This story is one that I share because I think it tells the truth about supply teaching.
I had been asked to take a long term occasional position at a school where the teacher was off on stress leave. I took the position with great optimism. Upon my arrival at the school I had the other teachers introducing themselves to me and warning me about the classes I was going to get (I was teaching French to grades 4-8 students). But, the class I seemed to be warned the most about was the grade 8 class. When I met the class I was even more than firm. They weren’t able to do anything. I handed out detentions left, right and centre. But, soon I was able to loosen the reigns and relax a little more.
One day the boys were at a volleyball tournament and the grade 8 class was made up of all girls and only a couple of boys. Not wanting to start anything new we played a game of Bingo.
During our game one of the girls told a joke (a very clean joke) that was funny and I laughed. She remarked that I had changed a lot since being there. When I asked why she commented that at first I came in and was so tough and now I was kind of cool. I said “You didn’t think I was going to come in here and let you walk all over me did you?” Her response “No, but you have to understand, we have to see what you are made of too.”.
So, now whenever a supply teacher is telling me how hard it is I tell them it is, but it is the student’s test that makes it hard.