So, the phone rings, or your diary tells you that you should be in Nice Primary School, you pick up your bag and head for the door, but what does that bag contain?
There are generally 2 schools of thought on this question, either a huge bag/a box in the boot of your car, or 2 pens in your pocket. We’ll consider both here and leave you to decide on the best way for you.
New to supply? You might want to reconsider taking the kitchen sink with you.
The first school of thought says, ‘you should be prepared for every eventuality and carry everything you need’. In this scenario, you carry files for all the subjects or key stages you teach, containing stand-alone lessons and time-fillers you have collected over the years from past classes, books and websites.
You also carry pens, pencils, rubbers, rulers, paper (lined and plain); P.E. kit; whistle; red, blue, black and green biros; reward stickers; glue; blue tak; board pens; whiteboards; a data stick containing interactive whiteboard presentations; a street atlas; water …
The second school of thought is a couple of pens, your phone, a diary and your lunch.
I freely admit I once belonged to the first school. I would lug a huge bag around on public transport and hardly ever opened it. It contained all of the above and more and – at most – I would use my whistle and pens.
After 4 terms of lugging the thing around, I decided to try School of Thought number 2. I now have an A5 wallet in which I carry a Morning Sheet to collect all those vital bits of information when I get to a new school, a Handover Sheet for the end of the day; blue, black, red and green biros; a whistle; reward stickers and certificates, and my “Mrs C says Well Done!” stamp for marking.
I carry some time-filler ideas round in my head, my favourite being to take the name of the school or a famous name and challenge the children to make as many words as they can using the letters. Handwriting and silent reading also serve.
Obviously, if a school tells me no planning will be left, I have stand alone lessons I can take, and if they don’t until I get there, I set a time filler and scour the classroom for lessons I can do.
The first time I left the giant bag behind I admit I was nervous, but I haven’t missed it yet. I’m not saying the minimalist approach is for everyone, but give it a try one day and see if it works for you!