Supply Teaching – Benefits and Challenges

The Benefits of Supply Teaching

Supply Teachers play a crucial role in every school, covering for teachers who are ill, absent or on training courses. Whilst the role of a supply teacher is hard work it can be a very rewarding and satisfying teaching job. Many teachers are leaving permanent jobs to do supply teaching as a flexible alternative.

Supply teaching enables you to actually enjoy classroom teaching without the burden of paperwork and administration. Your workload and responsibilities are considerably reduced so you can concentrate on preparation and planning.

Some teachers choose to change to supply teaching so they can take a step back from a class based position and re assess their teaching career. This period of ‘time out’ enables teachers to decide whether a return to a permanent role is the best choice for them. Supply teaching offers teachers have the experience of teaching in a wide range of schools. Those teachers on the upper end of the age range and on the horizon of retirement often use supply teaching as a way to transition from fulltime to part-time work thus creating a more equal work-life balance.

The Challenges of Supply Teaching

Supply teachers do require a skills set that will enable them to teach in a challenging pupils and sometimes stressful school environments.

CCES will offer you a variety of work opportunities but ultimately decision as to where you work always lies with you therefore you will only be placed in to schools that suit your teaching style and skills.

There are some key issues that supply teachers encounter when teaching in a new school for the first time:

An initial lack of knowledge regarding a school’s behaviour policy can sometimes pose a problem but as we always suggest a prompt meeting with the member of staff responsible for supply cover soon solves that problem.

Initially, you may feel that you have limited information on pupils you will be teaching but that situation changes as you return to schools and to classes.

Unlike the role of a classroom teacher supply teachers are unable to follow up on the children’s learning this may be frustrating but is often offset by the lacking of marking and preparation responsibility.

Each school you visit as a supply teacher will have its own culture and ethos. For some supply teachers this is a breath of fresh air but for others they struggle with each school’s ‘staffroom politics’ and the different ‘way things are done’ approach in each school.

As Bob Hoskins used to say ‘It is good to talk’ the most important thing to do is to ask questions and find out as much information as you can. Good communication is vitally important if you wish to be given the support that you need.

If a registered teacher encounters any difficulties or challenges in a school or with the general nature of supply teaching, help and support is always available at the end of a phone.