Friday, March 26, 2010

Temporary Relief Teaching

When I first graduated I started doing some relief teaching and to be honest, I was nervous most of the time. Much of that was because I was young and new to teaching that I just wanted to make a good impression. Now that I am a full time teacher and have all the 'inside' information, here's a few pointers if you are doing some relief work. There are so many things to remember but here's a list of what I personally think is important. 
  • Arrive early. This means you have time to photocopy and get settled.
  • Always have something planned or something you can pull out when needed. Some schools ask teachers to leave a plan, however not all.
  • Make an appearance in the staff room and introduce yourself. The more staff that you have a chat to and meet, the more chance that you will be called again.
  • Search the classroom for classroom rules and steps/rewards. It is normally good to try to keep things routine, especially for those students who do not like change. This may prevent some of those typical behavioural problems.
  • Ensure that you are not late to yard duties and have checked your time and area before school starts
  • Be flexible and go with the flow. If you are asked to have an extra duty or help another teacher out, then react positively.
  • Have something planned for students to do when they enter the room. Students often just wander around aimlessly in the mornings. If they are expected to unpack their bags, then greet them at the door and explain that they need these things before they enter. With younger students, you can treat this as a game. My students have green folders that they must bring into the classroom every morning. They know this is their 'ticket' to get in the room.
  • Spend a little time introducing yourself to the students.
  • Be really positive, however let students know that you are aware of the classroom rules, and they will still need to be followed.
  • If students tell you 'Yeah we do this all the time', don't automatically assume it's the truth. If something is hidden, it's normally hidden for a reason =)
  • It's always nice to return to the classroom and find a note from the TRT. Though the day may have been difficult or challenging, make sure that you have written positive comments also. I personally appreciate honesty, but I do not want to return to my class reading about how 'difficult' my class was. End on a positive note.

Finally, the most important (for me atleast), make sure the classroom is clean. There is nothing worse than coming back the next day to a messy classroom, particularly if you have been unwell. If the end of the day was hectic and you were unable to get students to clean the floor or put their chairs up etc, spend time before you leave cleaning the room yourself. You may be able to find out what kind of work the cleaners do every day, so you can ensure that things wont be missed. In most schools, cleaners do not appreciate having to pick up large bits of scrap paper or pencils from the floor. These are the things that you can quickly do before leaving. 

Do not feel like you have to rush out the door. Say goodbye to the staff you see, take a walk over to the staff room and try to find the line manager/principal to say thank you. 
Hope these have been a little helpful and good luck!

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