Relief Teaching Tip – The Teacher HAS left a program.

Relief Teaching Tip

Relief Teaching Tip

I am often asked for a relief teaching tip on how to use the program left by the classroom teacher.

Most teachers see relief teaching as fillers - not always in a bad way.

Relief teacher fill an important space in the system.​

Most teachers HATE preparing work programs for relief teachers. Some teachers would rather come to work than prepare a day's program for some one else. 

So here is a relief teaching tip you should know. Teachers often prepare time fillers of questionable educational value.​

If I was a class teacher I wouldn't leave my best lessons for someone else to teach either.

So what do you do if the teacher leaves you a program and it is AWFUL?

Relief Teaching Tip 1

Some schools have a policy that teachers are expected to leave work for relief teachers. I have never had such a policy in my schools. I know teachers HATE it and it is totally understandable.

The Awful Program

If I was a classroom teacher, I would hate preparing work for a relief teacher.

You need to make the call whether the work left is important work, and how to incorporate that work into YOUR plan.

My experience is that problems occur during long bouts of time fillers. Kids tend to get restless and it is often hard for most relief teachers to bring them back to task.

Relief Teaching Tip 2

I am guessing you would be able to determine if the work is purposeful or not.

Kids are pretty astute these days and can smell a time filler from 100 metres. If you arrive and there is a daily program left by the teacher, scan it for purposeful work.

Scan the Program

When scanning the work look for the following.

  • I would consider assignments set for student completion as important. Obviously, if there is some work that the kids needs to complete by a certain time and the teacher wants that finished, then that is important. Make sure that it is essential to complete and not just used as a filler on the timetable. I usually ask the kids, "Hands up if you are NOT certain about what you have to do?" If there is any hand up, I get one of the kids with their hands down to explain it. If they can explain it to your satisfaction then include that in your program. If there is any doubt, leave it out and explain to the class that they can catch up on the work when the teacher returns.
  • Discard any time filler that looks like a time filler. This includes sheet work or pages in exercise books. In all my relief teaching gigs, I have had the most problems with text books. They are the most misused resource. I do however use the textbook or exercise book as teaching prompt. I conduct a lesson, teach the skills, ensuring the kids have an adequate understanding. The text-book then becomes a resource rather than a time filler.
relief teaching tip

Relief Teaching Tip 3

Specialist timetables must be followed to the letter. If a class has a specialist lesson, my relief teaching tip is to ensure you keep it.

As a relief teacher, you may be asked to cover another class rather than accept a non-teaching time.​

Keep the Specialist Time

There is no option here. You must allpw students to go to specialist lesson.

In bigger schools the specialist teacher timetable is a vital curriculum link..

If there is any follow up as a result of the specialist lesson, then that should be important too.

At the end of the day, it is up to you as the relief teaching professional at the chalk face to make the professional decisions.

And the most professional relief teaching tip is, which ever way you go, you should always leave a detail of your day plan for the teacher with some feedback notes for the classroom teacher.

The format does not need to be complicated. Simply photocopy your day plan and include annotated notes would suffice. 

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