Another day: another school.  Life is certainly never boring for a supply teacher. Every day is different. Every day supply teachers have to hit the ground running. Every day supply teachers need to be prepared to handle: 

  • Different subject areas.
  • Different socio economic groups of students.
Are you thinking about becoming a supply teacher? Here is what you can expect:

07:00am – 07:50am 

  • If you received a call from your supply teaching agency the night before, you will be getting ready to go.
  • Or you will be waiting for that call and keen to get going.
  • Or perhaps you are lying in bed, drowsily desiring that the phone will not ring this morning.
But then it does… Ahhh!
First you listen to the instructions carefully. Then a text will buzz through on your phone with details of:

  • Your school.
  • Its location.
  • Your contact.
  • What you will be teaching. 
You may also receive additional information by email about your school’s behaviour policy (or a summary of).
If you haven’t been to the school before, your consultant will provide you with a journey plan.

07:50am – 08:50am 

You make your way to your school. 
Top tip: Make sure you have the correct tickets so that you can take advantage of the cheapest journey.
Note: If time is an issue and you think that you might miss the beginning of the day, your consultant will expect you to call in. The earlier your consultant receives bad news, the better it is able to manage it.

08:15am – 08:40am

You will meet your contact, exchange pleasantries, ask questions and try to get as much information as you can about:

  • Timetables.
  • Class lists.
  • Who to call if you need support.
  • Behaviour policy. 
Top tip: We recommend you learn a few key “school words” that refer to the school’s policies on rewards and sanctions. 
Know that to the pupils you will seem part of the furniture already.

11:00am – 11:20am

Break time. 
Use it wisely. 
A typical scenario: You may have to detain a couple of students to get them to finish their work.

However your eye is not on the clock as you have brought with you a packed lunch with snacks, knowing you might not get a chance to go right across the school to the canteen. 
As your 2 students finish the work they could have completed in class, you relax with a bag of peanuts. 
A deputy head passes the class and does a double take that the daily supply teacher is working so conscientiously. She makes a note to ask for you again.

13:00pm – 14:00pm

Congratulations! You have broken the back of the day having taught four periods. 
However, the fifth period can be surprisingly tough. Therefore you reserve energy by relaxing with your packed lunch. 

Top tip: A wise move is to come prepared with a nutritious packed lunch to avoid wasting time loading cash cards and getting your fingerprints scanned. 

You embrace opportunities to chat with contract teachers, although they are few and far between.
However when it comes to supply staff you are keen to imbue the attributes of your favourite agency, knowing that your action will result in a generous finders fee should teachweb find them a long-term role!  

15:00pm – 15:30pm

You leave school via your contact. 
Of course you make sure you leave staff a final enthusiastic impression of you (unless you really would rather not return). 
You hand in any:

  • Keys.
  • Paperwork.
  • Student’s work.
  • Feedback on students.
  • Outstanding work. 
You retain the school’s security tag for your collection. 
Now you can relax.
Your day is over. 
Roll on another day of the same! 
Should you have any questions about a day in the life of a supply teacher, or indeed have any tips for fellow supply teachers, then please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you.


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