For weeks, I’ve been on the supply list for my region, but I’ve been turning down the requests I’ve had at 6:30 in the morning. Often, I’ve turned the work down because I am busy and don’t have time, but other times, I’ve just been plain scared!

I think I was a good primary teacher. My students were always well-behaved, I cared for each and every one of them and battled on their behalf always, and I had high expectations for their achievement. I tried to be a good role model, always kept my promises, and followed through with the consequences when necessary. I believe I was consistent and thorough. I understood the content I was teaching, developed engaging and appropriate learning activities, ensured that assessment was appropriate and of high quality (when I had a choice), and was willing to try new techniques and strategies.

These are the qualities of a good classroom teacher. But isn’t it different when you’re in someone else’s classroom?

Today I was lucky. I was in a classroom in a good school. In fact, it’s the school I last taught at, so I knew all the rules, the policy, processes and expectations. I even knew the administrative staff. Even luckier, I was in the classroom of a teacher who I have always admired as an effective and caring educator. She left plans for the day that were straightforward; mainly revision activities. I had students who were the younger brothers and sisters of students I used to teach! So I think I had an easy day.

I have always thought that if I had to do relief, I wanted to be a relief teacher kind of like the girls in the Baby-sitters Club, turning up with a box of tricks and a winning smile. *My* box of tricks would probably be full of science inquiries, technology projects, maths puzzles and poetry and art activities. Maybe if I develop some I’ll put them on the blog.

But at the same time… what if I weren’t at my old school? What if I didn’t know the rules, the requirements, the expectations? If I didn’t know the playground duty areas, the tuckshop system, the other teachers? What if my behaviour management isn’t as strong with a group of students who don’t recognise my (infamous?) name?

Any advice, for when I’m one day in this situation? Any advice for a relief teacher, in general?

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