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Everything a First-Time Supply Teacher Needs to Know Before They Start

About 4 months ago By Alex Schulte

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In the wake of the Omicron wave, supply teachers have become a more important part UK’s education system than ever. Supply teachers are staving off disruption to students’ education by filling the gaps left by the surge in staff absences. That’s why the Department for Education has put out a call to recruit an army of supply teachers.

If you’ve heeded the call and joined the supply pool, you can rest assured that supply teaching is one of the most genuinely rewarding ways to work in education. Yet, like any other route, it presents its own challenges. Regardless of whether you’re providing short-term supply for a day or two, or have signed up to fill in an entire term, preparation will make or break your success.

To help you hit the ground running as a supply teacher, we’ve put together some top tips to take with you into the classroom.

Be early, be prepared

It may sound simple but ensuring you are early to your first day on the job can make a world of difference. An early arrival will give you the space to feel ready and shift your focus onto the day ahead.

All this takes is some simple pre-planning. The night before you start at your new school, make sure to plan out some important aspects of your day like:

  • The route to your new school and how long it will take you to get there

  • Preparing your lunch in case there are no cafes or shops nearby

  • Packing your own stationery just in case there is none available to you

Prepare your own lesson plans

A permanent teacher will often prepare and leave behind some lesson plans for a supply teacher, yet you can’t always count on this being the case. If no planning or preparation has been left behind, you’ll thank your past self for putting together some of your own lesson plans that you can pull out impromptu.

That’s why you should come equipped with a few suitable plans that you can teach across varying year levels and abilities. It would be beneficial to prepare a literacy lesson, one numeracy lesson, and plans covering history, geography and art.

Additionally, there may be times of the day when you will need to fill short gaps, like when your students finish their work early. These moments call for entertaining time fillers to keep your pupils engaged and paying attention at every point in the lesson.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Every school has their own daily processes and methods for classroom management, lesson schedules and other administrative tasks. Upon arrival, make sure to ascertain what these procedures are and anything else important you might need to know.

Your new colleagues will be a font of useful information about the school. They will be able to share a wealth of practical information with you. It’s also the perfect opportunity for a conversational ice breaker.

Maintain routines

Stable routines make schools run smoothly. Your pupils will be used to a certain structure to the school day. It’s up to you to adapt to this and maintain it. While you will, of course, be an unfamiliar face to your class, acknowledging their schedule will help pupils understand that you’re in control.

If you’re unsure about daily routines, consult with permanent members of staff for some pointers on what happens on an average school day.

Protocol Education will help you find great work as a supply teacher

If you’re ready to take on your first day as a supply teacher, Protocol Education is here to help you find a job in a school you’ll love.

We place NQTs, fully qualified teachers and learning support staff in temporary jobs at thousands of schools every year. We will take the time to understand everything you bring to the table and what you want out of a supply role.

Sign up to start working as a supply teacher with Protocol Education.

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