13th June 2008 at 01:00
I took over from a retired Year 3 teacher and she is my main supply cover
I took over from a retired Year 3 teacher and she is my main supply cover. My pupils and their parents adore her, and other staff have fond memories of her. When she's back, she lets the class run wild, rarely follows my plans and mollycoddles the pupils. Should I share my concerns or let it go?

Nat, Hertfordshire

A: Before you do anything drastic, check that you are not getting the matter out of proportion, and your perceptions are not influenced by just a tiny bit of jealousy.

After all, your supply was probably a pretty hard act to follow. Some teachers have the knack of commanding respect, others have a facility for generating enormous affection. These are priceless qualities. And don't forget, there might be problems of a different kind with your next supply.

Graham, Crowborough

A: Your pupils probably view her as an elderly aunt coming to visit and see it as a special treat. Despite your anxieties, it sounds like they are in safe hands. Her quirkiness, disorganisation and warmth probably gives them a welcome respite from the hard slog of the primary curriculum, and they may be learning more about the values of love, acceptance and respect.

Anne, Tunbridge Wells

A: As their class teacher, you are ultimately responsible for the learning and wellbeing of these pupils, so it is unacceptable for them to be allowed to waste their time being mollycoddled by a well meaning retired teacher who is being well paid for the pleasure. You have enough to do without picking up the pieces the day after her visits. Share your concerns.

John, Cumbria


Q: I have seen a number of Year 11 pupils in the local pub. They are no trouble, but I am sure they must be getting served alcohol as some look much older than they are. Should I get involved?

Q: A colleague in my school constantly bad-mouths staff to pupils who are influenced by his stories. The teacher in question denies all such conversations. What can be done?

Send your answer or any question you would like answered by your fellow teachers to askateacher@tes.co.uk. We pay pound;30 for any question or answer published.

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