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Advice from an Experienced Supply Teacher

Jo is a Canadian teacher from Ontario who is working as a Supply Teacher through Protocol Education in schools in Bristol. Today she reveals what her two years have taught her!

Thanks to Protocol Education, I’ve been happily supply teaching here in Bristol for two years at the end of September.  It hasn’t always been easy or the most fun thing in the world, but as any supply teacher will tell you – it's worth it.

So, what have I learned after supplying for so long?

  •  If you’re from another country, embrace it and celebrate it (see my Using your “Foreign-ness blog). Your students are naturally curious about the stranger in the room and they’ll love hearing about where you’re from!
  • Have a time-killer.  I swear nothing gets cancelled more often than an assembly and regular teachers rarely leave something in case the assembly doesn’t happen. You’re going to have 30 pairs of eyes looking at you for something to do and you’ve got 5 minutes most before the classroom becomes a zoo. Be prepared.
  • Ladies (and some gentlemen) if you have long hair tie it up! Not only will it keep your hair out of the photocopier and art projects, it will help protect you from the primary school classroom pet: head lice! Trust me on this one, I’ve got long hair and thanks to keeping it all tied back and up I’ve never had trouble (knock on wood!)
  • Know something about an artist.  I can't count how many times have the plans I’ve been left read “art” and nothing else.  Knowing the basics about an artist and how to replicate their work can be a lifesaver. Try and pick something that is bright and colourful and needs minimal resources!
  • If you take public transit like I do, take it from me and always get the day pass. I’ve been cancelled or re-arranged on my way to work lots of times. That means going back home until the afternoon or changing directions mid-trip. If you’ve got the day pass you can avoid paying for transit twice and you can usually go in pretty much any direction you need to.
  • Know your games: classroom games, PE games, end of the day games. You name it, you need it.  Not much to say about that one, but seriously – Know. Your. Games.

Well, I think that’s it for this round.  What is your best supply teaching advice?

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Tags: Jo, Supply teacher, Primary, Teach in Bristol, Canadian teacher, Tips, Supply Teaching, Protocol Education

Category: Australian Teachers

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