pupils need routine.

How do you ensure you'll be called back to work at *that* lovely school?

By being dependable, approachable, flexible and good at what I do. I am also a very good colleague who does not expect the people around me to do all the work. I would not ask somebody else to do something that I am more than capable of doing myself.

What special qualities are required of an SEN supply teacher?

A sense of humour first then the ability to empathize with the pupils and try to have realistic expectations of what the pupils need to achieve. The focus has to be on the individuals needs not what the average student needs. Flexibility is a must and don't ever patronize somebody with learning difficulties. You will probably find that they have more talents in other areas than you do!

Do you have any advice for those wishing to do supply teaching in SEN schools?

Be prepared to be traumatized some days and incredibly humbled on others. Working with pupils who have SEN is a privilege to be earned not something to do because there is nothing else on the day. Their lives are in your hands.

What have you learnt from being an SEN supply teacher?

That I lead an incredibly charmed life and to take nothing for granted. Many of the parents of the children I have taught over the years struggle much more at home with their children than I do at work with them and for some of the pupils coming to school is possibly the only time that they get some individual attention.

How could the lives of supply teachers be improved?

By being paid through the holidays one way or another. By having some sort of back up fund for when you don't get any work. It is my choice to be a supply teacher but not getting paid when I don't or can't work is very worrying. Supply teachers have bills too.

Who would be the ultimate supply teacher and why?

Morgan Freeman because of that voice he could read any story and make it sound amazing.

And finally, what is your favourite supply teacher resource?

I always have the French alphabet with me with the letters written down phonetically to help me teach the pronunciation. For example A is said "aah". The primary children love it because they have a go a spelling out their names in French.

Randstad Education
6th Floor
100 Grays Inn Road
London, WC1X 8AL
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 020 7400 6035 


Randstad Education - Interview with an SEN supply teacher


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