To Supply Teachers

Supply teachers I know you have the toughest job. You walk into that classroom with no idea what’s to come, called up at short notice with little expectation of respect, most likely resented, your every little fault scrutinised and dissected, working with children you have never met, and with no idea what work they have already done. You are providing a much needed service and schools are thankful for you. My mum was a supply teacher, I heard all about it. Respect to your courage. I’m sure you would rightly say, “walk a mile in my shoes”.

Still there are some things I would like to say to you. Children can be cruel, but to treat them with cruelty doesn’t teach them anything new. I understand there are times when firm authority is needed but if you walk in that classroom expecting trouble, then trouble you will get. It breaks my heart to hear how aggressive and domineering some teachers are. I begin to wonder if you actually hate kids. To walk into that challenging environment and win those kids over takes the very opposite. They need to feel loved. You project your intention, whether you know it or not, and they respond to that. You may feel like a babysitter, but yours is a most important job; to provide stability when they are feeling unsettled. You are a role model for adapting to change. The difference you can make to a child you would not believe. Even in one day. A few words of inspiration or encouragement could stay with them for life.

© Janey Colbourne 2016

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