Supply teacher interview: Rachael MacLeod

Rachael MacLeod tells anyone thinking of getting into supply teaching to just do it!
Bear Heart and Owl
Why and how did you get into supply teaching?

I trained to be a teacher! I was unsuccessful at interview and when I found a school who took me on during my NQT they let me down a bit and it knocked my confidence. I've always found interview difficult but doing supply has brought me many opportunities and I always have something to add into a conversation.

How did you go about finding and choosing an agency?

At my last placement school I enquired who they used and registered so I could continue working in that school. When that agency couldn't offer me enough work I applied for a few different ones. I'm with 4 now and that's enough, anymore and it begins to get overwhelming with phone calls!

The day-to-day life of a supply teacher... How do you find it?

I prefer long term! But day-to-day has kept me going. I've worked in a variety of schools. I hate sitting by the phone in the morning not knowing if I'm going to be working or not but sometimes it needs to be done. I always have the choice of not picking up the phone! I'm pretty open minded with where I go but as the years go by I have preferences - you need to make these clear to your agencies as even when they know they still try to convince you it's only once! I don't mind half days but 2 half days in different schools is very tricky!!

What do you take with you on assignment?

I have a supply bag: a folder with something for maths, literacy and topic for all years, a reading book, a pencil case, stickers, diary and packed lunch with a drink!

What have you found are the disadvantages of supply teaching?

Long or short term I miss out on training and sometimes observations.
Because I move about every term or two I hardly ever see anything through so if I do have a target set by one school I might not have time to meet it or a new policy/program in its early stages, I might not get to see how successful it was.
Also, I get paid less!
Because I have some gaps where I haven't had any work on, I'm behind where I should, be plus working holidays on supply seems unfair as you put the work in but you don't paid for it. Summer is painful!

Do you have any advice for those thinking of going into supply teaching?
Bear Heart and Owl

Do it! Even if it doesn't work out it's great experience. It's great having a nosy in schools! You meet a range of children and will be surprised in yourself how well you can cope in different situations.

Like many supply teachers, you earn additional income from other sources. Tell us about Bear Heart and Owl!

I started up a craft business in 2013 to fill in the gaps of supply and keep me occupied when not working. It's great on long term too because it's something to go to so not to spend too much time on work. You definitely need a release! I set up a facebook page and do craft fairs. I do a really big one in August which fills up my time during the holidays, and it pays!

Who would be the ultimate supply teacher and why? When this question was asked in the States a few years back, Bono was voted favourite!

Hmmm not Bono! I can't think of anyone famous because they're usually good at one thing and to be an ULTIMATE supply teacher you need to be an all-rounder! So I'd say someone like me (an ordinary person) who loves to teach and loves children, is willing and flexible and knows a lot of little things to get you through any topic! Or... maybe someone like Michael Rosen or Pie Corbett, not sure what they're get done but the kids with have loads of fun!

And finally, what is your favourite supply teacher resource?

Twinkl... and stickers, stamps, a whistle or a good book!


Bear Heart and Owl

Bear Heart and Owl









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