One of my pet hates on supply is Art. Why?
It can be tricky. You never know where the art materials are kept? If there are enough materials? Where and how do the children clean up the paint pots etc?
Also, Art can potentially lead to mess and chaos especially as there are children who you do not know (And sometimes the children know this and act on it too).
Yet as a supply/cover teacher your role is to step in and help as the school directs, you have to be prepared to cover everything but most of all keep calm and carry on.
One Friday morning a request came to cover Year 2, it was local, and despite the wet and windy morning I headed off.
The school had told the agency that it was ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ and I was welcome to join in and wear a jumper too (nice to be included). I was also told that it was a potential messy art day involving glitter and glue.
I arrived and, with a friendly greeting from the office staff, was shown to the classroom. The parallel teacher and TA’s were setting up the room and it did look like a busy messy complicated day ahead. The activities were challenging and my class TA did not look at all happy.
We planned to simplify the set activities deciding which were the ones to focus on and which might need support. I focussed on the cards - doing as I was told not the way I would have chosen- and managed to get these done. The T.A. took on the gluey, glittery lanterns.
With the cards made I focussed on the second of the activities which was making card baubles. This was not only very difficult but involved a sharp bradawl with which I managed to stab myself twice and bled. The task was very tricky but eventually I managed to find a routine. (the TA from the other class came to see how I was doing as she too was finding this very difficult)
The tricky day carried on with not being able to log into the music, not being able to find the sound to watch the DVD, but together the TA and I carried on with the activities. We did indeed manage to do everything set, which was actually more than the second Year 2 class.
The class was now quite a mess so we ended up with a tidy up challenge and game after which the class looked much tidier.
I had recently read an article on a ‘Mums Net’ blog site which spoke of a ‘Supply Teacher’ who the class had been told had been sacked because of the class and their behaviour during such an art lesson. I wondered could this have been true? Certainly, a school can refuse to have a supply teacher back but can they sack a supply teacher? Is it in fact fair to blame the cover teacher who certainly would not know the children? I hope not, however, to comment this to the class was cruel, unfair and certainly out of order. Supply teachers have a tricky task and Art can be very tricky. Most schools are indeed supportive and understanding and hopefully the work is completed, even if not exactly to the teacher’s perfection.
(My other pet hates: - ICT - always a computer not working; PE - always some child without their kit, sometimes not enough equipment and the class certainly are in a different environment)
My supply Art day ended up well, despite the mayhem of Christmas, the different non-uniform Christmas Jumper Day and a Christmas Fair at the end of the day.
The poor TA who had been a bit grumpy at the start of the day had a smile on her face as I left and said a ‘thank you’.