Preparing for the start of the school year

My nerves started in August. I'd feel nauseous upon waking. The feeling of dread began to haunt me and wouldn't leave. Preparing for the start of the school year can be an ominous task. A daunting prospect. Get the excitement of buying a new Academic Diary, new pens and pencils and any other item of stationery that you can quite easily convince yourself is absolutely necessary out of the way, and then reality bites.Preparing for the start of the school year

Will there be enough work?
Will I be able to survive financially?
Will the children be well behaved?
Will the staff be friendly / helpful?
What if I'm not able to teach well?
If I'm ill, there's no sick pay.

I had this for the first couple of years, despite being a supply teacher by choice, and having a good selection of schools to work with. It did go though. I think it may have been the remnants from the dread I felt every year whilst I was working full-time. I loved my job, but found it very hard to switch off and enjoy a holiday. I would be in school for the majority of the holidays, prepping, in the hope of avoiding working Sundays (it didn't help!) Part of the reason I chose to be a supply teacher.

  • At the beginning of the holidays, if not before, set a date with yourself. A day / week when you will focus your attentions on the start of term. This should help you focus the rest of the holidays on enjoyment and relaxation.
  • State your budget for 'essentials', and stick to it! All those 'Back to School' aisles in the supermarket tempt us in, clever marketing it's called, not essential stationery!
  • Have something really special, daring even, planned for the weekend before term starts. Do something exhilarating, such as a bungee jump. After that, what happened in a classroom two days later will seem like a walk in the park! It could give you an air of confidence about you, and a buzz of excitement, that schools would love to see, and children will sense in the classroom.
  • Sort out your wardrobe. Mine's easy, if boring: one pair black leather shoes (not unlike Dr Martens) to see me through the year, one pair black leather sandals for that day when it seems unfeasibly hot. One PE kit. Two pairs black trousers, two coloured strappy vests, and two coloured shirts to wear over the top of them, all mix 'n' match muted colours. I wear the shirts open or closed. Giving me a total of a million different outfits! I don't accessorize, I'd lose the stuff. Put your 'teaching clothes' to one side of your wardrobe, ever-ready for that early morning call.
  • Decide what essentials will be in your packed lunch each day, and make sure you have a supply of the non-perishables.
  • Sort out your supply tool kit. This is the big one for many, but needn't be. You will not be expected to have a full day's planning for each year group in each term on each topic up your sleeve 'just in case', but it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a look through my emergency lesson plans for supply teachers, just to get a feel for micro-planning (I just made that up, quite like it!) and see if mentally you can expand my ideas in five minutes into a lesson that could keep, for example, a Year 5 class occupied in a meaningful fashion for just under an hour.
  • Take time to read more articles on here in preparation…
<To be continued>

Where next? There's a great quick read here on the possible pitfalls of being a supply teacher
Check out our resources area here too.