Reading a blog the other day, one of the comments linked to Terry Haydyn’s The working atmosphere in the classroom: a 10 point scale.
Every teacher has experienced most of the levels on the scale at some time in their careers (disclosure: by the time I resigned, my low ebb was leading me to sit at level 5). What I thought interesting was applying it to day-to-day supply. One day, you can find yourself at mired in level 3, then the following day enjoying a lovely level 8.
The other week, I had almost this exact experience. Wednesday saw me teaching a slightly challenging Y3 class. It started well, the majority of kids knuckled down to their starter tasks but as the day progressed the behaviour slowly disintegrated. After lunch, it came to a head with the arrival of a massive child (‘Dave’) who spends the mornings with the Reception class. This fact alone should tell you that he can’t cope with Y3. He had no adult support, didn’t know or care who I was (although was amazed that I knew his name) and the lack of routine caused him to flip out. This made another child, with ASD-like symptoms, act up too, culminating in ‘Dave’ doing a runner from the classroom, pursued by a passing member of staff, and not returning. Unsurprisingly, after this I’d lost the class. A level 3 day.
The following day, I returned to a semi-regular school, expecting to be in the lovely reception class, only to be told I was teaching Y6. Argh! A sure fire way of having a grating level 1 day! Fortunately, the awesome school re-jigged for me and I was in the lovely reception class. The children were a delight (aided by the fact there is only 20 of them), they engaged, listened, tried their hardest and enjoyed their learning. No question; a level 9.
There are so many factors at play that affect the level on the 10 point scale that you will experience as a day-to-day supply. It could be the planned lessons, handover notes (of lack thereof), one particularly strong-willed child, or ineffectual classroom support. What it is not, however, is a judgement level on your ability as a teacher.