4 Essential Tips for New Supply Teachers

May 25, 2018 by

Transitioning from permanent teaching to supply assignments causes many people to worry about how to manage this new career shift. Yet it is a popular choice for those who want the flexible schedule and to escape from office politics. Here are 4 essential tips for new supply teachers.

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Manage Expectations

Visiting a new school may make you feel out of place. You probably won’t command the respect you had at a permanent assignment, because you’re a stranger. First, know who you’re going to want to ask for upon arrival. Know your point of contact so you don’t have to go around asking for advice. A key issue is presenting yourself professionally, so that you’re treated as a professional. Another way to manage expectations is to arrive with a confident smile. This makes a positive first impression while making you approachable to students and teachers alike.

Arrive Early

If you aren’t properly prepared, you probably won’t do a good job. That’s enough to cost you the job. The solution is to arrive early. You’ll want to learn the teachers’ written plans and school policies that you’ll be expected to enforce. Learn the timetable for the day, class rules for behaviour and how children will be moved about the school. Ask questions at this point if you don’t understand the rewards scheme or safeguarding policy. Understand the routine so that the kids will follow it out of habit instead of acting out.

If you know how to handle students within the school’s own rules, the students won’t try to take advantage of you. Furthermore, if you know and understand all the rules, the cover manager won’t think that your class got out of control because you aren’t fit for the job or simply drop you from the list because you violated a critical rule.

There are other reasons to arrive early. Reviewing the teacher’s plans at leisure lets you find out if there is a set plan to follow or if you can bring in your own ideas. If you’re going to need to use the whiteboard, arriving early gives you time to set it up if necessary.

Build Relationships

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to get the cover manager on your side. They’re already stressed from having to find a supply teacher like you. Meet them, reassure them, do a good job, and if you can, leave feedback from the day’s lessons with the manager. This feedback builds on the relationship and improves the odds you’re called back on another date.

When you’re in the building, introduce yourself to everyone. Talk to other teachers, the caretakers, and the office staff. Taking time to greet everyone leaves a good impression. Use this time to ask about any children in your classroom with particular needs so that you can adjust your plans appropriately or arrange for assistance. This helps ensure that you do a good job.

Find a good supply teacher agency so that you can keep up a steady stream of assignments until you secure regular assignments at a couple of schools. They’ll also be able to find you other assignments if you try a school and don’t like it, even if the school wants you back.

Supply work allows you to enjoy the fundamentals of teaching without the hassles. Follow these rules and you’ll be the supply teacher everyone wants to invite back.

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