Thank God it's Friday

24th November 2000 at 00:00
Monday The telephone rings at 6.45am. Can I cover a Year 3 class as the teacher is ill? When I arrive, a member of staff asks me if I am the Year 12 student from the local secondary school starting work experience. She apologises and asks me my recipe for looking so young. Another teacher says: "It's because she is a supply teacher. She doesn't have the stress that full-time teachers do."

Tuesday One of the teachers asks me if I can take the three Year 3 classes for PE in the hall. She comes back two minutes later: she's forgotten that the school photographer will be using the hall. Could I take the children outside? At playtime, I go to make a cup of tea, only to find the last tea bag has been taken. I make a cup of coffee instead but cannot find the sugar. A classroom assistant says there isn't any as all the staff are on diets.

Wednesday I recently applied for two jobs and it's been 10 days since the closing date for both. Will I receive a reply, or will my stamped addressed envelope end up in the ether? I have a glimmer of hope today: an interview a 11am. It lasts six minutes and I'm not asked whether I have any questions. A phone call in the afternoon tells me I've missed out. Never mind. I send for details for some more posts to add to the 138 that I've already applied for.

Thursday I'm invited to do supply at a new school. A sign greets me: "This is are classroom." The note left for me contains several spelling mistakes. I am asked to do my own thing, so I decide to concentrate on literacy and spelling. My numeracy lesson after playtime is interrupted by fire drill. We're the last class to arrive at the assembly point in the playground - the children take me the long way round, knowing I'm unfamiliar with the school.

Friday Back to Monday's school. Literacy and numeracy in the morning and history this afternoon. The children do some research on changes during the past century. A child asks: "Were you alive at the beginning of the 20th century, Miss?" Is his concept of time faulty or have I aged this past week?

Alex Young is a supply teacher in Devon. She writes under a pseudonym

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