Typical, innit? I’m not even working remotely close to full time but I still get bed-ridden with the plague during the first day of half-term.
Last week I worked a school down the road from my NQT school, about 20 miles from home. After three days of the commute I was like a zombie.
When I worked there, I used to leave at 7:00 to beat the traffic and be in by 7:30. Then I’d leave after 5:30, to get home at about 6:20. Leaving school any earlier than that just meant getting stuck in traffic and getting home at the same time.
How did I do that for two years, everyday, five days a week?
When you’re on your way to a supply placement one of the things you hope for is that one of the kids won’t flood the classroom.
Still, we can’t always get what we wish for.
My son started school this term and it has been interesting to experience it from the parents’ point of view, rather than the teacher’s. For example, this morning there was a different teacher in class (PPA cover, I presume) and my immediate reaction was to wonder ‘Who is that woman? Where is the normal teacher?’
That must be the thought process of every parent when they see me in their child’s classroom.
So what’s the Bullshit Face?
My son has done really well get getting into the swing of school, is popular with the other kids and enjoys going but he has had some teething problems where he has been a bit too boisterous with some other children.
He told my wife that he felt “shy of the other children,” by which he meant, not that he couldn’t talk to them but that he doesn’t really know how to talk to them. As a consequence he has made a couple of silly behaviour choices…
Yesterday, he got into a bit of trouble following an argument over a sieve.
I was beckoned over by his teacher at the end of the day where she explained what had happened. It told her what my son had said about being shy of the other children and she gave me – what I would call – the ‘Bullshit face’. It’s a facial expression that says ‘What-you’re-telling-me-is-bullshit-because-it-doesn’t-tally-with-what-I-have-seen-in-the-classroom-but-I-can’t-actually-say-so,-so-I-will-raise-my-eyebrows-and-bite-my-tounge-before-giving-you-a-very-sanitised-version-of-the-truth.’ Sensing the ‘Bullshit Face’ I clarified the meaning of his wording, to which his teacher agreed was probably the issue.
I really respect my son’s teacher but it did make me wonder how many times I must have delivered the Bullshit Face to parents. I also wondered if the parents that I’ve given the Bullshit Face to actually realised what it meant, as I’m pretty sure it just becomes a reflex action to certain parents when they open their mouths at you.
Have you ever delivered the Bullshit Face? Or have you been on the receiving end of one? Did you realise?
Once day this week I got a call at 8.40am, to work at a school 40 minutes away. I immediately rushed out into the car and drove off, realising about 5 minutes later that I’d forgotten my DBS, so I turned back. Just as a got home the agency called me back and told me that the school had cancelled.
I hope it wasn’t my reputation that preceded me.
In reality it was a booking for a foundation class – and I suspect a nursery class. Although I love nursery bookings as you are mostly teaching through play and there is never any work too mark, when it comes to nursery, to be honest, supply teachers are often more trouble than their worth for the school.
The supply teacher don’t know the kids and therefore can’t really do any affective observation, they don’t know the routines that kids of that age need to function as a class (just try managing 30 three year old without their familiar routines, it’s like trying to push water uphill) and there is usually already a wealth of other adults that are perfectly able to keep the kids focused.
The main reason for a school booking a supply nursery teacher is so the children have a qualified teacher in the room but to be honest, for the school, the benefits are often far outweighed by the negatives.
So, that’s what I reckon happened. I won’t take it too personally.
Following on from this experience, I decided that it was time to sign up with an additional agency so I might earn some money to pay the mortgage and feed my children. I dutifully told my current agency what I’d be doing and, amazingly, they suddenly start showing interest in me again!
I started getting bookings at schools, calls to check my availability and fulfilled promises to be called if something comes in.
The cynic in me wonders if it is connected….?