Life as a supply teacher

The life of a supply teacher

You may have a number of reasons for looking to be a supply teacher. Perhaps you’re a newly qualified teacher and you’re looking for more experience in the classroom before finding a permanent job or the stresses of a permanent full-time teaching post is taking its toll; maybe you’re looking for a break from teaching but would still like to stay involved.

Whatever position you hold or at whatever stage of your career you are, working in supply can be a beneficial step. If you’ve never done it before, here’s what you can expect.

The first day of supply teaching

“What is the first day of supply teaching like?” That’s a question that we get asked often by our candidates. It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit nervous particularly if you don’t have a lot of teaching experience. There are many things to consider, where is the school and how do I get there? What will the children be like? Are the staff going to be accepting of me?

The first bit of advice we can give about supply teaching is to be prepared. Not in the ‘prepare for the worst and hope for the best sense’. Be prepared by understanding where you’re going, what time you have to be there, have your bag ready the night before. Gather as much information as possible from your consultant about the school, who you will be reporting to and what your expectations are.

By arriving at the school early you will be able to prepare for the day and familiarise yourself with the classroom and staff. This can help calm any nerves and help you to stick to the schedule provided by the class teacher.

Advice for supply teaching

As scary as it might be to enter a classroom for the first time as supply staff, it can also be very exciting. You’re not alone if you’re feeling a little apprehensive, most of the candidates we place into supply feel exactly the same way.

Another solid piece of advice is to always carry a backup lesson. In some cases, a teacher may not have had time to prepare a lesson plan for you. By bringing your own along you can keep the students busy and manage behaviour more effectively. It also allows you to to be flexible in your approach.

Behaviour management is indeed a major concern that many candidates ask us about. There is an assumption that students are more likely to misbehave with a supply teacher than their normal teachers. Whilst in some cases, this does occur, it is not the norm. Most of our candidates have excellent experiences with supply and enjoy returning to the schools when the opportunity arises.

What are the challenges in supply teaching?

So far, the supply teaching experience looks glowingly positive, right? That’s because, for the most part, it really can be a rewarding experience. However, at Connex, we’re honest and we also want to give you a realistic view of some of the challenges within supply.

From fitting in with the ethos of the school to having to leave the school after building such a good relationship with the pupils and staff. These are all challenging aspects of supply teaching. Agencies can vary massively and it’s important to find an experienced and supportive agency, it’s your career after all and it’s important that it’s looked after.

Choosing the right teaching agency

Working as a supply teaching can be extremely rewarding and quite nerve-racking. Having the support of a good agency is integral.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this update and that it’s been helpful in make a decision on supply teaching. For an informal chat about your next step, email us today or visit our contact page to find your closest Connex Education office.

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