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Travelling to Work - A Supply Teacher's Advice

Amy's regular ProtoBlog documents her experiences supply teaching in South London Primary schools and Nurseries through Protocol Education. Today she reflects on the issue of travel - and shares what she has learned about making the morning journey as stress-free as possible!

Starting out.

Although not the most exciting topic, travel becomes a big issue when you are supply teaching.

Firstly you have to tell your agency where you are willing to travel which is quite difficult if you do not know an area well and/or are new to the country. There are a lot of things to consider when you initially say what areas you are willing to travel to:

* it might be near as the crow flies but may have dreadful public transport links

* it might have great public transport links, only three train stops, then you realise it only has one train an hour - less great!

* an area may be on your doorstep but be notorious for challenging schools

* you might well be asked to give a radius of where you are willing to work!

Real benefits

The fabulous thing about supply teaching and working for a local agency is that you are often likely to have a much shorter commute than the average Londoner. I sometimes work at a school 2 minutes from my doorstep! And nine times out of ten have no travel costs.

I have discovered the hard way that it is almost always better to try and keep things simple and walk as much of the journey as possible. When you live in a sprawling area of London such as Wimbledon, many schools are much nearer than you think. Using an app on your I phone or a good old fashioned map and putting your trainers on is better for so many reasons:

* it keeps you fit

* no chance of getting a bus going the wrong direction/missing your stop

* you get a precious 20 minutes - 40 minutes of time to yourself! The buses early in the morning tend to be full of kids which is the last thing you want when spending the day with 30 of the gorgeous things!

* as great as it is to offset the tax on your travel having no travel costs at all is much better.

Leave the car at home

After learning the hard way, my golden rule is...don't drive! (Or if you do CHECK with the agency or school before you do)

It has almost never worked out well for me to drive. I've been turned away from a car park because I am a supply teacher and forced to top up my meter all day. Even worse, one day I naively assumed that an outer London school in the leafy suburbs would have ample parking and in fact it turned out there was no car park at all even for the fully employed members of staff. It turned into a very stressful day where I went from arriving in plenty of time to bordering on being late. What was worse was a £100 fine made doing the day's work almost pointless!

Confidence building

Supply teaching can test your organisation skills, sense of direction and local area knowledge, but your confidence about going to unknown areas and finding out how to get there really does increase the more you do it. If anything, it's handy to know your way round your local area so well. I recently went to a school in an unknown area very near me and consequently found a lovely little high street with sweet cafes and shops and couldn't believe I had never discovered it before!

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Tags: Amy, ProtoBlog, Travel, Supply Teacher, Teach in London, Primary Teacher, Public Transport, Protocol Education

Category: Australian Teachers

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