Thoughts on Supply Teaching - by Maerad

I am motivated to write this following a brief baptism of fire into the UK supply teaching world!

Having taught for more than 32 years, the last 11 abroad, I returned to the UK 6 months short of taking early retirement at 55 - a benefit of the excellent salaries and savings I have made in the last decade. I decided to do a bit of supply teaching in the meantime, wrongly thinking it might be fun. My view of it was based on the 3 lovely people who used to come to the school I worked at before escaping abroad. They were regulars, welcomed, valued, respected by staff and pupils alike.

My first day reminded me exactly why I quit the country to teach abroad. In total I have done 2 days teaching in a Y3/4 class and 1 in a Y6 class, in the same school, which is enough to make me realise that the entire system is set up to make you fail, or at least make it as hard as possible for you to succeed, before you have even walked through the front door!

Now, I do realise that things may get better if you pick only the nicest schools to work in or you choose a small group of schools and get well known in them. I have the luxury to do this. Or not bother at all.

So what are the problems?

1. The name:

The very term 'supply teacher' seems to have negative connotations as a quick surf of the internet brought home. The permanent teachers in the school I visited clearly had little respect for me. The children [OK this IS a school with many problem children anyway] also think badly of them - I said good morning and one boy shouted back 'I hate you - I hate supply teachers!'. Maybe there is a better name? Emergency teacher? Guest teacher? Visiting teacher? However, changing the name will not, of itself, improve matters.

2. The inverse logic of everything:

The whole set-up is such that the supply teacher has to fit into the school and class. This means there are dozens of small but key points that can trip you up and, of course, the kids are on he lookout for the slightest excuse to pounce because you don't know something. It may be how the reward/punishment system works [this school had a convoluted one that involved handing out rewards like confetti and inching through a series of 'looks', reminders and warnings until eventually you arrived at losing a whole 2 minutes from playtime for when the child had failed to desist the undesirable or be on task 8 times], the groupings for each subject, which guided reading book and where everything is kept.... ENOUGH!

So, IF I go into another school it will be on my own terms. the class and room will be MINE for the day. I am in MY shoes, not someone else's. The rules will be MINE. The rewards and sanctions will be MINE [both distributed firmly but fairly]. The work will be MINE.

The 1st day was an unmitigated disaster as I tried hard to follow 'supply teacher convention'.

The 2nd and 3rd days I discovered, by talking to the children, that they thought I was doing supply as I was a poor teacher who could not get a proper job. I wowed them with tales of my exploits abroad and then 'taught' them the timetabled subjects in a very didactic, whole class way. That got their attention and one girl at the end of the day told me that I seemed to know an awful lot about all sorts of things. Those 2 days it was bums on seats and me performing in front of them the whole time. No chance to get up and wander round, gossip, be silly etc. Crucially, I knew what I was doing as I had planned it. Any reference to 'Mrs X does it this way' got 'Well I am not Mrs X' response.

The sad thing is, that I now have the respect of those kids and could go back in and teach. But I won't, because I can choose not to. I can refuse to bang my head against a brick wall. I can refuse to be subjected to the 'Mummy Up!' type kids [from a recent tv nanny programme] who I also think of as having 'parently challenged' behaviour. I'm not an NQT struggling to get a first job.

Will I try it again? Maybe.... but ONLY if the school I go into already has a positive attitude to supply teachers and nice kids that will appreciate a visiting teacher. Those of you who have made a successful career out of it, I take my hat off to you. Those doing it as a penance towards getting a permanent job, I feel for you. But you all need to stand up and be counted to demand the respect you deserve. Maybe we should demand that every permanent teacher, heads included, has to do a month 'on supply' as part of CPD? Then they would know what those shoes feel like.



Interview with... Sarah Priest

Former supply teacher Sarah, aka Footie, tells us not to take the bad days personally!

Interview with a supply teacher - SarahWhy did you get into supply teaching?

I initially became a supply teacher when my contract at a primary school ended and being an NQT I was eager to gain more experience to add to my CV.

How did you get into supply teaching?

I applied to a number of different supply agencies, as well as what was the County Supply List. Once I had been approved to join the County Supply List I wrote to and emailed every primary, first and middle school within the local area. This led to me getting known in my local area and gaining a regular bank of three/four schools where I was their regular supply teacher.

What did you take with you on assignment?

I had a folder full of a variety of different activities for different subjects, activity books, theme ideas books and a selection of story just in case there was no planning left. Plus a selection of blank paper, spare pens, pencils, water and my lunch!

How did you ensure you'd be called back to work at that school?

