Teachers for Supply

Supply Teachers Blog

Choosing supply teaching could be the answer

A great number of teachers are considering leaving the profession according to recent reports and generally the reason for this is that although they enjoy teaching they get dissatisfied with the amount of paperwork and data that is required. Supply teaching therefore is seen as a viable alternative to a full time teaching role as it fits in better with family commitments and also gives the teacher the flexibility to work the hours that they want to and start enjoying teaching again.

Many local authorities will only accept supply teachers who are signed up to an agency, but sometimes smaller schools are more flexible in their approach. Agency work may result in slightly less pay but you may be guaranteed regular work if this is something that you want.

In preparation for being a supply teacher it is sensible to have a folder of work containing ideas for lessons that you could set for pupils across the age range that you are prepared to teach. In the majority of cases where the supply cover is planned the class teacher will set work for the class but in an emergency call out it is better to have your own resources to rely on.

Planning engaging lessons for young children

Making school fun can give children a lifelong love of learning and so it is important to keep the children engaged and motivated.

Young children find it difficult to stay engaged as they sit still listening to a teacher talking so breaking up the lesson adds excitement and keeps them interested. A good structure is to explain the task, let the children have a go then bring them back at intervals to see how the lesson is progressing. Learning in new ways and doing new things can help young children pay attention to the lesson being taught.

Learning by playing games makes learning more fun so if it is possible to incorporate games in.to the lesson it will add instant engagement. Games do not require a lot of advanced preparation time or expense, as there are thousands of free educational games online for them to play and of course there are traditional board games that incorporate lots of mathematical learning.

Most young school children do not like to sit still for very long so plan lessons where they have to move around the classroom or even take the lesson outside. Teachers have used hands-on activities for a long time as a way to make lessons fun and engaging. So, look for opportunities for the children in the class to do more of this and have less passive learning experiences.

Avoid burn-out and work smarter not harder

Ask anyone who is a teacher, and they will tell you that a teacher’s work is never done that is to say there is always something more that could be planned, marked or displayed so how can teachers whether full time, part time or supply avoid burn out and keep a good work life balance?

The key for many teachers is to work smarter not harder in other words try to avoid tasks that do not make a difference to the teaching and learning that goes on in the class. Marking is a good example of this. How many teachers spend hours on marking children’s work when the children are too young to read the comments or older children are not given the opportunity to act on the comments made. A simple system of marking only a selection of books in detail for one piece of work then on another occasion marking different pupils work in detail can save hours of the teacher’s time. Younger children’s work could be marked with them so that a dialogue can be had, and new targets set.

Assessments take up a lot of a teacher’s time and energy and although valuable to decide on future work should not be central to the teaching and learning that takes place in the classroom.

The pros and cons of long term supply cover

Supply teaching has many advantages over teaching full time such as being able to work the days that you want to work and not having to be involved with the statutory testing and recording of data that goes hand in hand with teaching currently. Some supply teachers get the opportunity to take on long term supply cover perhaps because a teacher is absent because of a long term health issue or has been seconded to a different post and the school leaders feel that having one supply teacher for the whole period give the class some continuity. So, what are the pros and cons of this for the individual?

One of the major advantages is having a regular salary. As supply teachers are still paid according to the grade they are on, and their pay includes holidays the amount that a long term supply teacher receives can be very good.

Another advantage, and something that supply teachers often say they miss, is the opportunity to be part of the school community again and take part in the day to day running of the school.

The disadvantage of doing long term supply is that you are then committed to working every day and do not have the freedom of being able to work the days you want and of course you may be required to administer any testing and other assessments that are necessary.

How to gain the respect of older pupils?

If you are soon to start working in a secondary school, then you may wonder how you are going to go about gaining the respect of the pupils. It may have been that you have previously worked in primary schools and teacher in secondary schools can be quite different. Pupils will often tend to me more of a challenge when they are older, and you need to ensure that you get the balance right from the off. You want to be approachable but also ensure that they know you have the authority.

This can be hard to do and you may find that you have to change your teaching style. It is usually better to go in stricter than you want and intend to be and then lighten up over the coming months and weeks. If you start off being too soft you may find it harder to get them to do what you are asking later on down the line. Some students may take advantage and see you as a bit of a pushover.

If you find that it is just one or two pupils that are causing your trouble, then you may wish to take them to one side and speak to them on their own about their behaviour.

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