Supply teaching plus writing – making my own work schedule

I just turned down a temporary job working with kids who are acting for the BBC. First of all, the hours could be from 8:30-7PM at night, and secondly I wouldn’t have my July or Sept holiday time that Steve and I have already scheduled. It sounded like a cool job but, nah, that’s not for me.

In fact, I’ve been quite okay with my job situation as of late. The Primary School I’ve been frequenting has been really fun to work in, so I put my application in with them. Now that I have the car more supply work has been coming in. Steve and I discussed my goals and if I really wanted a full-time teaching job or if I’d prefer to just stay in day-to-day and temporary work as I have been.

Full-time teaching takes a lot out of you. In fact, I just read this great article on Tumblr called Please, please, stop saying these things to teachers… It talks about how freaking tough the job is, and how misunderstood educator’s issues and complaints can be. Yesterday they announced that England will be changing their GCSE testing again and Year 7 will be the first to feel the brunt of it next school year. I’ve taught plenty. I’ve gone through the enormous pressure of good English test scores, working in boring workbooks, and doing nothing but test prep for 90% of the school year. You work all day, then have to grade papers and plan your lessons at night. You’re exhausted, you spend no time with your family, and you’re told what more you could be doing.

But I’m still going to an interview for an English teaching job next week. Now, England’s interview process is much more complex than anything we have in Florida. They schedule out a morning for all candidates to do a 25-30 lesson for students they’ve never met before, then arrange a discussion for another group of students, then have interviews with the Headteacher, Head of English, and anyone else who may need to be involved (so it can end up being a panel of five who take turns asking you questions together or in separate rooms.) Then they make another shortlist, then ask the final candidates to come back for interviews before choosing who they want. It’s enough pressure to make me nervous, just typing it out.

However, I’ve learned that Headteachers want someone who is British, British trained, with British school experience. I understand that though. Irish teachers are moving to England to find work and you have Newly Qualified Teachers in England already trying to find work. My oversees, clueless self is not going to be one of their first options for a full-time job. As Claire from Steps put it on Celebrity Big Brother, “People don’t like to admit it, but the British are very patriotic.” Again, I don’t blame them. It’s just frustrating to get your hopes up just to have a Headteacher sit in on your well-prepared mini-lesson for a good five minutes before walking out the door (really happened) without “having a chat” or any kind of interview whatsoever. Waste of time and energy.

Supply teaching, on the other hand, has the beauty of walking away from work each day without anything to take home. Granted it’s nerve-racking to go to a new school, not knowing who the kids are and if there are any kind of lesson plans left for you. Kids don’t respect supply teachers as much, especially at the Secondary level, but, again, if you don’t like the school and the kids act up, it’s really not your problem. Leave the day, tell the agency not to send you there anymore, and that’s that. It pays less and there’s not a lot of room for advancement, but it’s not the worse job in the world. (It certainly beats a £56 a day office job that I’ve been offered in the past – less pay and longer hours with no room for career advancement.)

Also, my main objection to a full-time job is I have time to do things like this. I’m sitting here, at home, at my computer with my cup of hazelnut Dunkin’ Donuts coffee that was sent to me from Florida. I can chose to have a “me” day for blogging, reading, and the all-important task of writing. I can take my netbook down to Starbucks and hang out for an hour, typing away. I can take our holidays whenever Steve has time off work. We can go to Florida for our anniversary, and I won’t have any outside work to plague me at home.

It’s a good middle ground in the dilemma of writing vs. teaching. Granted, I’d scoop up a job if it were offered in October or so if it were at the little Primary School I like so much. But otherwise, I’m not really fussed.

I’ve considered starting a supply teaching log, but I have a hard enough time keeping bookblogarama updated when I’m otherwise preoccupied. Maybe later.


About Suzanne Schultz Pick

Married to Steve. Mother of Jack. Librarian IT Assistant. Writer, teacher, blogger, podcaster, technological princess.
This entry was posted in All About Me, Books, Employment, School, Teaching, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Supply teaching plus writing – making my own work schedule

  1. For a long time I thought the interview lesson was odd but after having been through a few I now think it’s weird for a school to hire someone who they’ve never seen interact with the children. Also, schools know it’s artificial so they just try and get a feel for your style. If they have their heart set on someone else, your amazing lesson probably won’t make a difference. Good luck 🙂

    • I understand their logic in the process. Personally, I liked the school were they hired me as a supply teacher for a week before deciding to keep me for the rest of the term. Gave me time to get to know the kids, the routine, ect. before my observation.
      But, yeah, you’re right. If they know already that they want Mr./Mrs. X who they’ve known for years already, it doesn’t matter how much you try to dazzle them.

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