Becoming a Supply Teacher

12 Tips for Becoming a Supply Teacher

If you’re looking for more flexibility in your role, then becoming a supply teacher could be the solution. Or maybe your training has finished and now you’re ready to have your own classroom. Except you’ve not managed to get a job or, and it happens, you don’t quite feel ready to commit to a full time teaching role.   Becoming a supply teacher is a great way to take more control over your career. With extra flexibility and a wider variety of teaching settings, it’s an option both experienced, newly qualified and unqualified teachers are choosing.  Supply teaching can be great. You can learn a lot and get a lot of practical experience. Teaching is one of the most rewarding and challenging careers around. However, there comes a time in life where working full time becomes either impossible or unfavourable for all sorts of reasons. This is why becoming a supply teacher is a great option to avoid getting burnt out. It is fantastic for anyone who wants a genuinely better work-life balance and for teaching mums and dads it is ideal.

However, you need to be prepared and you need the right attitude towards it. If you think of supply as second best because you couldn’t get a permanent job then you’ll probably hate the experience and have a miserable time.   When becoming a supply teacher, use the experience and have fun.  Supply teaching is the perfect way to balance time in the classroom with your own extra-curricular pursuits. With added flexibility and the chance to experience a variety of schools, becoming a supply teacher could revitalise your career.   Supply teaching is a great way for teachers to readdress that work-life balance. Or for those new to the industry it’s a way to dip your toe in before committing to a permanent position.   If you can forgo the regular salary and the routine, there are loads of great reasons to become a supply teacher. Click here to our advantages of supply teaching.

becoming a supply teacher ideas

1.  Find an agency.

Recommendations are probably the best place to start. Receiving a recommendation from an experienced supply teacher is a good way of ascertaining the best agency to work for.  Many agencies take a large percentage of the daily fee.  Kent Supply Teachers ethical approach means we take a minimal fee to cover our admin costs.  Don’t feel the necessity to register with lots of agencies; just choose two or three.  This won’t help you find more work and it can become really complicated trying to keep them all informed of your availability.

2. Ask the agency what schools they work with.

When becoming a supply teacher, this will enable you to see whether the teaching agency is suitable for your requirements.   Kent Supply Teachers work with a range of primary and secondary schools in Kent and Medway.

3. Use smaller, more specialised recruiters.

These supply teacher recruiters will provide you with a more personalised experience.  You will probably be kept busier by an agency with not enough teachers than one with too many.

4. Attend an interview

Ensure you ask, at interview, about the personal service you will experience. At Kent Supply Teachers, the person who interviews you will become your day to day contact and speak with you to discuss the placement options available to you. We’ll help you with bus or train times, routes to the placement and inform you fully on what to expect when you get there.   Make sure you ask at the interview the typical rates of pay you will receive. A supply teacher’s pay affects the amount charged to schools. More and more schools are struggling financially and are choosing to pay less for supply teachers, using cover supervisors where possible to keep costs down. Agencies paying the most will not necessarily be able to secure the most work. Kent Supply Teachers carefully manage professional rates of pay and competitive charge rates giving you the best of both worlds.

5. Be prepared

Have items you will need each day ready.  You may be given last minute assignments and need to be able to leave quickly and get to the school earlier.

 –        Professional, cleaned and ironed clothes (this will encourage respect from pupils and help make a good first impression with the school)

–        Your recent DBS Disclosure

–        Photographic ID such as your passport or driving licence

–        Directions and a map or a Sat Nav (try Google Maps)

–        Pens and pencils should your pupils have forgotten theirs

6. Design and prepare some backup ideas.

Plan activities to keep the students occupied in case you are waiting for some cover work.  If you are a subject specialist these may be relevant to your subject.  Sometimes schools will have plans they want you to use, sometimes they don’t. It’s always a good idea to take work with you, even if the agencies tell you that the work has been left. I used the plans from my placements and then modified them for other year groups.   Speaking of year groups – you could tell the agencies which years you’re prepared to work with but, again, the more flexible you are the more work you are likely to get.  Have a few, highly adaptable lessons up your sleeve if you need them, but generally stick with the work already set.

7. Communicate.

If you have not received a booking prior to the morning, call your teaching agency first thing and inform them you are up, ready and available for work. In the morning your consultant will contact people they know can get to the school with minimum fuss.

8.  Arrive on time.

If you are given a booking in advance try to get to the school in plenty time. Schools will panic if you are running late and it does not create a good first impression. Equally, as a supply teacher you will benefit from having enough time to settle yourself, ask any questions in regards to your day and familiarise yourself with the discipline procedure before facing your first class. 8:15 is the optimum time to arrive at an assignment, although for last minute booking this won’t always be possible.

9. Feedback to the School.

If you go to a school you like, let the school know you are available for other assignments. You may find that you are requested by name in the future.

10. Be flexible.

The more flexible you are the more opportunities you are likely to receive.

11. Keep updated.

While you should never use your mobile phone in class or in front of you pupils, do check your phone during breaks for texts and voicemails from your teaching agency, which may have details of further assignments.

12. Be speedy in the morning.

If you can be seen as a person who can leave and get to schools with minimal fuss, the agency will automatically see you as an obvious choice for bookings.


Kent Supply Teachers Survival Kit

Contact Kent Supply Teachers for on  an informal chat today and to discuss any of the above on 07875 563240