If as a supply teacher you are bought in to a class and have been given no lesson plan and little time to create anything then you may worry about how and what you are going to teach the class. Using the homework ethos is a great idea when it comes to emergency lesson planning. With homework the child should be able to complete the task with little or no resources, it should be based on something that they have already covered in some detail and should be something they can do with little reinforcement.
When you enter the classroom as a supply teacher, take some time to look around at the displays within the room, have a look through the students work books to get an idea of what topics they have been working on and if there is another teacher teaching the same age group, ask them what sorts of subjects have been covered.
Depending on the age and ability of the students you may be able to set the same work for the whole class, but if you do need to set different work then use the same core idea and just adapt it accordingly.
When going in to a school as a supply teacher, you may feel quite nervous and worries, especially if you have never taught there before. Not only do you have to get used to the way the school is run and set out but also the other members of staff and the pupils. Every school may have slightly different policies and so if possibly it is important to find out how the school operates and the names of the teaching staff.
When going in to the new classroom, beware that not all pupils deal with change in a good way and you may come across a certain amount of resistance. Many pupils may think that they can wrap the wool over your eyes as you are not familiar with the school of the pupils but if you have a teaching assistant to hand, do not be afraid to have a chat with them first or if anything comes up that you are not sure of.
Always have a tried and tested lesson planned that you can use if possible so you are confident in what you have to teach and how to do it. Set out clear boundaries to the pupils when you first start the lesson explaining what you expect and what you don’t expect from them and do not be afraid to challenge a difficult pupil.
With the crisis of shortage of teachers in the UK in the headlines, it seemed a good time to investigate the effect this would have on the supply teachers industry. Unfortunately many teachers are leaving the profession, even a high umber within their first year, often due to stress and workloads.
Often supply teachers are having to be called in to schools on a more regular basis to cover for stress related illnesses or to cover a class until permanent staff are found. This does mean there are more supply teaching jobs around, but as a supply teacher you may find yourself pushed in to a full time position without even realising it. If the supply teacher is good, the school are often forking out more than they would with a permanent member of staff to keep them on board and many are even being offered a full time position.
A recent report has been published questioning whether supply teachers are fulfilling their roles and educating our children to the level they need to be. This report comes after Ofsted has found that supply teachers in secondary schools are four times more likely than permanent teachers to give sub-standard lessons. Only one third of schools in the UK has a reliable pool of staff that they can call on to come in and cover lessons should they need to. Other schools have to hire staff that they may never have met before and that may be substandard.
These statistics are worrying but we do need to remember that this does not apply to all supply teachers as there are some great ones out there who go the extra mile to ensure their lessons are taught to an exceptional standard.
Teaching agencies can offer a great service to schools, finding staff very quickly for them but schools need to check with the agency as to how they evaluate the supply teachers abilities.
If you are a supply teacher looking for work, you may want to consider registering with an agency. Supply teaching agencies will often have posts available for you to start immediately and once you are on their books, they can put you forward for any new teaching work that comes in.
Most teaching agencies do not charge you to register with them but will take a small percentage of your daily wage once they have found you work. This does put some people off, but the extra amount of work you are likely to get from using an agency will easily more than cover their fees.
To decide which agency to use, I would recommend trying to obtain reviews and also statistics off the teaching agency such as how many job vacancies they currently have on their books. Also confirm any fees up front to avoid disputes further down the line.