Prepare for supply

Being a supply teacher offers many benefits, including flexibility of working hours and days as well as a choice of work in various areas. It can useful in adding to your classroom experience as an NQT too. It does mean that you could end up in a couple of schools per week so preparation is key to being a successful supply teacher. That’s why we’ve put together some tips to make your experience go as smoothly as possible.

Let your agency know your availability and keep your phone on

More often than not, your agency will receive a call from the school early in the morning to tell them of an absence that requires cover. TCP operates an on-call phone so this call can theoretically come at any time.

If you’ve updated your availability your consultant will know what days you’re able to work and will call you about the role. We recommend being ready to receive a call from 6.30am onwards.

How supply teachers prepare

Have packed lunch prepared

If you’re up early and ready to go when you get the call, depending on where the role is, you may not have time to make a packed lunch. You can’t assume there will always be a cafe nearby and if you don’t fancy a school lunch it’s a good idea to have a packed lunch ready.

Get to the school early

You will need to familiarise yourself with a number of things at the school before you head to class. You will need to know what time breaks and lunch are and where the staff toilets are. You’ll need to understand the school’s behaviour policy and take a read through any lesson plans left by the teacher.

Have backup lesson plans

On some occasions, teachers will be absent from school and won’t have had time to prepare a lesson. Having a backup lesson or activity allows you to manage a class more effectively. If your session finishes early have a number of fun ideas for time fillers too.

Bring your own resources

Pens, pencils pritsticks! You won’t know the types of resources the school has until you get there so it’s a good idea to have at least some resources to fall back on. You can guarantee at least one child won’t have brought a pen with them. With a packet of pens you can ensure each pupil is covered. Add a sticky label to them so you can collect your pens in at the end. It’s always a good idea to have a set of board pens with you because you may not have access to the school’s resources.

Stickers for good work

Stickers can help significantly with classroom management, especially in primary schools. Pupils respond well to positive reinforcement like this and others are likely to fall in line when they see other pupils receiving reward stickers too.

Call us at the end of the day

By the end of the day, your consultant will know if you’re needed at the school tomorrow. By giving them a call you can provide feedback on your experience, inform them of availability and book yourself in for the next day, whether at that school or another. Or alternatively, you can update your availability through our online portal.