First day as COVER WAS AWFUL! Don't want to go back! Watch

TeaAndToast22
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Hi!

So as the title says, I am a graduate and looking for some work before I return back to Uni for PGCE (but unsure now).

I went in today for the first time to an all girls school and it was horrendous. I want to highlight that this school is in a posh area. I couldn’t control the kids, they were walking in and out as they pleased, despite me telling them to stay. Whilst some ran out of the class early when I turned my back for a second. I had another assistant teacher there aiding a special needs girl and when I went to her for help as the girls were familiar with her, she sort of shrugged it off… ‘well it’s coming to the end of year’ ‘they’re making huge decisions at this age’ etc etc. But how does this excuse such bad behaviour? Girls were swearing, throwing things out the windows, defying me. I asked one girl to get back into her seat and she said to her friends ‘I don’t talk to strangers’ and completely ignored me. I was asked to come in tomorrow but said rather bluntly that I could not believe the behaviour at all and would rather not.

I found the SEN teacher slightly annoying too, she seemed to not care what they were doing and when I sent a girl out for being rude, she came to me seconds later and said ‘miss, you need to build bridges with her, she is autistic.’ Ok, but how does being rude and making comments help this behaviour? I don’t understand why she was making it seem my fault for not knowing she was autistic (again as someone who has an autistic brother, how does this seem ok)? Furthermore, their teacher left a 70-page booklet for them to do, the silly girls didn’t do that, they were online shopping so when I did point this out to the SEN teacher she said ‘well miss, they said they have done the booklet so they are studying for something else.’ But it was a 70-page booklet set online TODAY…


How do I deal with this - I had them for a double period and I honestly wanted to scream and shout. I was kind too, wasn’t strict and they took advantage of the fact I am a cover. I don’t even want to go back to school. It has entirely put me off applying for PGCE. I would not know what else to do with my degree...

Thanks!
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YasudaSayo
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idk what to say, im thinking about teaching and this has put me off lol. best of luck to you
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TeaAndToast22
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(Original post by YasudaSayo)
idk what to say, im thinking about teaching and this has put me off lol. best of luck to you
God, I don't want to do teaching at all now.
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ThatOldGuy
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Hahah. Read the Secret Teacher. Your experience isn't new. Can you message me what the school was? I want to know how this turns out.
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TeaAndToast22
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(Original post by ThatOldGuy)
Hahah. Read the Secret Teacher. Your experience isn't new. Can you message me what the school was? I want to know how this turns out.
Is it a google doc. or something?

Course, I am unfamiliar with the messages, so please pop up on mine!

I want to enter graduate medicine now, def. don't want to be a teacher. FML.
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MiszShorTea765
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(Original post by TeaAndToast22)
Hi!

So as the title says, I am a graduate and looking for some work before I return back to Uni for PGCE (but unsure now).

I went in today for the first time to an all girls school and it was horrendous. I want to highlight that this school is in a posh area. I couldn’t control the kids, they were walking in and out as they pleased, despite me telling them to stay. Whilst some ran out of the class early when I turned my back for a second. I had another assistant teacher there aiding a special needs girl and when I went to her for help as the girls were familiar with her, she sort of shrugged it off… ‘well it’s coming to the end of year’ ‘they’re making huge decisions at this age’ etc etc. But how does this excuse such bad behaviour? Girls were swearing, throwing things out the windows, defying me. I asked one girl to get back into her seat and she said to her friends ‘I don’t talk to strangers’ and completely ignored me. I was asked to come in tomorrow but said rather bluntly that I could not believe the behaviour at all and would rather not.

I found the SEN teacher slightly annoying too, she seemed to not care what they were doing and when I sent a girl out for being rude, she came to me seconds later and said ‘miss, you need to build bridges with her, she is autistic.’ Ok, but how does being rude and making comments help this behaviour? I don’t understand why she was making it seem my fault for not knowing she was autistic (again as someone who has an autistic brother, how does this seem ok)? Furthermore, their teacher left a 70-page booklet for them to do, the silly girls didn’t do that, they were online shopping so when I did point this out to the SEN teacher she said ‘well miss, they said they have done the booklet so they are studying for something else.’ But it was a 70-page booklet set online TODAY…


How do I deal with this - I had them for a double period and I honestly wanted to scream and shout. I was kind too, wasn’t strict and they took advantage of the fact I am a cover. I don’t even want to go back to school. It has entirely put me off applying for PGCE. I would not know what else to do with my degree...

Thanks!
I’m sorry for you having a bad experience. Better days would definitely come. You need to toughen up especially if the age group you’re working with are teenagers.

The first thing to do, is project and ground down classroom rules. I cannot emphasise how important this is. It would create foundations which you and your class can work towards.

Secondly don’t show them your nice side. They’re bound to take advantage. Be stern and show them you won’t tolerate their atrocious behaviour.

Introduce behaviour system in the classroom if the school hasn’t implemented any.

