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.