Tag Archives: starting out as a supply teacher

NQT thinking about doing supply work?

Unfortunately, in today’s climate (mini-rant: Government efforts to increase the supply of teachers to improve choice / quality, coupled with falling birth rate) many NQTs are finding themselves without that first, longed-for contract.

Supply teaching - invaluable experience for an NQT?

If you’re unsure about becoming a supply teacher, you’ll probably want to read the whole of this website!

Simple arguments for and against being a supply teacher are:
(Please note, these are quick notes, they are explored in further detail throughout this site and the supply teacher support forum)

  • Potentially introduces you to all the schools in your area. You discover the schools you’d love to work in. You also uncover the schools that you’d rather not visit again.
  • Potentially exposes you to all the schools in your area! You will no doubt leave an impression on the staff, make sure it’s the right impression.
  • Income. Nuff said!
  • Experience. You’ve had a somewhat chaperoned experience of teaching so far, on your placements. Now the fun starts!

Are you an NQT considering supply teaching? Tough decision or no-brainer?

Where next? There’s a great quick read here on CPD for supply teachers. Check out our resources area here too.

How does an NQT become a supply teacher?

Congratulations on becoming a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT)!

You probably found this website as you didn’t cement a job contract as an NQT for September. It doesn’t mean that  you cannot work. You can work as a supply teacher. Supply teaching is an experience that I believe every teacher should experience at some point, educational conscription you might say.

Can an NQT be a supply teacher?

There is the worry about losing your NQT status if you do not complete your NQT year within a certain time scale.

I’m not going to write about the 4-term rule, or the 5-year rule, or whatever the Government have come up with recently here, as they change their minds more often than I can practically revise this website.

You’ll have to look at current regulation based on how long you can work for, and take an educated guess as to whether or not to start supply work.

If you do decide to take the plunge, first grab a cup of coffee, then take a seat and start reading. You might want to take a look at Getting Started As A Supply Teacher first, and then why not pop by the supply teacher support forum and say hello?

Are there too many barriers to NQTs becoming supply teachers? Does the idea of supply teaching scare you or can’t you wait to dive in?

Where next? There’s a great quick read here on how to get more supply work. Check out our resources area here too.

Quick, Easy and Effective Behaviour Management Ideas for the Classroom – Nicola S. Morgan

Article submitted by Nicola S. Morgan, Author

‘Throughout my 13 years experience as a teacher I have specialised in behaviour management in primary schools. The book is based on my years of experience teaching and managing a range of challenging behaviours in the classroom, the book provides practical and do-able strategies that work and includes worksheets, rewards and other fully photocopiable resources. The ideas are all based around an original framework developed by myself called The 10 Rs for Behaviour Management. The 10 Rs is a term for a group of strategies that are efficient ‘tried and tested’ techniques for managing children in the classroom, no matter what the behavioural difficulties are. They aim to prevent the occurrence of behaviour difficulties, or if problems do occur, they show how to quickly re-establish appropriate behaviour.
The behaviour management ideas and resources in this book will provide invaluable practical support for teachers, learning support assistants, teaching assistants, trainee and NQT teachers.

Behaviour Management Ideas for the Classroom - Nicola S Morgan

Purchase a copy of Nicola’s book here.

Where next? There’s a great quick read here on Reception class lesson plans. Check out our resources area here too.

Be a Better Supply Teacher – Liz Rhodes

Article submitted by Liz Rhodes, Author

I looked at many primary supply teacher books, but none of them provided quite what I wanted. You don't need loads of lesson plans (you can always get those from the Supply Bag, as mentioned in the book!). You do need information on how to go about getting work and legal and financial bits; if you're an NQT looking for a permanent post you need to know about the school day and the various pitfalls your college haven't told you about (because they don't know). If you are an older teacher, you need details of the ways in which the four rules of number are taught today (radically different from the old ways, and much better).
So all these things are included in my book, along with suggestions for behaviour management, working with other adults in the classroom and how to maintain your life/work balance. I don't actually pack your bag for you (sorry!), but I do give you a list of things you might need. It's in a handy pocket-sized format (12 x 17 cm) and is part of a series by different authors on a variety of educational subjects.
There's just one problem – if the book is successful, I could be doing myself out of a teaching job. Ah well, I can always take up my new career as an author!

Be A Better Supply Teacher - Liz Rhodes

Liz's book is available on Amazon.

Making an Impression

The 10 Commandments of Supply Teaching – in no particular order. by Sharon Wood

Making the right impression as a supply teacher

Work smart and you’ll be a great supply teacher!

