Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Joys of supply teaching.

A follow twitterer this morning uttered the words best guaranteed to make me shudder. Great Baddow.
I had been out of teaching for three years whilst we lived half way up a mountain in N Wales. On arrival in Chelmsford I  left my name with the LEA in the hope of some supply work eventually . The phone rang whilst we were still in the packing case stage at home. They had an emergency...could I get there in the morning please?
I got there.  By the morning break I was able to ask what had happened to the lady I was replacing.
She'd had a breakdown of some sort, ending with her pouring a cup of tea over the headmaster.
After a morning I could quite see why anyone could have had a breakdown,  the children were unruly, unpleasant and very noisy. I had never ever had any disciplinary problems in any other school so I was confident I could sort it all out given time.
At lunch time all the teachers disappeared. I was alone in the dining room apart from one man who said we had to eat fast, there was going to be trouble. It was during a period of teacher unrest and they were all working to rule, not doing lunchtime or playground duties. They had sensibly gone to the pub. I would have gone with them if asked!
We ate our lunch at a rapid rate and then went back to the staffroom through corridors of boys who had just realised that no one was on duty. we walked past the head who was studiously looking in the opposite direction and making no attempt to quell the mounting hysteria.
The man I had eaten with barricaded us into the staffroom, locking the door in case they wanted to come in and we listened to what later we realised was an actual riot. Lockers were pushed over, windows broken. Small children terrified into rushing around screaming.
I have no idea what it all cost the school... but when it was described as a riot in the local paper the head hotly denied it...but I knew the truth!
I stayed for a term and was asked to make it permanent. I declined the kind offer.
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