Friday, February 22, 2013

Supply Teaching 101: How to Have a Splendid Day Cover Teaching in London

The reaction every teacher wants from their students.

Having a Splendid Day Cover Teaching – Part I

by Dusan Sekulic

You would be amazed how early a person can get up in the morning when they really make an effort. We all have different internal clocks, personal time zones and habits, but when you become a teacher in London your body learns to live with the misty haze and fog of 6:30 am – every day.

This particular time in the morning becomes such a part of you, that even when you do reach the weekends, your body diligently beckons you to open your eyes and rise to the same early tune. There is nothing you can do about it as it becomes so natural to you in time. I find this useful in so many ways. Firstly, you get more out of each day, especially when you discover one inspiring moment how much work and things you can do in a single complete morning. Secondly, and more importantly, this is the time you need to wake up in order to be a successful cover teacher.

Supply Teaching Outfit Found


Starting off in London as a cover teacher is no small task. Yes, responsibilities are at a minimum and there is no lesson planning involved. However, there are other aspects of this role which present certain challenges that must be embraced – the morning being one of them. There is one way to give yourself more time to sleep. Planning and preparation the night before is essential. That involves setting clothes aside that you will wear the next day – For the Gentlemen, this involves shirt, tie and trousers, in case you were wondering. There may be the odd exception, but for the most part the days of casual jeans and shoes with your favourite comfy sweater are gone. You must look professional and respectable, and I wholeheartedly agree with the dress code. Not only will you look sharp and respectable every day, but you will feel more confident in your teaching, believe me.

Don't forget to pack a good lunch.

Making yourself a lunch the night before is also vital. That way you have a meal ready at the stroke of lunch and, best of all, you save time and money. The portions here in quick eateries are not quite as generous as back home and the inflated costs in the inner city do not budge too much. In essence: prepare a lunch.

Make the call & sound alive, ready to teach.


One last aspect of the morning that needs to be addressed is the actual phone call that you make to Classroom or whatever agency you are a part of. This is a critical part that is also very important. Making this call forces you to be awake right away in order to sound decently groggy on the phone while at the same lets the team know that you are ready and keen to go to work.

What makes it difficult is waiting for the call back to inform you that you have work for that particular morning. Yes, it is recommended you wait until 7:45 before you can hit the sheets again in silent slumber. However, 8:15 would be advisable. I cannot tell you how many times I got called much later for cover work. Schools sometimes get last minute notifications of teachers being absent, etc. It happens. Be prepared. Remember, don’t think that they won’t call you just because you know it is too late for you to make it to school on time for first period cover. Schools need someone for the whole day, until at least 3:30 or so. It does not trouble them that much to find a teacher in the school to cover your first period. It is the rest of the day that they are more interested in.

Cover teaching is very much a routine role, at least in the mornings preparing for your day. When you hit the streets to reach your nearest tube station on the way to your assignment that day, it all goes out the proverbial window. You quickly learn about, what I call, the pace here in London. It is brisk. It strikes you immediately when you leave your flat. The people have a sort of, stern focus, in their demeanour. Their faces are transfixed in thought as they race down the streets to the local tube station and work beyond. They are thinking about the job they must do that morning, the leisurely activities they will do after, what song to listen to from their iPods, and the pressing of time, which coincidentally does not allow them to be tired in the mornings. Not ever. Coffee is close at hand and, if not, the pace of their walking combined with the chilling morning spurs them on to alert wakefulness. There is no droopy stroll for a Londoner in the mornings or after work, for that matter – Simply the sound of each rhythmic footfall echoing on the unwelcoming pavement.

As a teacher, you need to enter this rhythm in order to survive each day. There is no time for fatigue or laziness. You just get on with your day. The standards are set high, the challenge is great, and there is a certain grit to the people in the city and you will see it in your students as well. Focus and determination are essential here, and although daunting it may sound, there is no better experience for a new teacher out there. The opportunities abound in London.

You need to embrace it and hold firm. The students await you, as do all the great things that come with teaching here. There is still time to gather your thoughts though, the tube awaits.

Part II coming up soon...

 

To apply for a teaching job in London with Classroom Canada, simply submit your resume & cover letter to apply AT classroomcanada.com.

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