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Supply Teachers

(23 Posts)
danro Mon 12-Mar-18 18:54:14

Hi everyone,

I was just wondering if there were any supply teachers on here and how you find it?

I’m an NQT who didn’t secure a permanent position last year so I have been doing short term supply since. I have to say that I am enjoying lots of aspects of supply work but I do sometimes feel as though I’m not part of a ‘team’ and it makes me feel a bit meh about supply! For example, I’ve been in a school for a few weeks on and off now - I know the school really well as I volunteered there one day a week for a few years and I’ve done a lot of supply there since September. Despite this, I never feel fully part of the staff (obviously as I’m not) and although I do get on well with the staff individually, it always seems to be ‘me’ and ‘them’ in the staff room and I do end up just sat on my own with hardly anyone communicating with me. Has anyone else experienced this? I, of course, understand that this is going to happen with supply but sometimes it does get disheartening when all you want to do is to feel ‘part of something’ I suppose!

Anyway, what is everyone else’s thoughts on supply? And permanent teachers, do you find it hard to find a good supply or are you generally happy with the ones you have?

Pengggwn Mon 12-Mar-18 19:46:14

It's hard to get good supply. We've hired some, begged for others not to come back. In general, we're a fairly friendly bunch so if someone is good we quickly forget they're supply and start piling the work on 😂 You know you're 'part of the team' when you're thinking, 'Oh crap, I don't have time time to blow my nose!'

Skatingfastonthinice Mon 12-Mar-18 19:59:27

Love supply work, you need to be friendly, adaptable and self-sufficient. You must be doing it right or they wouldn’t have you back, instant feedback! You aren’t really part of the school, but try chatting about other things. Or mark/prepare at lunch and spend less time in the staff room. There are a number of schools I go in where they are delighted to have me, but unless you are a teacher there, you are still a visitor.
I’m not sure how well I’d have managed as a NQT , are you looking for ft?

moonmaker Mon 12-Mar-18 20:17:05

Supply teacher after having had my own class for 7 years and then finding the work old too much with a baby / 3 dc.
I'm not treated as part of the time at the school where I do most of my supply work in . Nobody refers to me by my name - I'm just 'the supply'. Yet I get repeat bookings and often get asked to do 'favours' out of my job role . I barely get a hello and feel the teachers look down on me . Had a year six child telling me to shut up today because I asked him to get ready for PE.
On the other hand I've worked in some schools where people have been polite , supportive , friendly and kind and the children have been great so I know that today was just an awful day in an awful school . I go to this school as it's very near to where I live - across the road but am starting to think it's not worth how miserable it makes me feel .

moonmaker Mon 12-Mar-18 20:17:49

Sorry for all the typos, putting baby to sleep with one hand and I'm exhausted !

ohreallyohreallyoh Mon 12-Mar-18 20:22:08

It’s hard but just have something positive to say about the school or the class and just keep smiling. You won’t know the in-jokes or sometimes who they’re talking about or what they’re referring to...that’s just part of it. I love it for lots of reasons but am not afraid to plonk myself next to a group and join in where I get what’s being discussed. Otherwise, nod and smile, nod and smile. Support staff are often friendlier cos they’re less stressed, I find.

danro Mon 12-Mar-18 20:24:07

@Penggwn I can imagine that it’s tricky to find a good one as a school when there are so many agencies etc around at the moment! Haha yes I have had a few of those moments I suppose in a few schools! I don’t know, perhaps I’m over-thinking it! The schools are generally friendly, like yourselves, I suppose it’s just that wanting what you don’t have and feeling like you want to be a member of staff there! Then again, maybe some of permanent teachers are envy of my position being a supply and getting the work done then leaving! Swings and roundabouts I suppose isn’t it smile

@Skatingfastonthinice - thanks for the advice, definitely agree that you need to be all of those things! I suppose I am still learning in that sense to be more self sufficient and perhaps rely less on others! And yes I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there, some schools do seem pleased to have me and keep asking for me back but I very much feel like a visitor still!
I am looking for FT but I am in a part of the country (South Wales) where there’s not that many teacher posts at the moment, particularly permanent jobs. So I’m looking but at the moment supply does suit my lifestyle in terms of flexibility etc so I suppose it’s just a case of weighing up pros and cons of supply v ft!

danro Mon 12-Mar-18 20:30:12

@moonmaker - yes I do get ‘the supply’ a lot, I find it frustrating when I’m in a school I’ve been to a few times and I can even see my name up on the agenda board etc and I still get referred to as ‘the supply’ to my face. I completely understand if I’m in a school once for a day and never again, but this was a school I had been to fairly regularly and it would have taken two seconds to ask for my name. Yes I think you do need to think whether it’s worth it for the convenience if it’s making you feel like that! I know a lot of people say that it’s ‘only a day’ but it can feel like a lifetime in a bad school can’t it?

