The Cover Teacher’s Planner by Gareth Tanswell is a useful tool for secondary supply teachers. Back in the day when I was doing regular supply work it would have been handy to have a copy and keep all my administration in one easily accessible place. The planner starts with a comprehensive section for your personal details, before having pages dedicated to agency details (very handy for those who are with multiple agencies). I like the space it gives for you to note down the schools details where you have been sent, from school hours to behaviour management details and even a space to note where to get yourself a cup of tea at break time!
Each day in the academic year is set out on an A4 page and broken down into seven sessions, with space to write a few brief notes about the objectives of each lesson, student achievements and behaviour. As the planner is ring bound, you could sign and photocopy each day before leaving the school as feedback to the classroom teacher – great for keeping notes to refer back to if you return to the same class on another occasion and providing accountability of yourself to the school, which can only help to increase professionalism. Weekends are covered too, so any private tuition or other work commitments can be recorded.
Rather than a standard planner’s pages for marks and grades, this one has a couple of really useful proformas at the back. I particularly liked the space for incident reports so even if the school hasn’t supplied their own version you can leave detailed notes, and once again easy to photocopy. Mileage and expenses are also given space.
One the whole I think this is a well thought out planner, though there are some points I would change. Firstly, the sheer weight of it – I think it is excessive that even the 25th December has a full page to fill up with seven lessons! Also I can’t imagine when I would ever have used the lesson plan proformas, should you be asked to produce a lesson plan you would either have access to the school’s own layout or would adapt a personalised one for your own benefit. Finally, despite only having flicked through the planner a few times, the paper covers are already beginning to come off – a hard back cover would be far more durable, especially as this planner is design to be carried everywhere and used on a daily basis. Overall though, a useful piece of kit to add to the supply bag.
A. Barrett. experienced secondary supply teacher.