Dealing With Bad Behaviour As a Supply Teacher
Nov 12, 2012 Classroom Management 3008 Views
You know how it is. The regular teacher is away and this means one thing and one thing only for pupils: A day of monkey business. For the poor supply teacher called in at the last minute with no idea about the school, the year group or even the syllabus they're working on, this could be the Ultimate Day From Hell.
We've all been young once. We all remember the treatment that supply teachers got. Washing up liquid in coffee, the wrong directions to the bathroom and a complete and utter lack of respect - and that's on a good day. Often it can feel like you're a glorified babysitter and one who is treated with complete and utter contempt.
So how do you reign in a sizable group of over-excited young people a matter of minutes after you've first met them? They have the home advantage, that's for sure. They know the terrain, they have information you need - the works. All you have are your super supply teaching skills, the element of surprise and the weapon of Instilling Mild Fear!
Of course, your students aren't your enemy and this isn't a war, however, approaching a first day in a new supply teaching role with a certain amount of tactical grit can really help. Here's how...
Map out the terrain first
Of course, if you're called in at the last minute, this just isn't an option. However, if you have had forewarning, get to know the lie of the land first. Knowing where the toilets are is a very good first step (that removes one crucial power the little darlings have over you), but knowing who you'll be teaching, the age group, the ability level and the syllabus they're working on will give you a good, firm start. With this knowledge in your arsenal your pupils won't be able to smell weakness and you'll be able to command respect from the off with no chinks in your armour!
Have a sense of humour
OK, so enough with the war analogies now - the next best thing you can do is to learn to laugh at yourself. You're not going to get everything right first time, that's just the way it is. Supply teaching isn't about achieving perfection, it's about doing the best with the resources you have. Being able to laugh at your mistakes will make sure your charges don't think they can get your goat. It also helps to demonstrate that you are a fun teacher who can engage with the class - not some dry old nobody to be messed around with! (Instilling a certain about out mild fear from the off will make sure that your class don't take the biscuit with this one!).