@ohreallyohreallyoh thank you for all the tips, will definitely take them on board! Maybe I need to be a bit more confident sometimes and try and join in/start a conversation! smile

storynanny Mon 12-Mar-18 20:31:18

Hello there, good luck with your future supply. Use it as extra training opportunity, observe the good and the bad!
I always offer to do playground duty, thank appreciatively the TA, tidy the room afterwards and write a short consise note for the class teacher
If you have a particular skill, offer it. For example I am a pianist and always offered to play for assembly, singing time etc.
I also found it useful to have fun story/singing books in my supply bag and often children would greet me with “ have you brought the xxxxx book today?”
You will look back on this experience and when you are a full time member of staff, will be lovely to the supply!

moonmaker Mon 12-Mar-18 20:37:54

@danro I'm here for the rest of the week and don't think I can cope blush

MiaowTheCat Tue 13-Mar-18 07:45:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Skatingfastonthinice Tue 13-Mar-18 07:50:23

I just figure I’m being paid to make everyone’s day easier rather than harder, and being emotionally needy doesn’t. Happy to be ignored, means there’s not a problem.

danro Tue 13-Mar-18 20:04:58

@storynanng Thank you for all your advice! I certainly see it all as good experience for the future! And will definitely always be as friendly as possible to supply teachers haha!

@moonmaker - oh no! I hope your day was better today!

@MiaowTheCat thank you for your insight! Yes it is nice (and surprising) to be referred to by your actual name! And I think that reaction from the TA definitely says it all!

I agree with the ‘tough’ schools thing too, to be fair, most of the schools in my area would be classed as tough schools as it is a deprived area. However, I’ve gone to some of the ‘better’ schools in the area and have also found them to be more unfriendly so it doesn’t matter whether it’s good school or not - for me it’s all about the staff!

Wow! How rude are those staff saying that as you’re sat there! Sometimes you do just have to laugh I suppose!

I completely agree with your last paragraph! It is a lonely job, particularly day to day/short term supply but it is also part of the job which I do completely understand!
The school I have been in recently have asked me back again for part of next week and the week after so I must be doing something right! I guess I’ll have to wait until I’m a permanent teacher for that ‘team’ feeling! smile

DressAndGo Tue 13-Mar-18 20:09:36

In general, we're a fairly friendly bunch so if someone is good we quickly forget they're supply and start piling the work on 😂 You know you're 'part of the team' when you're thinking, 'Oh crap, I don't have time time to blow my nose!'

You do realise that supply teachers are paid an absolute pittance (the agency creams off the pay) and they get no holiday and sick pay? It's not on to pile work on unless you pay them properly for it.

storynanny Tue 13-Mar-18 20:35:28

Holiday pay is included in daily rate if you are employed directly by the school and therefore your county council. I was shocked at the daily rate paid by agencies and only worked directly myself, but I know this practice is coming to an end. To save money of course. As a former senco and upper threshold 3 teacher with 38 years behind me I was on a high daily rate but was appreciated and considered good value for money as I was so old ( experienced!) this ended as I was finishing last year to retire. I was offered supply at a lower rate if I wanted to continue, 40% less. The admin office told me it was because supply teachers dont work as hard.... well thresholds 1,2,3 were originally brought in to keep good experienced teachers in the classroom and not become headteachers or similar.
I do feel I earned my money, was flexible, could follow plans at no notice or do my own, always marked according to the school plan, offered to do all the duties and take assembles etc.
Good supply teachers get asked back and can offer a lot to schools.
You will certainly gain a good insight as to which schools in your atea you would like to work in.

storynanny Tue 13-Mar-18 20:35:38


DressAndGo Tue 13-Mar-18 20:52:36

Holiday pay is included in daily rate when that daily rate can be as little as £100 per day before tax, it highlights what a cop out this phrase is.

DressAndGo Tue 13-Mar-18 20:53:36

^not from you per se, but from the agencies that put it in (not all areas have LEA supply pools).

DressAndGo Tue 13-Mar-18 20:55:22

admin office told me it was because supply teachers dont work as hard....

And that's a joke. Their work is different and they have less of the crap, but it is balanced out by the way their job works.

moonmaker Tue 13-Mar-18 21:18:29

Pile the work on - ha! Just goes to show supply staff are exploited by both schools and agencies . Since we have no guarantee of work we often are willing to please so we can increase our chances of repeat bookings. Teachers catch on to this willing attitude and dump us with work that is beyond our remit . Speaking from experience and I need to learn to say NO.

Skatingfastonthinice Wed 14-Mar-18 05:38:11

I agree about the pay, working through an agency, I earn just over half what I used to. But I needed the freedom, flexibility and my weekends and holidays to myself. No schools round here employ supply directly, it’s all through agencies as it’s so much easier for them.

Harvestmoonsobig Wed 14-Mar-18 19:08:05

supply here

always been made to feel welcome and appreciated.

Downside- about to withdraw from a booking because the workload = 12 hour day for £120 per day. 😬

storynanny Thu 15-Mar-18 12:13:46

Re the being anonymous , I used to write my name on the standard issue supply badge I was given. Also, if I was on the staffroom white board as " supply in year 1 today" I used to add my name to it! I hate being invisible and always made my supply teachers feel welcome so it was initially a bit of a shock. If I went to schools regularly I kept the name badges and reused them so I was always a " named" member of staff!

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