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  • Writer's pictureEliza

The Day the Supply Teacher Quit

Today I was doing a task around the school. My class had a supply cover. You may have learnt by now that my wonderful class has a real melting pot of wonderful and differing characters. It is very intense but I do love it and they have come a long way. Mainstream schooling is being moved towards an integrated inclusive system. On the one hand I am completely here for it, on the other I am painfully aware on a daily basis how chronic underfunding, waiting lists and recruitment crises make the reality very far from ideal. Working within an underfunded public sector service is of course challenging but as my daughter's play therapist says often - look at all of those glimmer moments. Reflect back as well as planning and reflecting for the future.

Everything was set up and ready, laid out and I came at lunch to refresh the classroom. I remember being on supply and although I am by no means close to being 'on top' of it all, I do try to do my best to leave things as I always liked to find them when walking into an unknown classroom. At the end of the day I debriefed with said supply. They'd had a lovely day, really great and enjoyed it.

Half an hour later the Head comes to say to my colleague and friend that the Agency called to cancel tomorrow. The Supply Teacher has told them in no uncertain terms...they are never coming back.

How does one react to that news.

I laughed. It seems we have scared them off. It is not a class for the faint hearted and there are days when I have also contemplated walking out of that fob locked door and skipping off into sweet sweet freedom. On really tough days I imagine a camper van waiting for me out there and I pull out my ponytail in the breeze, shaking my mane like some thoroughbred horse as I leap aboard and get ready for harem pants and wild adventures. Perhaps that is where the supply teacher is now.

There is goodness in the staying though. It isn't fashionable or even encouraged to stick it out. The trick is knowing when you need to change things. I know that for all of my crazy imaginings, I like my structure and routine. I like knowing where I am going and that it has the same people and smells. I know what to wear because the heaters are ferocious in the winter and the classroom is oddly colder in the summer. I know the parents and have taught all of the siblings in the family. I watch my old Reception classes move up to Year 6 and off to secondary and marvel at how amazing they have become. There is something to be said for having consistency and perhaps a bit of boring. At this stage in my life, predicability is more welcome than ever before. It means that I can feel safe in my nervous system to be flexible with the needs of my lovely class.

Would I like to have the choice to just call up and say no thank you I won't be back tomorrow. Yes. I would. Choice is freedom. Would I actually choose it and miss all of the progress still to come. Probably not.

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