Recipe for the Perfect Supply Teacher by Marie Linehan

Having worked in compliance administration within education recruitment for the past four years, I've seen my fair share of the ups, downs, ins and outs of the sector! I have the great fortune of seeing the recruitment process from start to finish, from the eyes of the consultant, the supply teacher and of course, our schools.

From the joy of getting our hands on your CV, the excitement of finally meeting you face to face, the anticipation of hearing back from you about your availability for supply roles, to sending you out on your first day... It's a fast moving industry, so buckle up and get ready!

In order to make the perfect supply teacher, a few key ingredients are required. The finished recipe will bring an overwhelming amount of satisfaction... that's a guarantee!

Serves 3 (supply teacher, agency and school)

1. A cup of documents at the ready. These play a major role in the texture...

From my experience, the most common delay in placing a teacher in to a supply role is their incomplete safeguarding.

In June 2013, the Disclosure and Barring Service launched the update service to every Compliance Administrators delight! The service, allows you to re-use your disclosure from employer to employer for a subscription fee of £13 per year. You have 19 days to subscribe to the service from your disclosures issue date.

Although at first, this service was seen to many as a money racket, the bottom line is that it will speed your registration process up drastically and most importantly, it avoids you having to apply for a new DBS. Mix together and chill......

2. Preparing your work station gives a highly driven and respected look to the recipe...

Ensure that you obtain as much detail about the class you will be covering from your consultant. If you are unclear what is expected of you, ask your agency to find out more details from the school. What year group will you be teaching? How will the lesson(s) run? How should you prepare? Do some homework on the school beforehand so that you are as prepared as you possibly can be.

3. A pinch of flexibility adds a twist to the taste...

Supply teaching is about being flexible, however if you have some non-negotiables, it's is best to discuss these with your agency at the earliest opportunity. It can be dis-heartening for a consultant to find you what they think will be the perfect role, only to find out that you never intended to work on Fridays, or you won't travel for more than 30 minutes every day.

Be open an honest about what you are looking for, whilst being as flexible as you possibly you can.

4. An ounce of communication brings out the favourable taste of success...

Keep in touch with your agency on a regular basis. Build a strong connection with your consultant by returning their calls and emails especially during your lunch break as this is the time when many supply roles are filled.

5. A cup full of good impression will go down a treat. The overall outcome would be very bland without it...

There is a strong possibility that you will be requested back to the school if you make the right impression, so it's worth going that extra mile. It takes just a quick glance, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time.

Be prepared and be at least 15 minutes early every day. That way, if you are running late, you will still be on time. Take a map and plan your journey the night before. Your consultant should be very familiar with the schools location, so ask them to advise you on the best route to take.

As the saying goes, "smile and the world smiles too." There's nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. Smiling is a winner!

Introduce yourself to other staff members and leave a note at the end of the day to the returning teacher. Inform her of the work covered and any other details that she should be aware of from the day. IT's a small gesture, but it can make a big difference to the impression that you leave.

Above all, enjoy your time whilst supply teaching and be open to the experience. You never know which doors it could open!

Best of luck!

Marie works for A* Star Teachers in London

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