Supply teachers! Over here please!(9 Posts)
I'm starting supply work soon. I've been teaching for nearly 20 years, had a career break and am now getting back into it.
Can you give me some good tips for websites, books and general resources that you find helpful please?
Don't rely on everything you have needing photocopier - sometimes it would be easier getting blood from a stone than the code for the photocopier! Sometimes you get to a school too late to be able to use one anyway (gotta love 8.45 am calls). I've got a few lessons I can do with just a story book to start from (I carry a few of these - they're probably the resource I use the most) and paper to write on - means I've got a failsafe to start the day off with while I scrabble resources together for subsequent lessons or play hunt the planning file.
Most bookings I get the work's planned for anyway - very rare I get unplanned days. The things I use more are the time filler type activities - when work's left that they woosh through ("design a poster" I'm looking at YOU) - so it's things like "I'm thinking of a number with X digits, that's even, a multiple of...", elevens, apple pie type stuff, or quick problems on whiteboards, or stuff like that.
I used to take tonnes of resources out with me - I've gradually relegated so many of them to the car boot it's unbelievable. Big things I get a lot of use out of are things like stickers, a puppet (I do mainly KS1/FS), whiteboard pens that actually work (a rarity by about May), whistle for those weeks where you end up in a different school every day and get yard duty/PE every single day and a few good quality storybooks that you can either use for storytime or the starting point for writing - things like character descriptions, alternative endings and the like (I tend to have a couple of KS1 ones and something like a Horrid Henry that I can use for starting points - further up the school you can get upper KS2 kids to write a story for an infant audience and discuss things like patterned predictable text and having pictures to support the story and the like so they even work with Y6 kids in that sense). I've got a netbook with loads of worksheets and IWB files saved on that I can hook up to the IWB projector if I need to (you quite often find that the laptop that powers the whiteboard is off with the member of staff or you can't find a password - but you can usually guess that anyway) but again, it's a very rarely use one.
There's a million threads on the TES supply teachers forums asking similar (if you tend to scroll back to September/August time they tend to pop up around then).
As a heads-up, if you work through multiple agencies you tend to fall into a position of overpaying tax (cos your tax allowance ends up with one agency so anything else gets taxed at full-whack and if you don't get enough work through one agency to use the allowance... if you get what I mean) so it's worth keeping on top of contacting them and asking them to check if you're owed anything - had a great time a few years ago when they just kept finding money they owed me and then had a wonderfully large rebate cheque through the post the other day as well (the taxman's so much nicer when he's giving ME money).
To warn you - it's the worst year I've ever known it for work bookings.
Thanks, Dejawho, that's really useful info. I'll check out the TES forums. How much work do you get? I'm only looking for 1-2 days a week, I don't want any long term supply.
I'm an NQT so u'll know more than me but there is a great supply pack on the TES resources site that covers different year groups. I use it as a basis and then add to it.
I also keep whiteboards and stickers etc in my pack and a couple of kids poetry books that I use as either time fillers or basis for work.
Having said all that work has been few and far between and I'm registered with 3 different agencies.
I used to (apart from Sept/early Oct which have always been lands of the lost where supply was concerned) have the ability to get 3-4 days a week easily, and more if I actually answered the phone at 7.30am (I'm SHIT at morning calls). Last year it was down to a steady 2-3 days a week, this year since September I've had two half-days... it's a dying way of life.
Last couple of years I've not even used up my entire personal tax allowance on my earnings - hence the 2 grand tax rebate cheque yesterday.
Thanks, I'll look out for that. Have you been around schools with your cv, or do all schools go through agencies now for supply teachers?
It's the gov's fault for promoting the use of teaching assistants to cover, instead of teachers. Saves a lot of money, but T.A.s are not teachers and there should be a difference between "babysitting" a class and teaching and marking planned (or unplanned!) work.
It depends on the LEA you're based in - a very few still have their own LEA supply list but more and more are just contracting everything out to agencies. I was registered with three but one were very very bullying and intimidating (and got me naff all work apart from odd days in absolute hell-holes) so I dropped them last year when my patience finally wore thin. My other two agencies - one generally gets me a lot of work (but they're the honest one and will admit that at the moment it's pretty fucking dreadful) and the other one only ever got me dribs and drabs and do the usual agency thing of lying through their teeth saying that they're really busy when they ain't!
Since the budget cuts really hit though there's less courses, so less planned cover that way, I think there's lots more cover by rearranging TAs and what-not and secondary have seen the rise of the "supply cover supervisor"... basically a nice way to get a supply teacher at half-price. The agency workers regulations coming in also seem to bode pretty ominously for longer term work if you're higher up the payscale - because you'll HAVE to be paid to scale if you work longer than 12 weeks - although agencies seem to be taking different party lines on this one - I was always quite happy to be paid less in return for getting the work to be honest!
It's always really a battle of getting the first few bookings in a school though - once you get known that you've been there before and done a decent job, you tend to be one that the agency will think of again if the school calls back up for another booking and you get linked more and more with a group of schools (which is fab if you get nice ones - life's so much easier when you know a few names and faces and personalities to keep an eye on).
It's a shame it's got so bad really though - I used to love supply - have done it for about 5 years off and on. Get to do all the fun bits of being in front of a class without the extra mountains of stuff that suck your soul (and Sundays) - I used to love the fact I could be out hunting for autumn signs with Reception one day, then doing local history research with Y6 the next day - just so much variety (although Katie flaming Morag five times in a month is a bit much)!
Have you thought about tutoring work? I've found the demand for that's gone insane this year (I seem to be one of only one or two primary bods in my area and my phone's been ringing off the hook)! I do SATs marking but have no guarantee I'll get a contract this year since I mark English and they're going to need less markers because of cutting the writing tests - just a hodgepodge of stuff to pay the bills really.
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