Adding supply teaching to a CV

Dear Jobs Doctor

I’ve been a supply teacher for several years and am now considering moving into permanent work. If I include all the different positions and places I’ve worked at on my CV, it will be pages long. How do I condense this to just two so that includes all the experience I’ve gained? 

  • As you’ve been working as a supply teacher for quite some time, rather than name schools, refer to the agencies you have worked for, including the dates and perhaps type of schools and positions you have worked in most frequently.
  • Supply teaching certainly isn’t the easy option and can offer a lot in terms of professional development; make sure this is reflected on your CV. Think about everything you have gained from doing supply. In your personal statement, use words such as resilience, reflective, engaging, challenging, flexibility, versatility and resourceful. Focus on the skills and experience you have gained from dealing with a wide range of pupils. As a supply teacher you will be self-reliant yet able to work cooperatively with colleagues and are likely to be apt at dealing with difficult situations. Your CV should be tailored to show how your supply work demonstrates what you can bring to a permanent position.
  • Use bullet points to detail your achievements. These could include attributes you have been praised for; refer to past conversations with your agency when they’ve given you feedback from schools. Has your dedication, organisational skills or ability to keep students motivated and engaged been acknowledged? Consider areas that you may have helped with outside your normal teaching duties; as a supply teacher have you helped run any after school activities, lunch-time clubs or charity events?
  • If as a supply teacher, schools requested you by name from your agency, include this on your CV in order to demonstrate you are a reliable and valued worker. If you’ve been repeatedly selected as a long-term substitute for teachers on maternity or medical leave, include this too.
  • Ensure that at least one of your references is from someone you who have previously worked for as a supply teacher; perhaps that person who has made it clear they would appoint you  without hesitation if a vacancy was to arise.




Getting repeat bookings

I’d like to think the pupils in schools I work in not only benefit from my lessons but enjoy them too. How can I make sure I make the same good impression on staff and schools rebook me for future supply work?

Securing supply work can often depend on call backs from schools in which you have made a positive impression. Doing a fantastic job in the classroom is of course important but putting effort in, outside of the class and being seen to go the extra mile will help secure future placements. Here are a few ideas:

·         Smile and be positive! Teachers based in a school on a day-to-day basis can get consumed by school issues and a Supply Teacher can often be seen as a breath of fresh air.
·         Make sure you research your journey to school and arrive in plenty of time. Reliable, organised teachers are top of consultants’ lists.
·         Make yourself a seating plan; ensure your pupils sit in the same place and you’ll soon learn their names and remember their traits.
·         Always have a back-up lesson plan!
·         Volunteer for playground duty or offer up your time if you have a free period. Helpful, pro-active teachers willing to get involved in school life are valuable assets to schools.
·         If you’re covering for a teacher on a short-term basis, perhaps just a day or two, leave a note for them at the end of your assignment detailing the work done, where you got up to in set work, any incidents and whether books were marked. If you’ve covering in a secondary school, just a line or two about each class will help the teacher settle back in and will be appreciated.
·         Treat everyday as an interview.

Make sure you say goodbye and thank the people who have looked after you throughout the day. If your day’s been a success, tell them - schools enjoy getting positive feedback. Make sure you tell them you’d love to come back.


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