If supply teachers had to have a motto, we think it would have to be ‘be prepared’. While all teachers have to be planned, prepped, and ready, supply teachers have a whole different type of additional preparation to deal with.
Alongside potentially planning and marking for classes, supply teachers also have to be ready to work in new schools at a moment’s notice. Having some handy resources and tricks in your teaching bag (which should always be by the door ready to go) can make your day in a school more manageable.
Be prepared with emergency lessons and activities
While anyone covering a lesson should always have work provided to them, there will always be variations on the amount (and sometimes quality) that will be handed to you when you walk into the staff room. This is why it is always helpful to have a selection of emergency lessons suitable for all age groups to hand. Alongside this, a selection of extra activities also always comes in handy to eliminate the possible dead time and panic that happens when a student puts up their hand and announces that they’ve finished.
Be prepared with stationery and equipment
The perennial hunt for a working board marker or spare biro is one that we’ve all experienced. Trying to find things that are possibly locked in drawers and cupboards can halt the smooth flow of a lesson. So, be prepared by adding a selection of board markers, pens, colouring pencils etc., to your supply teaching bag.
Be prepared with a mug and tea/coffee
Every staff room is different; some supply complimentary tea and coffee, some make the staff pay for their own, some have personalised mugs; the level of potential pitfalls are endless. A simple way of easing this is to have your own mug and supplies; it saves embarrassment and puts you at ease in an unknown staff room.
So, that’s the bits for your supply teacher bag covered, moving on to how to be prepared for the school you’ll be supply teaching in.
Be prepared about the school
You’ve had the call to ask if you can provide supply teaching that day; the next thing you need to do is find out about the school. First, ask who your point of contact will be, and then check the school’s website for any other information you might need. It’s also a great idea to arrive early to get an idea of your bearings; there’s nothing worse than being in a rush in a place you are unfamiliar with.
Be prepared about the classes and students
There will be a good chance that you will be walking into a classroom of faces that you’ve never met before, so it’s always useful to find out as much as possible about them. Ask questions such as:
- Is there a seating plan? (It’s even better when they have the students’ faces on them too.)
- Are there any class routines that I need to be aware of?
- Will there be any teaching assistants in my classes?
- Are there any students with additional educational needs?
- Who do I call on for additional behaviour support?
Be prepared for more supply teaching placements
Once you’ve visited a school as a supply teacher, there is always a good chance that you’ll be invited back. With this in mind, plan to leave a good impression. Leave an update for the teacher you’ve been covering with information on how much work was covered, how students behaved, and anything else that might be useful or important to them. If possible, leave the feedback with your point of contact too.
As a leading teacher recruitment agency, 3Rs are always on the hunt for amazing and inspirational teachers. So, if you are considering supply teaching or are looking for a more permanent post, contact us on: 0345 1303338