I did my first day of supply teaching today. I was lying in bed at 8.45am, contemplating getting up and facing the day, when I received a phone call to request two days of cover for an absent teacher at my former school.
I was surprised, I didn’t expect this sort of work for at least a few months, but it was a brilliant opportunity to see all of my former colleagues and earn a bit of extra cash – never a bad thing in my opinion!
Admittedly, I was a little nervous on the way there. I was covering languages all day, which is far out of my comfort zone, and I hadn’t met any of the new students. There have been a few changes in the faculty as several staff left with me last year, and after ten weeks of being away from the classroom I was concerned that I would struggle.
It was initially a very surreal experience. My surroundings were so familiar, and yet it seemed totally different. It was a completely new reality.
However, it turned out to be an enjoyable day – I was greeted by some of my favourite students with ‘I thought you’d left – good to see you back!’ and one sixth former launched himself down the corridor to give me a massive hug. I also found it amusing that staff said hello as they normally would, and then did a double take when realising that I was at work. It was really good talking to everyone and listening to stories of their summer adventures, and after a while it almost felt like I had never left.
What was particularly brilliant was that after a few months of doubt over my decision to leave the profession, there were several occasions where I had to deal with challenging behaviour, (despite knowing these particular students well), and it was a solid reminder that I was absolutely doing the right thing.
Best of all, I left at the end of the day just after the students, several hours earlier than I used to, without a single piece of work to do in the evening – no marking, no paperwork, no worries. Instead of going home with a headache and anxiety, I met my friend and went to the pub.
I could get used to this!
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