Hope this has given you an insight into the world of teaching.

All the best.
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Maximus55
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I am currently a student at an all girls school and i have to say that when we have a cover teacher we push them to see what we can get away with. although my experience sounds nothing like what yours was like i definitely feel that when a cover teacher comes in and acts like they are the normal teacher it really makes them seem like they know exactly what is going on. find out what the behavioural system is at the school and just give hints here and their at the few cheeky ones and eventually I'm sure everyone in the school will know not to mess with you. i hope my insight helps and i'm sure there are many classes that are like that in lots of schools, you just need to understand how to approach them.
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TeaAndToast22
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I have quit guys... over e-mail.
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ThatOldGuy
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(Original post by TeaAndToast22)
I have quit guys... over e-mail.
Sorry to hear that. :/ I'm sorry you went through it.
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TeaAndToast22
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(Original post by ThatOldGuy)
Sorry to hear that. :/ I'm sorry you went through it.
No don't be, thank you for your help.

Thank you to everyone!

I haven't received an e-mail back from them and I ignored their calls this morning... so bad. I haven't got the strength in me to do it, but have been assigned to a new agency that I will meet next week. It is more suited to me, primary teaching assistant or secondary teaching assistant. Not thrown in the deep end. Plus they work with the local primary school I attended and volunteered at recently.

Just anxious about my e-mail back from them. I don't want to call them, made an excuse that my phone is frozen. I have never felt so rude and unprofessional.
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Doones
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(Original post by TeaAndToast22)
Hi!

So as the title says, I am a graduate and looking for some work before I return back to Uni for PGCE (but unsure now).

I went in today for the first time to an all girls school and it was horrendous. I want to highlight that this school is in a posh area. I couldn’t control the kids, they were walking in and out as they pleased, despite me telling them to stay. Whilst some ran out of the class early when I turned my back for a second. I had another assistant teacher there aiding a special needs girl and when I went to her for help as the girls were familiar with her, she sort of shrugged it off… ‘well it’s coming to the end of year’ ‘they’re making huge decisions at this age’ etc etc. But how does this excuse such bad behaviour? Girls were swearing, throwing things out the windows, defying me. I asked one girl to get back into her seat and she said to her friends ‘I don’t talk to strangers’ and completely ignored me. I was asked to come in tomorrow but said rather bluntly that I could not believe the behaviour at all and would rather not.

I found the SEN teacher slightly annoying too, she seemed to not care what they were doing and when I sent a girl out for being rude, she came to me seconds later and said ‘miss, you need to build bridges with her, she is autistic.’ Ok, but how does being rude and making comments help this behaviour? I don’t understand why she was making it seem my fault for not knowing she was autistic (again as someone who has an autistic brother, how does this seem ok)? Furthermore, their teacher left a 70-page booklet for them to do, the silly girls didn’t do that, they were online shopping so when I did point this out to the SEN teacher she said ‘well miss, they said they have done the booklet so they are studying for something else.’ But it was a 70-page booklet set online TODAY…


How do I deal with this - I had them for a double period and I honestly wanted to scream and shout. I was kind too, wasn’t strict and they took advantage of the fact I am a cover. I don’t even want to go back to school. It has entirely put me off applying for PGCE. I would not know what else to do with my degree...

Thanks!
I've moved this to the teacher training, teaching and education jobs forum
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happbee
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Hello OP, I had a similar experience to you when I went in to a school. I was so shocked at the behaviour and state of the school and it put me off teaching. There's one thing that you have to remember - when YOU are the teacher, they are YOUR class, and you can control the behaviour how YOU want to. If the teacher you were shadowing has poor management skills then the class are not going to change just because you walk in to the classroom.
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username4466608
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This is why people turn away from teaching.

Seriously, who wants to deal with obnoxious, arrogant, entitled children?
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username4466608
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(Original post by TeaAndToast22)
I have quit guys... over e-mail.
Good job!

You deserve better.
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BlinkyBill
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(Original post by TeaAndToast22)
Hi!

So as the title says, I am a graduate and looking for some work before I return back to Uni for PGCE (but unsure now).

I went in today for the first time to an all girls school and it was horrendous. I want to highlight that this school is in a posh area. I couldn’t control the kids, they were walking in and out as they pleased, despite me telling them to stay. Whilst some ran out of the class early when I turned my back for a second. I had another assistant teacher there aiding a special needs girl and when I went to her for help as the girls were familiar with her, she sort of shrugged it off… ‘well it’s coming to the end of year’ ‘they’re making huge decisions at this age’ etc etc. But how does this excuse such bad behaviour? Girls were swearing, throwing things out the windows, defying me. I asked one girl to get back into her seat and she said to her friends ‘I don’t talk to strangers’ and completely ignored me. I was asked to come in tomorrow but said rather bluntly that I could not believe the behaviour at all and would rather not.

