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Supply teaching - anyone do / done it? Is it worth the hassle?

(15 Posts)
Clockface Fri 03-Oct-08 18:38:34

I am thinking of having a go at doing some suply teaching. I was a secondary teacher but am now changing career, am studying, doing practical work etc and am thinking that a bit of extra money would be good. I would only want to do one day a week, as I am busy enough as it is! smile

My memories of teaching tell me that supply teachers don't get talked to in the staff room or listened to by the kids. Is that a fair assessment? Or has anyone had a positive experience of supply? If so, what has made it work?

I'd love to hear your experiences, good or bad.

Clockface Fri 03-Oct-08 18:40:19

sorry for typos...and I call myself an English teacher! blush

glinda Fri 03-Oct-08 19:15:23

I am a primary teacher and we have a couple of supply teachers we see most weeks. They are regular enough to be on good terms with the staff and, crucially, to have a relationship with many of the children. This, in my opinion is the only supply teaching that is satisfying as a job. The odd day here and there in different schools just seems to be crowd control.

AbbeyA Fri 03-Oct-08 19:34:05

I think you might find it hard in a secondary school and they often use cover supervisors anyway (a lot cheaper).
I do primary supply and it suits me. It has a lot of disadvantages but it leaves you with time for a life! I don't go through an agency. I only go to a few schools and if I go to a school and don't like it I don't have to go back. The children listen; I have known them a long time, for example I had a year 5 class today and I have had those DCs off and on since reception. If the staff aren't friendly I never go back!

halia Fri 17-Oct-08 10:30:56

I did supply teaching for two terms and chucked it in. Doing the odd day usually means kids throw things at you, teachers ignore you and dump the awful classes onto you and you don't know where the loos/staffroom etc is.

I actually enjoyed the teaching and loved one half term contract with the same kids each week. But daily supply was hard, you were given no respect or support from the school and the agency was always pushing for me to take jobs that were miles away or on days I didn't want to work.

littleoldme Fri 17-Oct-08 19:17:46

Clock face. I'm a teacher and wanting to change carer. what are you changing to, I could do a little inspiration.

I did supply teaching when we returned for a year away . IME if you turn up and are willing to do a half decent job you tend to get the better placements. Lots of supply teachers are not good so if you actually attempt to teach schools will be falling over themselves to ahave you. Take a few wordsearches and worksheets with you. Also, don;t be afraid to turn work down. If the agency will palm off the crap jobs on to people who will take them.

I had loads of positive experiences doing supply and loved not having to work home

mumnosbest Fri 24-Oct-08 00:45:19

I'm doing supply teaching (primary), whilst setting up as a childminder and it suits me fine. I also did it a few years back between jobs. Some schools can be a bit funny with you but most are fine. Discipline is the hardest part, the kids know you're only there for a short while, so there's not much you can do. Just go in 'hard' to start with! I found it works best when you become known to a few local schools. They tend to book you in advance, then you can ignore those annoying early morning/no notice calls! Good Luck
P.S V. qualified Childminder with vacancies in Doncaster, any takers?

SqueakyPop Fri 24-Oct-08 07:58:21

I spent two years doing supply and contract work as I was returning to the profession.

I think it was great experience for me. The days aren't great, but can be OK, and you walk away at the end of the day.

They key thing is to get on the books of one or two good schools, rather than be at the mercy of an agency. That way, you will know the kids/systems, and will be treated well by the regular staff.

Why are you giving up regular teaching, if you don't mind my asking?

AbbeyA Fri 24-Oct-08 08:02:09

The best bit is walking away at the end of the day. The worst is waiting for the phone call-I may still get one for today!
I would say what the others have done-go to schools direct and not an agency.

SqueakyPop Fri 24-Oct-08 08:06:33

I agree, Abbey.

I remember that I was supposed to enjoy supply for its flexibility - if I didn't want to work that day, I wouldn't. But in reality, if the phone rang at 7.45am, I would not turn down the job. Being available and reliable is why I always got the first call.

AbbeyA Fri 24-Oct-08 08:27:53

I don't want it to ring today because I have plans with friends!
The downside is that because I only go to a few schools I feel I can't say 'no' if they ask and I know they are desperate.
I also hate it if they ring now because I arrive with the children and no time to find out what I am doing!
It makes you very adaptable.
The advantage of having schools that I know is that most of the dates are planned in advance and I can sort the day out by email, or pop in, and know what I am doing.

BoffinMum Fri 24-Oct-08 08:31:45

I've done it and it was horrid. However I know one or two people who have built up a good ongoing relationship with a couple of independent schools, and managed to achieve a bit of continuity and sense of achievement at the end of the day. That might be something to think about.

AbbeyA Fri 24-Oct-08 08:35:31

The other advantage of building up a good relationship with only a few schools is that you are first in line for any nice little part time jobs. I get one every so often.

Tigerschick Fri 24-Oct-08 08:46:51

I have done supply now for 5 years (with an 18m break when I was having DD)
To begin with I went through an agency as I was new to the area and didn't know any schools. I did do emergency supply to start with but, after half a term or so, I knew a few schools well enough to have pretty much full time work pre-booked.

I know that it is different from area to area, so I'd find out what the 'system' is near you. Where I started teaching, in Trafford, you didn't leave anything for the supply teacher to do - the thinking being that they were getting paid enough. The downside of this was that the kids often ended up doing next to nothing all day. When I went on supply I was in Milton Keynes and then in Leicester and in both those places, the work is planned and ready for you and you deliver the lesson that the teacher would have done had they been there. The second way is much easier if you on supply!!

I know why people don't like using agencies but I found it very useful to begin with as they already have a relationship with the schools. Also, if you say that you are only available on one particular day a week then they should stick to it and you needn't feel guilty if you turn down work on other days. Also, you get paid a week in arrears instead of monthly.

Good luck with it all smile

SqueakyPop Fri 24-Oct-08 10:17:07

Agencies are very useful to begin with, especially for things like getting your CRB off the ground. You can also get a broad overview for the schools in your area.

The advantage of being with one school is that yuor really do get to know it, and they you. You also get paid a bit more because there is no agency to take their cut.

In secondary, the absent teacher will not know whether it is a teacher-colleague, a cover supervisor, or an supply teacher that is taking their lesson, so they will should leave work that the kids can get on with silently. Most don't mind if you step in and turn their plans into a proper lesson, especially if it is your subject specialism. When I was pre-booked to cover a science teacher, they would be happy for me to do practicals.

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