7.30am, the phone rings, do you:
- Answer within 2 rings, you’ve been up washed, suited and booted with a bag packed since 7 anyway?
- Stick your hand out of a nice, warm bed, grunt a greeting, then run around like a headless chicken getting yourself sorted?
- Put the pillow over your head and pretend the phone isn’t ringing, then feel guilty for the whole day … should you have picked it up?
- You unplugged the phone last night, so you know it won't ring?
- You made the decision not to take early morning calls, so you have nothing to worry about?
As a supply teacher, you are a business, you may have an outside agency that markets you, or you might be doing that yourself, but whether or not to take early morning calls is a business decision that you must make.
Early in my supply career, I decided that I wasn’t going to take early calls, I have a young son and a partner who works away from home, so that 7.30 call meant having to find someone to do the school runs and getting 2 people sorted. I let all my schools know that I couldn’t take early calls and they all respected that decision. Very occasionally, a school does call to ask if I could possibly go in … if I say ‘no’, they aren’t surprised, and if I say ‘yes’, they know I’m doing them a big favour and my stock rises a few points. Either way, this is a win-win situation for me and I don’t have to feel guilty about turning people down.
If you do decide to take early calls you MUST be ORGANISED, follow these tips to make the process as painless as possible:
- Let your agencies and schools know that you will take early calls (either every day, or on certain days.)
- Put your clothes out ready the night before.
- Make a packed lunch the night before, or have things that you can grab easily if a call comes.
- Have a bag packed with all your supply resources (see the article “What’s In Your Supply Bag?”)
- Have a GPS or a good street atlas, so you can find your way.
- Have a pad and pen by the phone to take down details of the school and your day.
- Get up early and be washed, suited, booted and ready to go.
- Set a time after which you’re not going to stay rooted to the spot, waiting for a call. Once that time comes, change out of your working clothes and enjoy a free day.
In the final analysis, the early morning call question is a simple yes/no one and as long as you make the decision, let every one know what it is and be consistent about your response to requests you’ll never have to feel guilty about a lie-in again!!!!
Article submitted by Sarah Cruickshank, Education Writer and Supply Teacher.