Justteachers Top Tips for Supply Teachers

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First impressions are critical when you are a supply teacher, here are just a few top tips to ensure that your supply booking runs smoothly and you get requested back to schools time and time again. Simple things like taking spare pens and pencils will make your life as a justteachers supply teacher much easier.

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Plan your route

Teachers who are unpunctual will not be asked back. A surprisingly high number of teachers do not check the directions of where they are going before setting off to a booking. If you get lost, call us, if we don’t know we can’t help and more importantly we may need to advise the school that you will be late.

Get there early

There are a few key things that you will need to be familiar with, like the school’s behavior policy, the teacher’s written plans, staff toilets, tea and coffee making facilities, and where you can prepare resources, so it makes sense to get to the school in good time. Display a sense of humour and a caring attitude. Demonstrate that you value the school and its pupils.

Smile – it’s free

An easy way to stand out is to smile. Unlike some of the regular teachers who maybe jaded by ongoing school issues, as a justteachers supply teacher you have the opportunity to breeze in to the school like a breath of fresh air.

Bring your own resources

It’s a good idea to have suitable teaching ideas up your sleeve so that you have something to fall back on if you need it. There are a number of websites, such as Primary Resources, that offer a number of free lesson plans and worksheets that you can utilize to avoid any last minute panics.

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Ask about the children

Someone in the school who is familiar with the class should make you aware of any children with particular needs, so that you can organise use of teaching assistants, adjust any plans, and take into account those who would find the change difficult. Have a clear idea of how the lesson is going to go before you step into the classroom.

Make yourself familiar

Get to know the timetable for the day, the school’s writing style, class rules for behaviour, how children are expected to move around the school, and whether there are any children who need medication.

Find out about routines

The start of the day is crucial to how well the rest of the day will go, so make sure that you are aware of the daily routine. Children will be reassured those routines haven’t changed and that you are in command.

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Know your groups

Have names of children and relevant groups to hand so that the class can be easily organised. The children will usually know which groups they are in, but you may get a few who will play around. Keep a register of the names of all the pupils in the room for each lesson. If access to the normal class register is restricted, a quick list of names on a sheet of paper is just as effective. Make allowances for errors by the pupils, the staff and yourself. Be firm, fair and consistent in your use of rewards and sanctions and find out how it is operated by other teachers in the school. Actively seek opportunities to use public and private praise for the whole class and individuals.

Have fun ideas for time fillers

There are always times of the day when you will need to fill short gaps, such as when a session finishes early or assembly is running late. It’s always worth having a few entertaining ideas.

Bathroom limits

Manage toilet needs by having a maximum of two children in the bathroom at any one time. There could already be a rule about this though, so check with the teaching assistant. You want to avoid half the class visiting the toilet at one time.

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Volunteer for playground duty

Check whether its appropriate first, as some schools have a rota for teachers. It’s an especially good way of getting known and is popular at primary schools where children readily tell parents and teachers about the nice new supply teacher. If you have a free period, ask if there’s anything you can do: it will go down well.

Marking and handover

Leaving a small note can make a difference to the returning teacher, who may find the break in continuity unsettling. Leave a note at the end of the day, detailing the work done, where you are up to in set work, any incidents, whether books were marked (if applicable – all Primary work should be marked appropriately), and if so, where they’ve been put. For secondary school teachers, this will mean more notes, one at the end of each lesson. Even a brief sign-off saying either that a lesson went smoothly or naming any miscreant pupils, is useful information to a returning teacher. Keep accurate records of any instance of challenging behaviour exhibited by pupils.

Say goodbye

Thank whoever’s been looking out for you during the day. Some larger schools have a dedicated supply supervisor who does this, or it may be a parallel classroom teacher who sits next door and is on hand for your queries. Is you’ve had a good day, tell them – schools enjoy getting positive feedback, too – and say you’d love to be re-booked.

If you have any queries, or require any further information surrounding your booking, please do not hesitant to contact your consultant.