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Great Supply Expectations: Part 1

New to supply teaching and not sure what it is all about? Don't worry, Samantha has put a 3-part guide together for you. 

Great Supply Expectations - Part 1: Before You Get to the School

Many teachers who have just qualified or are perhaps stepping away from a full time position and stepping into supply for a period of time are all, I am sure,  counting down the last days of freedom of summer. To all of you new to supply I am going to attempt to offer my words of wisdom, don’t blink or you may miss them.

Firstly supply teachers are often asked, did you not get a full time position? Or, are you a qualified teacher? As much as these questions are innocently asked in conversation when I first started they would irritate me beyond belief. I selected supply as I wanted the flexibility as I was working with my field when I wasn’t teaching and could not commit to every day. Supply teaching was the best job in the world for this but many see supply as a demotion of sorts.

I would just like to clarify that supply teaching is an artistry of teaching like no other, the planning is different, the class and staff connections are different and you most certainly have to be good at thinking on your feet and what a wonderful skill that is to develop.

If you can be a good supply teacher, delivering lessons that are not your own to students you do not know and feel that the students have progressed within their lesson then you have a skill set that is very unique and one to be massively proud of.

So we know that supply teachers are amazing but what will you actually be expected to do day by day? Well my first week was a struggle to wake up when my alarm went of and then a struggle to answer the phone and not fall back to sleep! I was out of the routine of waking up early and always had in the back of my mind that if I didn’t work that day I could have a lay in, which is very counter-productive as you can imagine. My advice here is to buy a good alarm clock that you can set over the other side of the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off, also set your phone alarms and a back up alarm just in case.

Prepare your lunch the day before, there is nothing worse than getting a phone call, scrambling to get dressed and grabbing a questionable apple before you leave the house, an exciting lunch will not be had, let alone a rewarding cup of tea if you forget your mug!

Make sure you know the address, route and you have money for public transport or petrol. I know this sounds obvious but there is nothing worse than turning up to a school ten minutes late to unhappy faces and all because you had to fill up the tank, it leaves an awful sense of guilt for the day.

So to summarise, get a good nights sleep and set several alarms clocks. Prepare your lunch the day before including a mug and some tea bags or coffee. Make sure you know the route and leave plenty of time to get there, if you said  it will take you thirty minutes make sure its a twenty minute route just in case.

The best way to work the most days possible and to enjoy supply teaching is to plan to work every day. Get everything ready the night before and rise, shower and dress before any phone calls may come your way. Whilst you are waiting read a book or the morning news but at least that way you are ready to walk out of the door when you need to.

I remember my first few weeks, having nothing to eat, no hot drinks and barley making it to schools on time, it made me stressed before I even walked through the door, leading to an instant fear that the schools would not ask me back. They did often ask me back and after I got into my stride I realised I was pretty good at this I was confident in getting re-booked or having simply done a good days work. 

Samantha is secondary drama teacher and is currently in a long-term role in East London. She blogs regularly so if you enjoy her blogs you don't need to wait long until the next one. 


Tags: Samantha, Bromley, Secondary, drama, supply, daily, teacher

Category: Australian Teachers


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