When you are supply teaching you will embark on a new adventure every day.

You will encounter new people, new routines and new challenges.

Not every teacher is cut out for supply teaching.

Then again not every supply teacher is cut out for full time teaching.

Take our test to find out whether supply teaching is right for you.

1. Can you get out of bed on the right side, on the bright side… every day?

Can you leave home at 7:30am looking smart, with a travel card and a bright and breezy attitude?

Your can expect to receive most supply teaching daily calls between 7:20am and 7:40am.

2. Do you have a good memory for names?

As a supply teacher you will need to be able to build a rapport with your students quickly. Learning your students’ names will immediately gain you respect. Students love it when supply teachers know their names. The more you know about each other the more comfortable you and your students will feel working together.

Are you adept at picking your battles wisely?

As a supply teacher you may well be regarded as ‘the invisible person’. Although enforcing rules you disagree with is important, as a temporary member of staff, trying to enforce every rule may lead you to battles you cannot possibly win. For example keeping a year 11 class cleaning the room at break on your first meeting.

Also you should remember you may not have the opportunity to follow up sanctions you have given.

Start your day by getting to grips with the rules you are expected to follow. Then use your initiative to enforce the rules you know will help you to run your class smoothly.

Can you grasp core elements of lessons fast?

Can you bring some of your general knowledge into a variety of subjects to give life to a stack of photocopied sheets? Great, then you will hit ground running.

Can you teach when you are tired?

Let’s be honest, there will always be days when you feel too tired to face a sea of new faces. It’s only natural.

Can you dig deep to get the energy you need to engage your students when all you feel like doing is tucking up in a fleece sleeping bag in front of a box set of Game of Thrones?

Follow these simple rules and you will soon feel energised again.

    • Make sure you get plenty of sleep.
    • Eat 3 square meals a day.
    • Get plenty of exercise.
    • Give yourself time to switch off. (Yup, that means unplugging all those distracting devices).

If you are a person seeking a flexible way of working and one that also embraces change, then supply teaching offers many benefits. You are guaranteed to broaden your teaching experiences and with those you will enhance your career prospects.

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.

secondary school supply teaching appIf ever there was a job where you are expected to hit the ground running, it is secondary school supply teaching.

On a good assignment, you turn up and are fully briefed and resourced.

Yet on a challenging assignment, you could:

  • Be thrown in at the deep end.
  • Be expected to engage a class of 30 from the word go.
  • Not know where to find the resources you need to be able to complete your tasks.
  • Be presented with a plethora of excuses and objections from students.

Luckily you live in the age of the app. Whatever your secondary school supply teaching challenge, know that there is bound to be an app for that.

Here are my top 5 apps for making your teaching life considerably easier.

1.   OneNote

Copywriters use swipe files to gather templates for inspiration. Take a leaf out of their books and gather thoughts and ideas from all of your teaching experiences. Clip useful pages from the Internet. Take pictures of your best whiteboards. Save useful emails. Then access them across your devices.

2.   ClassBreak

This app has been specifically designed for teachers by teachers. It gives you all the information you need for getting to know a new class right through to filling in twenty minutes at the end of the day with a fun game. According to the app manufacturers ClassBreak is: “Perfect if you have been given a late replacement class or the activity you planned for did not take the entire lesson.”

3.   Focus Booster

Keep track of time. Send notifications to remind you when it is assembly time. Uses the ‘Pomodoro’ (yes tomato!) technique to time manage your day. The method involves short periods of attention followed by quick breaks. Perfect for the teaching day.

4.   PE Shake

Have you been put in charge of a PE class? Stuck for warm up ideas? PE Shake has 100 PE warm up games that are easy to set up and require minimal equipment. Games are suitable for both primary and secondary school students.

5.  Easy PD

Never again will you need to keep extensive paperwork. Capture and record your teaching assignments. Easily record your personal development. Also upload photographic evidence. Supply teaching is great for new teachers trying to gain experience. This is the perfect app for recording your achievements.

In this post I have simply picked 5 of my favourite apps for secondary school supply teaching. I know that there are many more out there.

Please do let us know if there is an app that is transforming your teaching day. We would love to share it.

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.