supply teachers and bands. What they have in commonIn my day job I am a supply teaching recruitment consultant. Yet last night, ‘Matthew’ I was a rock star.

I should explain. Earlier this year I joined a new band. Last week we performed our first gig.

It was both nerve racking and thrilling. Indeed it reminded me of what it was like to stand up in front of a new class for the first time.

Following the gig and our debrief, I started thinking about what new supply teachers can do to minimise the uncertainty and maximise the things they can control to reduce their stress levels. Here are 3 strategies I came up with:

Hit the ground running with unfamiliar equipment

When we arrived to perform our first gig, my band found itself sharing equipment left by the previous band. I needed to be able to pick up where the last band had left off and hit the ground running.

Similarly supply teachers have to pick up where previous teachers left off. Therefore I recommend supply teachers prepare themselves to be not too reliant on specific pieces of teaching kit. In fact supply teachers should prepare themselves for the unexpected.

Coping with nerves

This first gig I performed with my new band was the first gig I had performed in front of a live audience in over 20 years. I have to admit I got really nervous.

However this was when my teaching experience came in handy. I understood that my nerves were actually a positive thing as they helped me to keep alert.

Try to enjoy the teaching experience. Our previous post on using body language to your advantage may also help you.

Laying the stage

When my band rehearses we are able to stand in a formation that enables us to look at one another and to give each other cues. When we took our positions in front of our audience, I realised we couldn’t do this. This threw me somewhat. As a result I realised the importance of rehearsing in full gig configuration.

It’s the same with teaching a new class. Rehearse your lesson plans. Make sure you know them inside out. Knowing your material inside and out will ensure whatever the layout/size of the classroom, you will feel comfortable.

So you see, supply teachers can learn a lot from new pop bands. Ultimately the success of both comes down to practice. I hope you enjoyed this post and would welcome your comments.

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 teacher agency teachweb. He has a proven track record of matching the right teachers to the right vacancy.

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