The challenge of the cover teacher is to establish a safe, positive learning environment as quickly as possible where boundaries and expectations are made clear, and students feel confident in you and the situation they find themselves in. For some students the smallest changes during the day can set off adverse reactions in the classroom, and the sight of seeing someone who isn’t their class teacher is enough to trigger this reaction. Others will see the chance of their subject teacher’s absence as an opportunity to have some fun with this new teacher – to see how quickly they can find the cover teacher’s emotional buttons, press them, sit back and enjoy the spectacle as yet another cover teacher hurtles into orbit.
To combat all of the above the skilled cover teacher recognises that the fundamental basis of good behaviour management is to establish positive relationships with the students as quickly as possible – no mean feat if you are meeting class for the first time and you only have 50 minutes to not only establish these positive relationships but to encourage the class to get on with the learning that needs to take place.
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