what supply teachers can learn from doctor whoIn his latest quest to save the earth from devious monsters, Doctor Who found himself working undercover in a London Secondary School.

Now Doctor Who is no stranger to arriving and having to adapt to new and stressful situations. So we at teachweb thought who better to provide supply teachers with advice on settling in and making an impact?

Therefore here are 3 tips supply teachers can learn from Doctor Who.

1. You don’t have to be around long to make your mark.

Do you remember the 8th Doctor Who? He made but two television appearances. Yet in these appearances he made an impact (of course by saving humanity!) Supply teachers can take away the fact that it is actions that make you memorable, not the length of time you have been around.

2. Expect the unexpected

Doctor Who has vast experience landing in alien environments. As a result of his time travels he is always prepared:

a) As a supply teacher, you may not be able to travel by Tardis, but you can and should plan your journey beforehand.

b) Doctor Who understands knowledge is power. So do your research on your school. If you can, arrive early so you can investigate your school’s people, behavior policy and routines.

c) The Doctor never leaves home without his sonic screwdriver. Make sure you have your essential supply teaching kit at hand. Include:

  1. Back up teaching resources, in case plans haven’t been left for you.
  2. Time filling ideas. The Doctor always has something up his sleeve to keep aliens occupied whilst he plans their destruction.
  3. A set of pens… well you never know.

3. Relationship management (both teachers and children!)

a) Be brave in the face of new environments. Put a big smile on your face and make sure you say hello to everyone you meet. The Doctor’s endless enthusiasm and energy always leaves a good impression.

b) Know that teenagers can be as unpredictable as Daleks. Whatever strange behaviours your students display, earn their respect and trust by positioning yourself as the Doctor would: The professional with the knowledge and experience in the room.

c) The Doctor has met and had to deal with over 400 different types of aliens and monsters during his career as a Time Lord. When meeting a new monster for the first time the Doctor knows it is vital to establish calm and attention. Have some ‘settling’ tricks up your sleeve. These can include word games and number quizzes to capture your student’s focus.

In conclusion: Managing change and renewal is key to the success of both time lords and supply teachers. Every-time the Tardis door opens the Doctor is presented with a new challenge. Yet he always faces up to his fears and triumphs in the end.

Supply teachers can learn a lot from Doctor Who.

And one final tip… always remember to be nice to the school caretaker. You never know when you may need his help.

Get in touch if you would like some more supply teaching tips.

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

supply teaching travel tale
£200 will be awarded for the best story!

It’s September. Teachers and kids alike are now officially ‘back to school’. Yet supply teachers: Before your summer becomes a distant memory, we would love to find out what you got up to during your six week break.

Did you put your teaching skills to good use, albeit in a different environment? Did you:

• Tutor?
• Work at a summer school?
• Work at a summer camp?

Or did you take the opportunity to have an adventure?

We would love to hear about your experiences… the good, the bad and the ugly.

In fact, email your holiday tales, together with a great picture to us by Friday 26th September and you will have the opportunity of winning:

  • First prize £200
  • Second prize £100
  • Third prize £50

For the best story.

Legendary travel life-styler Phillip Cooper will be judging your travel stories. Philip’s inventive working holidays have taken him around the world many times. He expanded his business making yurts in Southern Spain’s capital of kite-surfing to the beaches of Kerala. In addition he set up a charity to teach his Keralese employees how to kite surf.

So what are you waiting for?

Send your story to: info@teachweb.co.uk with the subject line ‘Travel Tales’.

Good luck!

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

teachweb raft raceLast weekend intrepid supply teaching recruitment consultant (me) led an audacious teachweb team into battle at the annual Lewes to Newhaven Raft Race.

Since its launch in 1975, this event hosted by The Lewes and District Round Table has raised in excess of £500,000 for local good causes.

Courageous race participants are awarded prizes for “Fastest Time”, “Most Devious Means” and “Best Decorated”.

It has to be said teachweb’s entry into the race was a last minute decision. However undaunted by the challenge of building a raft in a day, I believe I demonstrated dogged determination in my efforts to source:

• Skipped wood.
• Scaffolding batons.
• Chemical barrels.

And it has to be said, a flair for design when constructing my fine vessel.

In fact, shiver me timbers… indeed there lurks an inner DT teacher within me!

Once the teachweb raft was declared sea faring and the battle began, my heroic team was tested to its limits.

My team fought to remain steadfast as throughout the route merciless onlookers pelted us with flour and eggs.

At times paddling the raft felt like paddling a bus. Also due to the constant onslaught of eggs and flour, at all times we had to keep our wits about us to avoid ending up in Davy Jones’ locker!”

Despite our best efforts, as well as the help of a passing speedboat that kindly gave our unwavering team a tow… we finished last.

Yet we were delighted to complete the race in one piece. Furthermore taking part was a superb excuse for us to get together and we certainly enjoyed our celebratory grog.

In fact I enjoyed the event so much I would like to form a teachweb team for next year’s race.

Therefore…

  • Are you a daring teacher?
  • Do you have the design and technology skills we need to construct a raft able to cut through the water with ease and speed?
  • More importantly do you have the cunning to help us to win the prize for the “most devious means”?

Then we would love to hear from you.

2015 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Lewes to Newhaven Raft Race. Please do get in touch if you would like to take part.

Contact us for more information.

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

How supply teachers can master body language for successThey say your body communicates 55% of what you have to say in face-to-face interactions.  You don’t get much more face to face than when you are a supply teacher standing in front of thirty 11-16 year olds.

Therefore we thought supply teachers would benefit from 5 clever tips for using body language to command attention in a new classroom.

When I visit schools for sales purposes, the people in charge of cover sometimes tell me: “We can tell within 5 paces whether someone is going to sink or swim, or somewhere in between.”

  • So what is it that speaks so loudly about sinking and swimming?
  • Further more can we control it?

How to communicate confidence

When I was learning to teach, my mentor said: “When you speak don’t touch your face and don’t waggle your head about.”

She demonstrated these movements by acting them out. I was amazed how much difference they made. It almost made her look like someone else while she was speaking that way. Keeping your head still while speaking is something all authority figures practice.

How to stop looking anxious

Craning your head forwards makes you look anxious.  When you are next standing in a class, check your head is balanced vertically above your shoulders. The best way to do this is to discretely back up against a wall. If your head has a long way to go back, you are craning way forward and look anxious.

How to communicate your interest and attention

Be aware of your body language. Notice when your:

  • Fingers are drumming.
  • Legs are bouncing.
  • Hands are straightening clothes or tugging at an earlobe.

Know that these movements communicate to the people around you that a bit of you wants to be somewhere else… desperately.

How to communicate your authority

Stand straight up, with your chest open and keep your head still while talking. Gently move your gaze evenly around the room.

How to dress to impress

If you feel comfortable with the way you look and feel you will immediately exude confidence.

So take a glance at your clothes before you enter the classroom to reassure yourself that you have not got toothpaste on your chin, or your bed head hairstyle!

These tips should put you well on the path of giving you confidence and communicating control in the classroom in a short period of time.

Of course if you have any further tips, we would be delighted to hear them.

Rick Smallwood, Founder teachweb supply teaching agency
Rick Smallwood, founder, teachweb

About the Author: Rick Smallwood is a former chemistry teacher and founder of leading London and the South East supply teaching agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.