One of the difficulties for supply teachers is going into a new school and facing the unknown. Getting to know the staff and the students becomes an important part of the supply day, but most importantly is identifying those students who need more help than others.
When asking for information for your day, make sure you ask for the class lists – the more detailed the better. What you’re looking for are any students with Special Education Needs or Disabilities (SEND) which may affect their access to learning.
Also, make sure you’re aware who the Learning Support Assistant (LSA) is for the lesson, and utilise them as much as possible. Prior to the start of the lesson, you have the perfect opportunity to have a quick two minute catch up, to see what would suit the student(s) best, and how you can make sure you fully include and motivate them during your time in the classroom.
There are a few things you must be aware of whilst on supply, the first of which is the differentiated work left for those students with SEND. Have you been left with enough lesson plans for both yourself and the LSA? Is there a particular strategy which works best for the SEND students in your classroom, for example using the child’s name as you address them, so they are fully aware they are being spoken to?
Make sure you are aware who the main contact is for the SEN department. This could be the SENCo or Deputy SENCo, who may even have an ‘on-call’ system in place for their students. These contacts are invaluable, they will offer you all the support you need for any SEND students, and will answer any questions you have.
Lastly, be aware that often in the class there are students who are not on the SEN register who may require the same amount of help as those who are. This may not be as obvious, so ask the LSA if there are students you should be aware of throughout the lesson. Don’t forget, physical disabilities aren’t always apparent, e.g. poor hearing, so make sure equal opportunities are always considered whilst in the classroom.