How I Build Connections as a Supply Teacher in ONLY One Day

by | Mar 15, 2022 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Building relationships is critical for behaviour management in a classroom.  But how can you achieve this if you are only in the class for a day as a supply, relief or substitute teacher?

Well, I recently had a new gym instructor start at my gym. I’d like to say I don’t mind change, and obviously love a bit of variety in my life as I have chosen to be a career supply teacher.

But…this change wasn’t received so well.

First of all, he didn’t even bother to introduce himself when he walked in and he never bothered to learn any of our names.

Then he started ruling with an iron fist, demanding that we listen to him and give him our undivided attention at all times. And when you have a bunch of ladies who come to the gym as much to connect and socialise as we do to work out, this was an issue.

If we did something wrong, he berated us and in a condescending tone told us that we obviously weren’t listening to his instructions.

We would then avoid asking him for help in fear that he would chastise us in front of the group, and make us feel like a fool.

It seems I wasn’t the only one who thought he was a flog and felt disrespected and unmotivated by his method of instructing.

So a bunch of us left.

And this got me thinking…

Coming in new each day as a supply teacher is much the same.

You can come in ruling with an iron fist like old mate, or you can take a softer approach, like I do.

I am probably more lenient than what the classroom teacher is, but they have a whole year to set boundaries, build rapport and make connections.

Supply Teaching is a whole different ball game.

You have meer moments to win them over.  First impressions last.

And when the most important factor to successful BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT is relationships, you are on the back foot from the get-go.

I am by no means perfect at Supply Teaching, but I have managed to become a firm favourite with students and teachers who have had me.

So what’s my secret???

People learn from people they like.

So I make sure to show them RESPECT and have FUN with them.

How do I do this?

I try my best to learn names as quickly as possible. This helps build connection and makes your day run much smoother.

I also love to introduce novelty games and brain breaks they haven’t done before.  I try to slip in fun and engaging learning whenever possible and reward them with games if they are on task and working well.

I’ve had students request some of my activities years after being in their class. I’ve had students teach their teacher new games that they now play regularly.

Sometimes I write post it notes with positive words when a child is on task or hand out funny punny reward cards as a unique reward. Doing something personalised shows you care and builds relationships, even if you are only there for the day.

Whilst I am still firm with my expectations and boundaries (I will not let them walk all over me), taking the more fun and engaging approach has worked for me!

What approach do you like to take?

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