Any supply teachers got some top tips?

(14 Posts)
TheCharWoman Mon 02-Sep-13 21:22:16

I signed up with a supply agency in July, and just realised that now that schools are starting again I could actually get The Call (or The Text)! Aargh! I've been a sahm for the last few years, and never done supply.

So anyone got any tips to reassure me?
Thanks!

exoticfruits Mon 02-Sep-13 21:32:18

Are you primary?

meala Mon 02-Sep-13 21:32:27

Hi.
Take lunch, you never know what food facilities will be like.
Find out essentials when you arrive. Lots of places won't think to give you info on discipline policies, wherestaff room and toilets are etc.
Have something for you to do (prob more relevant in secondary). It is very boring if you are supervising indeopendent work in a subject of which you have no knowledge.
Ask kids for advice if you need it. They're usually really helpful if uou ask for directions, advice on school policies. Don't be afraid to ask for help and admit that you're new. The kids know this anyway.

Hope you get on well

HumphreyCobbler Mon 02-Sep-13 21:38:51

I did supply in primary for a while, I really liked it. Be confident, don't moan when you are on playground duty all the time, don't be afraid to get the children to explain routines etc to you. Take some relevant activity for all age groups with you so that you can always do something meaningful if there is not work left (this is unlikely, teachers now are always desperate to make sure their planning is carried out). When you leave check that there is nothing else people would like you to do. Speak to the secretary on the way out and say what a lovely day you have had - it is the secretary who will ask the agency for you again. Always leave a clear note explaining what went on for the class teacher.

Once you get used to dealing with the newness of it all it is easy work compared to having your own class.

TheCharWoman Mon 02-Sep-13 21:40:09

Secondary humanities! Thanks, these are good tips. Hadn't thought about taking anything to do or read. Do you take any classwork with you in case no cover work has been set? My agency suggested some teachers do this but I can't think what I'd take ..,

meala Mon 02-Sep-13 21:51:54

I usually take a pendrive with loads of lessons on various topics that I can use if necessary. Its sometimes good to have a fun activity to do at theits much less stressful to have your own.end of the lesson. Some good websites, subject specific games or puzzles.

I would take something you could use as a fall back for an unfortunate case of no work left and noone able to help. I've got some quizzes on my subject at various difficulty levels that can be used as a fill in. I've also got some teachers tv style films downloaded (all public domain and legal) that I can show.

Take plenty of pencils, sharpeners, rubbers. Even if a class has a good supply of these, they can be locked away or noone knows where to find them, I

meala Mon 02-Sep-13 21:53:25

Don't know what happened with that post. Typing on a tablet is not my strong point. The last sentence seems to have jumped into the middle of paragraph one, sorry.

dopeysheep Mon 02-Sep-13 21:58:04

Arrive early and ask beg plead jump through hoops for I.T to give you a login code. Otherwise you are stuffed and often have no whiteboard at all if you can't access the classroom computer.
Take biscuits.

exoticfruits Mon 02-Sep-13 22:34:56

I was primary,which is quite different, but having spare pencils etc is a good tip. I always had something to do if no work was set. I always left notes for the teacher on what I did and how it went.
Have a school bag packed ready for the phone call.

NotAsTired Tue 03-Sep-13 20:39:31

All good advice re: school.

In terms of supply agency:

Text them in the morning to say you are available - they will more likely give you a call because they remember your name from the text.

Always be positive about the school/classes unless it was dreadful, in which case, let them know you will not be working in that school again.

If you are booked for a certain date or a block of days by agency A and you are also signed with Agency B and C, let B and C know you are not available on those dates. When I used to get a morning call, I always let the other agencies know that I was no longer available.

I've been supplying for about four yrs now but I have gotten used to getting long term supply. I am dreading going back to day to day. Actually, I don't take morning calls: all my supply days are pre-booked.

manyhands Wed 04-Sep-13 08:46:51

Was there lots of work available? I've read elsewhere that supply work has dried up? I'm primary, west Lancashire.

SamBob Fri 06-Sep-13 19:16:04

When you call the register jot down a seating plan. Make sure the students know you've done it. I find it so much easier to manage behavior when you can use their names.

MiaowTheCat Mon 09-Sep-13 10:40:02

I did primary for years till the work did dry up pretty badly.

First, any agency is only as good as whoever is working your desk. Get to know them and build up a rapport but remember the staff turnover in agencies can be pretty bad so don't rely on one. Likewise though, don't go nuts and pay out a fortune for endless crbs and join loads. I tended to flit between 2-3 and kept busy enough, and I was picky about bookings I took (would rather turn stuff down than do a shit job)

If you live on the border of LEAs keep track of term dates for them all. I regularly could get extra income during half terms by working over the border in the next door LEA that week. Living on the boundary of four, one with bonkers term dates has its perks!

Always have a plan b if you can't get stuff photocopied or PC access. Some school networks are so locked down you can't open a flash drive on a supply account, or are such virus rocked pieces of crap you wouldn't want to!

The politics of some staff rooms regarding tea, mugs and seats would challenge the UN! I found smiling and asking stopped potential upset - sometimes it can simply take your face not fitting for negative feedback to your agency - it can be really unfair so don't take the ridiculous ones to heart. Sometimes you are just set up to fail in terms of being expected to know that assembly times change on the 22nd of the month compared to the timetable you were given.

Oh and take some whiteboard pens you know work, because by about May you're highly unlikely to find any in the average school that do!

I actually loved doing supply- so much variety, so much really having to be on the ball, and if you get a school of horrors and rude staff, you never have to go back there again. I got hunted down a couple of times by heads I'd met doing supply to do longer term contracts so it can open doors.

Always found being in the middle of tescos was a guaranteed way to make my phone ring- take your diary or pen and paper out with you cos job confirmation emails often took a couple of days to arrive and had hazy details at best. Oh and double check school names, have been caught out a couple of times with merged or recently academised schools where I've been told the wrong name compared to the board outside the school. Not fun at 8am!

guggenheim Thu 12-Sep-13 13:49:28

Hi,

I really enjoy supply teaching, I've been to some great schools.
I use a simple green circle/ red circle behaviour code and tell the children they need to have more green then red stars by the end of the day. If they achieve this then they all get house points or marbles in the jar- what ever they have as a reward system. Most classes respond really well to this. I take my own flask and try to say something nice to the TA and teacher.

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