Supply Teachers play a crucial role in every school, covering for teachers who are ill, absent or on training courses. Whilst the role of a supply teacher is hard work it can be a very rewarding and satisfying teaching job. Many teachers are leaving permanent jobs to do supply teaching as a flexible alterntive. On top of this, teachers with extra responsibilities in schools are finding that supply teaching gives them a chance to concentrate on what they love - teaching!
Make sure you take care over the education recruitment agency you choose to work with. They must be credible, have enough teaching jobs to keep you busy and should offer teacher training so you can continually develop your skills.
Being a supply teacher enables you to actually enjoy teaching without having to do the excessive burden of paperwork and administration involved with the profession. Your workload and responsibilities are reduced so you get more flexible hours and you can concentrate on what matters, planning and preparing lessons effectively and teaching the pupils with as much passion as possible.
Switching to supply teaching can also be a great way to avoid burn out and give you the opportunity to decide if teaching is still the career for you. If you later decide to return to a permanent contract you’ll have teaching experience from a wide range of schools, this is attractive to prospective schools and colleges. Some teachers that are looking to retire use supply teaching as a way to slow down with the benefit of work-life balance and part-time flexible hours.
All schools get staff shortages and the number of pupils that need teaching are rising. There will always be a requirement for supply teachers. Whether you are looking for day to day supply teaching or want a longer term contract before taking on a permanent work there is plenty of teaching opportunities available for you.
Schools that have pupils with challenging and energetic behaviour tend to use more supply teachers, so naturally you will need to have the skills to teach in a challenging and sometimes stressful school environment. These skills will develop over time for less experienced teachers and your consultant will work with you to ensure that you are placed in to schools that suit your teaching style and skills.
There are some key issues that supply teachers encounter when teaching in a new school for the first time:
A lack of knowledge of the school’s behaviour policy, making it difficult to discipline pupils
Limited information on pupils that you will be teaching
Unable to follow up any work that you have set
Some teachers struggle to pick up on ‘staffroom politics’ and the ‘way things are done’
It is really important that supply teachers work for a supply teaching agency that offers teacher training so that you can overcome any difficulties that you have. When working as a supply teacher the benefits clearly way out the negatives. Once you know what difficulties can arise you can over come them with the help and support from your consultant.
The most important thing to do is communicate with people. Find out what the behaviour policies are, the more information about the pupils you will be teaching with the better. Also become friendly with some permanent staff who can show you the ropes around the school. Its all about being personable so that you can get the support you need.