Supply teaching tips

Being a supply teacher is a rewarding job however the expectations are high, as is the competition. So to keep yourself in work and to be the one that the school calls for their next booking. Here are some supply teaching tips:

Smile – it’s free

An easy way to stand out is to smile. Headteachers, notice and say they like the fact that some supply teachers smile and look like they are enjoying being in their school teaching their children.

Be Positive

Headteachers and their dedicated team do not like to hear from their supply teacher that it is a tough and over challenging school. They like to hear positive comments from their supply teacher and if you have not got anything positive to say then do not say anything.

Arriving in good time

Supply teachers who are late will not be asked back. A surprisingly high number of teachers set off without an A-Z or clear directions of where they’re going. Before they know it they are arriving as the children are just going into the class. Being early gives you the opportunity to find out how the school operates and what you need to know about your class.

Volunteer for playground duty

Check whether it’s appropriate first, as some schools have a rota of teachers. It’s an especially good way of getting known and is popular at primary schools where children readily tell parents and teachers about the nice new supply teacher. If you have a free period, don’t leave the school premises but ask if there’s anything you can do: it’ll go down well.

Mark the work

A cardinal sin is not marking the work. If you are unsure just ask.

Leave a note

It’s a really small thing but can make a big difference to the returning teacher, who may find the break in continuity unsettling. Leave a note at the end of the day. Detailing the work done. Where you are up to in set work. Any incidents. Whether books were marked, and if so, where they’ve been put. For secondary school teachers, this will mean more notes, one at the end of each lesson. Even a brief sign-off saying either that a lesson went smoothly or naming the miscreant pupil(s), is useful information to a returning teacher.
Do not rush off .Yes the children may be keen to get their coats on and to get out, but it is a cardinal sin for the supply teacher to be practically following behind them.

Say goodbye

Thank whoever’s been looking out for you during the day. Some larger schools have a dedicated supply supervisor who does this, or it may be a parallel classroom teacher who sits next door and is on hand for your queries. If you’ve had a good day, tell them – schools enjoy getting positive feedback, too – and say you’d love to go back.

Do not forget you are always being observed for future long and short term bookings. First and lasting impressions count, so be the one that the school asks back.

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COVID-19 update: Here’s the link to Gov updates for schools on Covid 19.