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How OneStep CPD Helps Me as a Supply Teacher

27 Jun 2019
Why did I become a supply teacher?
I used to teach in one school for twelve years and due to a relocation to a different part of the country, I decided to work as a supply teacher. I’ve now been a supply teacher for four years, and throughout these four years I’ve seen some real benefits to supply teaching – for example, there’s no report writing, no staff meetings, and usually not much planning involved. On the flip side, however, one major challenge has been that the worry that I may lose skills as a teacher. No staff meetings sound great, but it also means no training, no staff briefings on the latest developments in education, and an empty box in a CV which asks for details of professional training.

A lack of professional development... 
I’ve become more aware that, as a supply teacher, I am responsible for my own professional development. Some supply agencies provide training, but this can be sporadic and not always relevant to your specific needs. I wasn’t sure how to go about developing my own CPD – and this is where OneStep CPD became invaluable to me.
 
A solution?
I had heard about OneStep CPD through a call for teacher testers in October 2018 to test their approach to CPD. I decided to apply as I wanted to tackle the lack of professional development head-on. 

The OneStep process works by choosing one CPD strategy which relates to a skill you personally want to develop (OneStep have over 150 strategies so there’s something for everyone). You then fill out a plan of how you are going to implement the strategy for 6 weeks, into classroom time – this part was a major bonus for me, as I could practice the CPD during class time rather than in my own spare time or after school.
 
I decided that I wanted to work on developing my behaviour management (I bet I’m not alone in this!) and so I chose the ‘Positive Behaviour for Learning’ category of strategies. In this category, there are 13 strategies on different topics which all work towards behaviour management –  for each strategy there is pedagogy to explain the ‘concept’ behind that particular behaviour management, and there are lots of different techniques to help you apply them. Reading through a summary of each one led me to choose to implement the ‘Calm and Consistent’ strategy. I decided to implement the strategy by settling on 5 things I would do each lesson- these were: learning pupils names quickly, outlining consequences clearly, speaking calmly at all times, rewarding behaviour as much as possible, and dealing with each pupil in the same way. At the end of each week, I filled in a quick 5-minute evaluation of the different ways I had implemented the strategy that week and how I thought it had gone – was it successful or not.

Onwards and upwards!
After the six weeks were over, I filled in an overall evaluation of the strategy and its impact. I then submitted this onto my area of the OneStep website, and within 5 days the OneStep team had created my evaluation into a Case Study of my experience with the strategy. I gave the strategy a 4 out of 5 -star rating, as I felt it greatly improved my behaviour management skills since I completed the six weeks. My aim is to now try out other strategies for other skills that I want to develop, and build up a portfolio of CPD – which will help me towards my goal of getting a permanent job in a school.

Bethan Drew has been a teacher for over 15 years. In her spare time she enjoys playing the piano and loves leading a choir and orchestra at school.

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