Lena Gowing - Cover Supervisor

Name: Lena Gowing

Job role: Cover Supervisor

School: Goss Academy Chestnut Secondary School

Bio: 5 GCE O Levels,  3 A levels Degree Art History (studied whilst being a cover supervisor). As an adult at I completed a degree with the Open University.

I have been a cover supervisor for 12 years.

Prior to working in the school I used to help out in primary as a volunteer.

I have taught Karate, Art and Design and love having the opportunity to work in a school. I enjoy lesson planning and imparting my knowledge and enthusiasm for art and design to students. I can work in mixed ability classes and I am sensitive to ensuring that all students at all levels are able to maximise their potential.

To be a cover supervisor you need to have an open mind, be consistent and avoid making misconceptions. You have to be fair and open with the students and have confidence, be quick on your feet, be creative and have the ability to multi task. The ability to be able to positively interact is essential as is the willingness to learn.

I particularly enjoy the diversity of the lessons and the students. The repetitive nature of lesson plans as defined by the national curriculum is a challenge as is the red tape you have to navigate.

I have received in house training at the school with attention given on how to differentiate in a mixed ability classroom: How to set work and how to mark work; How to use computers; How to deal with difficult pupils; How to provide cover; How to deal the SEN LDD pupils.

The school is a trail blazer in that it was one of the first to use cover supervisors and because of the vast experience gained in this area. The school provides training for other school cover supervisors. The trade union training for stewards, dealing with bullying and harassment have also been useful and I am now considering becoming a trade union learning rep. This is mainly due to the positive learning experience and I would like to help other members progress through the opportunities presented in working in a school and to maximise their potential.