For Carlton Public School in Sydney’s southern suburbs, it was a chance encounter by a former principal that resulted in the school becoming one of the very first users of ClassCover. Ten years later, we sat down with current Deputy Principal, Jenny Morrison to find out more.
ClassCover: Hi Jenny. You were the sixth school ever to use ClassCover! Can you tell us how it happened?
Jenny Morrison: Back in 2011 our then Principal attended a St George’s Primary principal’s meeting which ClassCover were sponsoring. It didn’t take him long to realise what a time saver the platform would be for us, so we signed up and the rest is history.
CC: What was the process of finding and booking casual teachers like before ClassCover?
JM: I’ve been at Carlton for 11 years now, having previously worked as a relief teacher myself. We’re a school of 777 children and around 85 staff, so very rarely does a day go by that I don’t use ClassCover to fill a class or a whole day. If I don’t have two or three casuals on the books, it’s a very strange day. Thinking back on the time before ClassCover, I don’t know how we managed to stay on top of everything.
CC: So you’ve experienced both sides as a relief teacher and the one booking relief teachers?
JM: The thing I remember most about being a casual teacher is the relentless phone calls. Some days my phone would be ringing all morning from schools looking to book me. Your phone just rang and rang and rang and you would just have to say, ‘I’m already booked’.
As a deputy now, I really appreciate being able to keep track of the teachers on our list. It saves us from unnecessarily reaching out to teachers who are already booked elsewhere or may even be already booked to work at our school.
CC: What else can you tell us about the ways you use the app?
JM: We use ClassCover in a lot of different ways. Obviously booking casuals day-to-day is something that it’s really useful for. Everyone at the school knows that I get up early to go to the gym, so I’ll start getting calls at 5:30-6 in the morning from teachers when they need the day off. When we have to book multiple casuals every day, it’s a huge time saver for us being able to send out a message blast to all those people that want to work rather than having to make thirty individual calls.
CC: Do you have a favourite feature?
JM: Being in the south of Sydney, we have a really multi-cultural bunch of students. Something we are really proud of is our Community Languages Program. Through the program we offer our students the opportunity to learn languages like Macedonian, Chinese, Arabic, Greek or Indonesian. Because of this, I find the filters really useful when I need to find a teacher with specific language skills.
I’m also a fan of the new updates that have been made to the calendar. When I’m looking for someone to cover a block of days, it’s really helpful to be able to look ahead and see which teachers on our list have good availability for the month.
CC: As you know ClassCover is celebrating our 10-year anniversary. What changes have you noticed in education over the past decade?
JM: One of the biggest things is the amount of training and certifications that are required to be able to teach. In NSW the integration between ClassCover and the DOE is great because we can make sure all casuals are fully certified at a glance.
Of course, COVID has been another massive change for education. With at-home learning during Sydney’s lockdown, we have some kids that have done no work in term 3 and some kids who are up to date. For this reason, the divide between kids that are on track and those that aren’t has grown even wider.