I found the SEN teacher slightly annoying too, she seemed to not care what they were doing and when I sent a girl out for being rude, she came to me seconds later and said ‘miss, you need to build bridges with her, she is autistic.’ Ok, but how does being rude and making comments help this behaviour? I don’t understand why she was making it seem my fault for not knowing she was autistic (again as someone who has an autistic brother, how does this seem ok)? Furthermore, their teacher left a 70-page booklet for them to do, the silly girls didn’t do that, they were online shopping so when I did point this out to the SEN teacher she said ‘well miss, they said they have done the booklet so they are studying for something else.’ But it was a 70-page booklet set online TODAY…


How do I deal with this - I had them for a double period and I honestly wanted to scream and shout. I was kind too, wasn’t strict and they took advantage of the fact I am a cover. I don’t even want to go back to school. It has entirely put me off applying for PGCE. I would not know what else to do with my degree...

Thanks!
Gosh that sounds like such a tough day! I used to be a secondary school teacher in Australia, and when I moved to the UK I did a couple of months of cover work. It really can be so challenging, and I really feel your pain! I had similarly (and worse) experiences in my time doing it. It's not a reflection on you at all, don't worry.

A heard earned lessons from my time doing cover that may be helpful:
- request and be confident with the behaviour management policy before you step into the classroom. If they don't automatically give you a copy in the documents you get at the beginning of the day, ask for it. If they don't have one, ask what the process is and write down the key info (names of relevant teachers, phone numbers, etc).
- When you get into the classroom, draw up a quick diagram of the desks (or take a pre-drawn photocopy of a basic classroom layout), and go round when you mark the register, writing down the name of each student and where they're sitting. You could do this while they're all settling in before you actually start the lesson, or you could start the lesson and get them working. The key is being really unobtrusive about it (so they're more likely to tell you their real names, unlike if you called the register aloud).
- Use their names during the lesson.
- Have a clear warning system and speak to the individual, not the whole class if you can avoid it. For example, if you're going to have three warnings, tell them that clearly the first time they misbehave, and tell them what will happen at each stage (probably ending with them being removed from the classroom). Also record these warnings against the register or in your notes for the classroom teacher to see.
- Figure out who your allies are and keep them onside (they will be more likely to help if you need a student to go and get the headmaster or something)
- Don't worry too much about getting through the work if the behaviour is tough. Focus on getting through the lesson, and give detailed feedback to their normal classroom teacher.
- If you're at the same school for more than one day, do follow up about particularly difficult students. They will be worse if they don't see you're consistent.
- Keep your cool on the outside. This is really hard sometimes. But if kids see you're getting frazzled or upset, it can turn into a bit of a competition to make it worse. I remember doing it to my cover teachers as a kid, and then I got my karma back when I became a teacher! If you're entirely chilled out despite any behaviour issues, you've cracked it.

I saw your most recent post and it sounds like you've got a couple more positive sounding days coming up. Just remember you totally can ruthlessly say no to schools you don't want to work at (that's part of the benefit of cover). Also, try and let it go at the end of the day. I know it's hard, but do be kind to yourself! It really is a very challenging thing to do.

Try not to feel too disheartened about teaching based on that negative experience. From my perspective, teaching is still one of the most rewarding things I've done (even though I no longer teacher - I work for TSR instead!). It's sooooo different when you have your own classes, and you're much more in control.

I hope even a tiny bit that was helpful!

Best of luck with it all!

BB
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thenextchemist
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wow, I've been to 3 secondary schools for work experience (2 all girls and 1 all boys) and have not experienced this type of behaviour. it does scare me to go into teaching tbh, but at the end of the day, every school is different so this may be a one off
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ByEeek
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Don't let it put you off teaching. You have just walked into a lesson where the kids know you are a cover teacher with no clout and have given it to you with both barrels. When you are real teacher, you will not only have been trained to behaviour manage, but as a permanent member of staff, you have significantly more clout / gravitas.

Swot up on the school's behaviour policy. How do sanctions work there? Find out and ask if you can issue sanctions. If the answer is yes (and it should be) make an example of one of the kids - doesn't matter who. Tear 15 strips of them and fire sanctions with both barrels. You will soon get your message across.

It is also worth getting total silence - do 5-4-3-2-1 and then wait until there is silence. When you have silence, set out your expectations very explicitly e.g. silent working. If you want some help, put your hand up and if you talk, you will get a sanction. etc etc. It does work but takes practice and patience.

Good luck!
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Muttley79
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(Original post by TeaAndToast22)
God, I don't want to do teaching at all now.
Sorry you had such poor support. Don't give up because these girls can't behave - not all schools are like this.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by Muttley79)
Sorry you had such poor support. Don't give up because these girls can't behave - not all schools are like this.
Good point! Never own behaviour. Kids are not naughty because of the teacher. They choose to be naughty all by themselves.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Good point! Never own behaviour. Kids are not naughty because of the teacher. They choose to be naughty all by themselves.
Yep - an oldie but good one is 'The behaviour you use is the behaviour you choose'
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