A Day In the Life of a Casual Teacher

Today I had my first day back in a classroom.

There are so many differences when it comes to teaching on a casual basis compared to working with your own classroom full of kids. It's the attitudes of the staff and the students. It's the complete lack of routines that are in place. It's the uncertainty of knowing whether you have a timetable to follow, any work left for you to plan. It's the unknown of where the classroom is, where you should park your car, where the roll is. It's the 'going in blind' approach, especially when it comes to children and their behaviours, personalities and strengths/weaknesses that you know absolutely nothing about.

It's a real eye-opener, that's for sure. You might remember that when we first moved to London, I started out doing some casual relief teaching there too. I stuck it out a few weeks, and really struggled to find a rhythm with it - which was when I started looking for other roles in education, and ended up working in an office environment for the majority of my time there instead. Well, today brought back flashbacks of coming home miserable and wondering what else was out there. It's early days yet, and I have potentially got a few more days booked in at a different school next week - but we'll see what happens there.

To break down some of today's more eventful happenings, I'm enlisting the help of some bullet points.

  • Got a phone call at 7.30am, asking me to be in by 8.15am - got up, showered & dressed in ten minutes, threw together some random token food products and made sure I had a few resources in my bag ready to get going.
  • Arrived at school early, only to find no parking spaces left in the lot or along the street. Parked next to a dumpster in the school car-park, went into the office to check that I could leave it there & was encouraged to drive right in to the car-park, blocking in several cars. (I wasn't too comfortable about that, but the instruction came from the Asst. Principal, so okay...)
  • Found classroom - no work left, no time-table set. Decided to see about photo-copying some of my resources & told that school has a strict policy: casuals only allowed to copy 2x worksheets that have to be approved & signed off by the senior staff & only admin allowed to use the photocopier.
  • Left without copies for first half of the day - so kept busy with other things, though more than a little stressful.
  • Had a class of Year 1 students, which was nice. Kids okay, just kids. Quite a few personalities, though it felt comfortable teaching them - although we had a pants-wetting incident midway through the day, so that was fun.
  • Administration staff not particularly friendly and/or helpful when it came to filling in my casual teaching paperwork. They treated me like a teacher fresh out of university, very patronising - and if it weren't for the kindness of a teacher that overheard our conversation & could offer some assistance, I may well have had to drive back there on another day to bring back forms that they should have provided.
It was a doozy, I'll admit. I came home and felt like I'd run a marathon - the teaching side of things was just fine, but the whole disorganised day of keeping people busy & trying hard to keep topics related to what I guessed they would be covering at this time of year - well, it was a challenge.
Here's to some more learning experiences over the coming weeks. And also, can I get a WOO HOO for finally getting some days booked in & some shiny gold dollars in my pocket at some point in the future? For all my worrying and sometimes complaining, I'm going to be grateful for each and every day's work I get.


14 Comments • Labels:  

14 comments:

Fiona said...

argh stressful?

Another reason for htere to be visual schedules in all classrooms - the help the casuals!

Carly said...

You made it through the day though sweets!

I was actually thinking once we got off the phone this afternoon, we should compare resources one day soon, as I have a tonne of K-2 stuff!

Friday will be an awesome day, promise! If not, I am only a text message away ;)

audrey said...

I've seen Tim teach a full day when he has plans in place, and even that seems exhausting to me. I can't imagine going into an unfamiliar class in an unfamiliar school and having to put together a whole day of lessons. Talk about stress! You must have some mad teaching skills to get through the day so successfully.

Britt said...

Ugh! So stressful! I hate people who are unnecessarily rude. You're doing that admin staff a favour by being there so they should treat you with respect!

Hopefully next week goes better!

Kira @ hernewleaf said...

It's seems like unnecessary drama at schools is an international issue.. Do they not want you to be successful?? I'm not a teacher but I work in the schools and encounter the same types of things.. Boo!!

heidikins said...

Hang in there honey! The awesome job you're looking for will come through for you!

xox

Ali @ His Birdie's Nest said...

That sounds so stressful! I'm sorry, but good for you for making it through. I'm sure you're a wonderful casual teacher (we call them substitutes in the states) and I still remember my favorite casuals. Good luck finding something more permanent!

terra said...

I cannot imagine walking into a classroom without any sort of guidance on what the kids needed to be doing. Sounds incredibly frustrating! Here's some better organized days are up ahead!

Lindz said...

That sounds horrid. I always feel for substitutes for all of the reasons you mentioned. I know how I feel when I am don't feel 100% prepared to teach my own classes - your scenario sounds far worse.

CuppyCakes said...

At least we don't have to feel SO bad about our days out now...*cough*

Anonymous said...

I know it's hideous!! I always leave stuff and kids know my routine. Some hints I ahve learnt from helping otehrs teach the class next to me. Have a few good picture books - Alexander and the terrible, horrible no good day is good, - you can read the story and it is a great stimulus for writing/ drawing. For maths revise operations or do a graph. Always necessary and keeps them busy. Have some colouring sheets( I used to hate them now realise they are a godsend) and some word searches already copied so you don't need to rely on school copier. Best to keep them really busy and have lots of stickers to reward or raffle tickets with a prize at the end of the day. Bribery is your best friend! Sport is a great bribe too. Hope something helps. Email me if you want some more tips. I am happy to help.

PS Glad you got some work!!!

Kathy

Claire said...

I have so much respect for you and teachers in general. It requires a skill set that I just do not posses, and I'm in awe of the patience the job must require.

feetfloorgo said...

I don't think I could ever do what you've done... first days scare me so much, having them a bajillion times a year would put me in an early grave. I think you're very brave!

Catherine said...

I have my first CRT day tomorrow and now you've got me nervous as I am a fresh graduate! I have grade 5/6 so hopefully they aren't too menacing!
Hope it's all going well for you!





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