Michael Dunn is an Australian trained primary teacher who left Brisbane life for London town. Here is an honest rendition from Michael on what it’s like teaching 10,262 miles from home.

Asking the right questions

Never assume. Asking questions along the way will not only benefit you, but in turn help the school if you have the information you need.

Starting the day by asking where to get your timesheet signed probably won’t get you off on the best foot. Consider asking these questions…

Supply Teaching Roles

  • What is the marking policy? Do they highlight parts of the Learning Outcomes? Do they have codes used for marking? What colours do they use?
  • What is the behaviour system? Some schools have standard traffic lights, whereas others may have modified traffic lights with a positive side of bronze, silver and gold. Know what to do if a student is not following instructions; what the next step is, if you need to use it.
  • What are the break times, and end of day routines? Do they get dismissed from the class? Do they get walked out to the quad?
  • Where are the fire exits and what is the evacuation procedure? In the event of an emergency, you don’t want to look like Kindergarten Cop with kids running from the building in all directions.

Long Term Roles

  • Do they track student progress? If so, how, and who does this? (Is it just the class teacher? is it a senior? What’s involved?)
  • How far away is Ofsted and what was their last Ofsted report like? Read the recommendations because often they will be trying to target these internally. Remember to keep an open mind when reading the report and judge accordingly.
  • Are they making a point of advertising Ofsted? If they are, usually there is some pressure to maintain or improve the levels even further.
  • Do they have NQT time for new grads? What are their requirements?
  • What provisions do they have for non-contact time (PPA time)? Who covers this? Is there limits on missed PPA time? Are you required to cover others internally?
  • Are there afterschool clubs and groups for teachers to run?
  • What are the expectations of meetings?

Stay tuned for Part Three, in which Michael will talk about managing the teaching workload and maintaining a positive outlook.

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