Contrary to popular rumour, being a supply teacher is more than just babysitting a class until their permanent teacher comes back from holiday or sick leave. A complicated role that comes with a huge portion of responsibility, being a supply teacher is often challenging, and at times, very hard work. We’ve compiled the following advice that should help you get your head around being a supply teacher on a day to day basis.

Arrive to work early

Part of your job as a supply teacher is to capture the attention of your students as soon as you enter the room. The transition between your students’ normal teacher and yourself must be seamless so that you can fulfil the curriculum that you must teach. The trick to achieving this, is to arrive at the school that you have been assigned to, nice and early so that you can figure out just what you will be required to do, instead of asking questions later during valuable teaching time. This way your students will be able to handle the irregularity of the situation without losing time.

Be pleasant to current staff

As an outsider, you will have a lot of questions about the school; where everything is, who’s who, and what time the students break for lunch. To acquire such information you will need to ask the current staff at the school. By being polite, positive, and pleasant to people, the current staff will be more than happy to point you in the right direction, which will make your work miles easier.

Also, you could be assigned to the same school in the future. If you do return, you’ll be glad that you made friends the first time around.

Be proactive

As soon as you are given an assignment, you will also be given a contact at the school that you will be a supply teacher for. When you receive the contact, be proactive by asking about the classroom that you will be teaching in, asking if it has a whiteboard and whether or not you’ll need to bring any of your own resources (both equipment, and teaching ideas). This way you can better prepare for the classes that you’re being asked to cover for, instead of leaving anything to chance when you arrive – which can be high risk and quite stressful.

Make room for fun activities

It’s true; there’s a no more effective way to get children to like/respect you than to make them laugh. As a supply teacher, to engage your class, you will have to make an immediate impression on your students to have their full attention during the duration of your lesson. By incorporating jokes and more jovial activities into your lesson plan, you’re more likely to succeed as a supply teacher.

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