  1. Be friendly to everyone right from the start – cleaners and secretaries are often closest to the Head Teacher!
  2. Leave the classroom tidy – but don’t mess too much with the teacher’s desk.
  3. Be confident – if a school thinks they can leave you to get on with it, without having to fuss around with you, they’re more likely to ask you to come back.
  4. Tell them you had a great day – flattery gets you everywhere remember! This works with the children too.
  5. Be prepared – for anything to happen!
  6. Learn namesstaff and children, as quickly as possible, and remember them.
  7. Be smart – in your appearance and in your working. Leave plenty of information on how they day went for the class teacher. Remark on the children’s achievements, and any disappointments. Avoid making unnecessary derogatory remarks about the children! Think – would it be professional for you to tell the child’s parents? If not, don’t tell the child’s teacher either!
  8. Be efficient – If you need to sign time sheets etc., do this before the end of the day. Many secretaries and bursars do not work until the end of the school day, use your morning break to clear up any business which is not related to your teaching timetable.
  9. Mark the workI’ve always been a diligent marker, sometimes seeing everyone leave bar the caretaker before I have left a school. Mark at every opportunity you have: break, lunchtime (I mark whilst eating, but if in a new school, I do make sure I leave time to pop into the staffroom at some point for five minutes) and during lessons. This does not mean sit and mark the numeracy while the children sit and do their literacy! I make it a policy not to use the teacher’s chair/desk during the day. I walk round with my red/green pen in hand while the children are working (KS2 – obviously this doesn’t apply so much in Hands-On KS1) and the children really do respond to this. While the children are on task, they very much appreciate a word or two every so often regarding their work. Take a few tours of the classroom while they are settled and mark their work as you go. It’s easy to think it’s unfair when it’s well after half four when you leave, and you were only officially paid until 3:45pm, but it doesn’t often go unnoticed, and it’s one way to help ensure the school contact you again offering work. And remember, those teachers who walked out half an hour after the children left, have probably taken home 64 books to mark, a policy to review, staff meeting notes to tweak, an assembly to write, and a parents’ evening to prepare for!
  10. Follow the lesson plans – It is no small feat managing to fit the current curriculum into a school year, along with Christmas panto’s, field trips and sports matches, so don’t make it any harder! Teachers will not specially request a supply teacher in whom they have no confidence that a) lesson plans are followed, and b) work is marked effectively.

Visiting Schools Prospecting For Work

Visiting schools prospecting for supply teaching work

by Sharon Wood

Supply teachers often can find work without going through an agency. I did! If this is something you have thought about doing, read the following information, and also why not visit the forum to read about the experiences of other supply teachers?

Making visits to schools can be invaluable for many reasons.

  1. You find them in your own time. Some school buildings really do hide themselves away. Some schools have strange rituals about how you are admitted to the building. If you receive a call later that week at 8:45am asking you to come in and work as a supply teacher for the day, you’ll be glad you know where it is!
  2. You can decide whether or not you really would like to take on supply work there. During a first visit, you may notice all sorts of gremlins in the way the school is run, and decide after all that you can live without that money!
  3. You can make a great first impression. Seize the opportunity with both hands to show them how good a supply teacher you really are. It doesn’t matter who you meet, however briefly, word will get back to whoever books supply teachers for the school. Be smart, be nice, be open, be interested, be confident, be knowledgeable and be enthusiastic.
  4. You might get a booking for supply work right there and then: it happens! NuttySupplier visited 6 schools in one day and got 4 days of bookings whilst stood in the entrance hall of the second school she visited!

Visiting schools can be daunting, but ultimately in your best interest.

Paperwork for a job application

by Sharon Wood

SupplyBag.co.uk contains a wealth of information for supply teachers and prospective supply teachers. Here we look at your teacher’s job application.

I have included an example of a letter to send to schools prospecting for supply work here, but I am well aware that around 40%* of supply teachers are transitory: they are actively looking for a more long-term contract. I added this section to the website with you in mind.

Paperwork - CV, Supporting Statement, School's Application Form, where does it end?

Feel buried under a mountain of paperwork? Once you have a handle on it, it only needs a little re-working for each fresh application.

For NQTs who have yet to secure their first permanent teaching contract, for teachers returning to work after a period of absence (to raise a family, for example), and for those who have relocated, this section provides advice on securing a teaching position.

If, whilst out hunting for the perfect job, you are undertaking supply work, do not under-estimate the value of this work! Add it to your CV, include it in your supporting statement. Many gainfully employed teachers would quake and quiver at the prospect of teaching on day-to-day supply. You are doing it – successfully – and living to tell the glorious tale of how you enhance your teaching skills and the learning environment of the children you meet daily. If you would like help in showcasing your flexibility, your professionalism and your quick-thinking within your own personal statement, click here.

* I read it recently, haven’t remembered where yet!

Where next? There’s a great quick read here on part time teaching but full time parent. Check out our resources area here too.