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Sleep or lack of it

Sophie is a Primary Teacher who is currently working with our Bristol branch. Sophie talks us through some tips for getting through our supply days, and helping our children get through too. 

Sleep…or lack of it!

The days of supply teachers are often long; you wake up early and wait for a call and may have to travel a long way back after school. Here are a few ways that really work for me to keep me powering on when all I want to do is go back to sleep.


Never miss breakfast, for me this affects me hugely. I always feel faint and drained if I don’t have a good start to the day. Even if you are rushing out the door it is good to grab some fruit or a small snack to start your day. The food will jump start your metabolism and it is proven that it makes you feel better.  You also need to stay hydrated and cold water works wonders for me. The shock of it being cold keeps you alert and you feel much better for it.


One thing that makes me feel better is exercise. I know there may not be enough time in the morning but if I have one of those days where I keep snoozing the alarm I turn to exercise. Even the smallest amount of exercise so something like 30 sit ups helps me get started for my day ahead. I find it wakes me up and prepares me for my day. A shower can have the same effect often waking you up and stop your yawning. Wake and shake works brilliantly in classrooms to get children active and ready to go at the start of the day. You could play a video for wake and shake and join in with the children, as it may wake you up as well.


Get involved with the learning! Children often lose concentration and this could create tiredness if they are bored. So this is the same for you, you need to really get involved and motivated about the learning. By keeping yourself active in the classroom it will keep you interested; it is impossible to fall asleep if your actively involved and creating lots of discussion. It is also important to let the sunlight in and keep the lights on. If the room is dark it brings a dull mood in the classroom, you are much more likely to stay awake with the light of the classroom to brighten up the day.


One thing to remember when you are tired or having a bad day is the fact that it is not the children’s fault. Often when people are tired it can affect their mood. I always try to keep calm in my classroom and maybe breathe before you handle a difficult situation. A good technique for keeping the children on task is giving them some concentration techniques. I sometimes play music when the children are working and it helps to keep them working by giving their brains something else to focus on.  Everyone handles tiredness differently so it is important to find the right strategy for you.

Do you have some tips to share like Sophie? Email them through to Megan at

We asked our candidates to complete a survey on how they sleep. Read our findings here

Tags: Sophiew, Bristol, NQT, supply, sleep, exercise, engagement, tired, focus, concentration

Category: Australian Teachers

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