I started working as a Supply teacher near the end of 2013. I was super excited to get back to work. This fact actually shocked me. I was delighted to give up work and stay at home with my children. I had been at home since September 2006. As you may have previously read, I didn’t feel that teaching was my divine calling. I enjoyed it a fair amount, but was also quite happy to give it up. One, because it was my preference to stay at home with my children, but also two, because I felt so indifferent towards it, the hard work was easy to give a miss!
When I went to work on my first supply job, I felt a little nervous. Looking back though, I was completely naive to think I would just turn up, teach, go home and that everything would be fine. That I’d pick up where I left off. Especially after so much time. But I thought that I had done a little supply for my previous school following the birth of my eldest, so surely it would be like that!
It wasn’t until I got there and had explained to me what I had to do, that I started to feel like a complete newbie. As I waited for the children to come back from lunch (it was just an afternoon cover) I felt an unexpected terror in the pit of my stomach. It became very clear quite quickly that I did not feel prepared for this experience whatsoever.
The simple classroom management skills I had previously developed seemed like a distant memory. I felt flustered and out of control. Although there was no disaster, inside I felt like an utter fool. Totally unsure of what I was doing. So much had changed. Even the equipment, in particular the technology. I didn’t even know how to do the register. It was still a paper register when I taught before, and now it was on a computer system. The afternoon went quickly, if not a little bumpy. However, when it came to dismiss the children, this was where I felt especially out of my depth. I had been told that they had to go through the main entrance. However, I had failed to think of or ask any further questions. I now realise they also should have given me more information!
Anyway, it was chaos. Mine was not the only class being dismissed from that entrance and children were fleeing school in every direction. Just imagine my horror as I was frantically checking everyone was going home with the right adult. When I’d done supply for my former school, of course I knew many children and parents. I knew the systems and routines. I hadn’t considered how different every aspect would be, 8 years later, in a school I had never been to before.
Oh well, it’s only the first day. It will get better…right?