Not your everyday greeting I will grant you, and by far not the worse thing I have ever been called in my time as a teacher. It is however problematic. I am relief teaching at the moment.In the US I think it I am called the substitute teacher, in the UK I would be called a supply teacher. Essentially I get called in when someone is away. The remuneration is not bad as as an hourly rate but it is effectively a zero hour contract and the conditions are absolutely crap.
To many people you are invisible especially in big schools, you will eat lunch on your own, have no idea of who the kids are in your class, sometimes no idea of the school day. You have very little relationship with many of the students and certainly no capital to spend in terms of building that apart from the one thing.
Being a relief teacher is an easy job if you don’t take it seriously. If you just don’t care and essentially let the students do what they want then life is easy, the kids will like you and your time in class will fly. Just ignore the eating, the texting, the graffiti, the bullying oh and the lack of engagement you will be fine.
There are plenty of relief teachers out there who do so, collect their wages once a fortnight and are just happy as they can be and who really can blame them? I certainly can’t because it is god awful work at times. The class see a relief teacher and it is woohoo, holiday, we don’t have to do anything today, he won’t know who we are, we can do what we like, some just get up and walk out. If you dare to challenge them then look out, then it starts, racist, m****r f****r, c***t, arse hole, idiot, w****r, just a few of the names I have been called this week. No threats of violence against me so I guess I should be grateful, but I am not. I am heartily sick to the bone of the abuse and nonsense that I and hundreds of other teachers are subjected to every day, not just relief teachers, your everyday class room teacher has to tolerate this every day, if you pursued a broken window policy with this then you would never get any teaching done, or very little. The time it takes to deal with this stuff is enormous, and to borrow a phrase, another child waits…. sir can you please explain this, sir I can’t really read can you help me, sir is this right? The calls are constant and the demands are ongoing. Sir I don’t have a pencil,pen,paper, book. A lot of the time I use my own mobile internet access because I am not hooked to the school network (which given the reliability of some of the school networks I have used is probably a good thing).
You can get very nasty surprises as a relief teacher, oh so and so lives with dyslexia,autism, aspergers, is abused, diabetic, chronic liar. All unkown to many relief teachers. None of this matters if you don’t care and there is the nub of my problem in toto. I do care. I think that students need to get their learning, that having a teacher away should not compromise their education, I think it is unethical to ignore the behaviors, the swearing, quasi violence, the walking out of class. In short my expectations when students come to class is that they should learn. That is what makes my job very difficult. There are some bright spots, and not all classes and students are like this but many are. It is an important job but bllodty tough. I wish there were cameras in class at times. if parents could only see what their precious darlings get up to at times…. not that I believe that would necessarily make any difference.
Needs must you see for me and right now I must be a relief teacher and I care. I have dallied this week with the laid back don’t give a shit approach but it is not morally sustainable for me so I guess it will be not that c**t again next week when I work.