There are many different behaviour scenarios that might happen as a Supply Teacher that will affect the whole class. Here are some scenarios and suggestions to combat them.
When the teacher has given you the most boring lesson to teach (probably on purpose!)
- Try using a small ball to get students to read aloud or answer questions to try and engage them. But if a lesson is still snore-worthy, ditch it. Your main priority is to keep control of a class, in order to teach them.
When technology or lessons fail and you’re losing the classes’ focus rapidly
- When left too long between instructions for techno fails or missing resources, the class will likely disengage. Play a quick, familiar game that needs little instruction while you try to fix it, or to give you time to organise your next plan of attack. Heads down, Thumbs up or Silent Ball are good for moments like this.
When a computer/library/specialist lesson is cancelled last minute and you need to quickly fill in that time
- Be sure to come armed with time fillers or engaging lessons that you can turn to for those last minute changes. Don’t try to get them to do anything too difficult, especially if they are missing out on a lesson that they love, as they will already be disgruntled that it was cancelled.
When the class is chatty, no matter what you do.
- If you are struggling to get the class to work quietly you can try using whole class behaviour strategies. One suggestion is having a reward at the end of the day where they lose chances if the class is too noisy and not on task. You can write up FREE TIME or GAME TIME on the board and rub out a letter each time the class is too chatty. They need one letter remaining to receive their reward time.
- If nothing seems to keep the noise down, embrace it. Get them to Think-Pair-Share, Turn To Your Partner or have a Group Discussion on the topic. If you can’t beat them, join them!
When you can’t get control of the class.
- The key is to remain calm and appear confident, even if you’re not. I’ve had 8 year olds that have bought me to tears (I told them that it was allergies. I think they bought it.)
When you get a tough class, bribe the hell out of them. You are only there for a day or so, so it’s not the end of the world if you haven’t completed all tasks set, or crammed the day with curriculum. Do some fun games in between lessons to motivate them. Give them a reward at the end of the day to work towards or bring out the big guns and tempt them with a prize bag. Hand out raffle tickets so everyone can have a chance to win.
You will get tough classes that will nearly break you. But you can get up the next day and get the call for a fabulous class that reminds you that teaching is worth it after all.