I always made sure I was there early to give myself time to familiarise myself with the school, introduce myself to relevant members of staff and get to my classroom. Once in the class I ensured the students knew the expectations of them, that I expected good behaviour and work from them. At the end of the day all the work was marked, a detailed hand over sheet was left for the teacher and I made a point of finding the office staff/person responsible for booking me to thank them for having me and letting them know I had had a good day.

Story Time!

I had a nightmare in a year two class. It was in a less affluent area and the area was known for being difficult (both adults and children). The class were terrible, never sat still, constantly talked and fought and none of my behaviour strategies worked. By morning play I was ready to cry and go home... Until the TA came up to me and said "You are doing a great job with them, they are like this, if not worse, with their class teacher and she is the deputy head!" I stuck it out for the day but needless to say I never went back!

Do you have any advice for those wishing to be a supply teacher?

Be prepared for anything! I always had my bag packed with my emergency supplies, a map book, my lunch and a fully charged mobile. Always make sure that your agencies/schools know your availability for the week - if they don't know they can't contact you! Always give yourself a cut off time, if I didn't get a call by 9:30 I would pick up my gym bag (packed the night before at the same time as my school bag and both left in the hall) and head off down the gym for a few hours. A watched phone doesn't ring! Most importantly, don't take bad days personally, it is hard and draining going into different schools and classes every day, bad classes can be incredibly draining, but just remember you only have them for a day and can refuse to have them again, the class teacher has them for the whole year!

What did you learn from being a supply teacher?

I learned a great deal about myself and schools being a supply teacher. I learned I could teach well across both key stage one and key stage two. This improved my confidence and I found going into unknown schools much easier. My behaviour strategies became much better and I gained extra ones! I learned to become resilient, learning to put bad days behind me and look at each day as a new day and start afresh. I began to see which schools in the local area I liked and I would like to work in and ones that we not for me.

How could the lives of supply teachers be improved?

I personally found supply teaching very isolating until I found the Supply Forum run by Nutty and gained great support and advice from the posters, becoming firm friends with a number of them. Locally however, there was very little support. I was lucky in that the schools I went to allowed me into the staff rooms and my regular ones came to see me as a member of their team.

Who would be the ultimate supply teacher and why?

Besides myself ;-) I think the ultimate supply teacher would be someone who could inspire the class, engaging them in the work and making them see learning is a lifelong fun journey to embark on.


Sarah is now an Independent Living Tutor working with adults with physical and learning difficulties.  Sarah is co-author of two books for FS2 / KS1 supply teachers for sale at and on Amazon. In her spare time, Sarah creates patchwork items which you can view here:

Interview with... Katie, an NQT on supply

Interview with... Katie, an NQT on supplyKatie talks to us about being an NQT working as a supply teacher, and juggling multiple agencies!

How and why did you get into supply teaching?

Having completed my final placement at the start of December, I did not want to be away from the classroom from then to September. Supply teaching seemed the best solution to providing me with teaching experience and developing my behaviour management strategies.

How did you choose which agencies to register with?

A teacher at my placement school recommended a few agencies and then I asked around my NQT friends to see who they had been with previously. I also searched online for the top results, then applied through the websites once I had an up-to-date CV. I contacted quite a few agencies as I was not sure what to expect and whether many would take me as I don't yet officially have QTS (I graduate in July). Three agencies got in touch and I've worked for them all over the past few months. Some seem much busier than others and being with three agencies has provided the best chance of being able to work on my free days.

What have you learned from working with your teaching agencies?

The importance of keeping my availability diary up-to-date and remembering to submit my expenses, particularly with juggling three agencies. I've also learnt that I should check what cut of my pay the agency takes as for one agency in particular my final pay was quite a shock when I received my first pay slip.

How do you ensure you'll be called back to work at a school?

Simply by putting as much effort into teaching that class as I would my own, including the marking! Each time I supply I aim to stick to the children's usual routine as much as possible and I make sure that I speak to any staff I encounter, but don't sit in the staff room chatting. If I have a TA I make sure they understand how much I value their expertise and at the end of every day I provide full written feedback for the teacher and verbal feedback to the staff in the office. Basically, I do everything that I would want somebody covering my class would do.

How do you feel working as a supply teacher is preparing you for your NQT year?

Behaviour management has been a big development point for me! On placement I've often thought that the children might not listen to me until they've gotten to know me. With day-to-day supply that isn't an option. I have to maintain control from the second I enter that room. Additionally, it's the first time I've properly had a class to myself for a full day, without a class teacher to fall back on or direct parents to at the end of the day. I now have a much greater confidence in my own abilities and a bank of ideas for teaching, displays and classroom management ready for September. I believe that all of these shall contribute to me 'hitting the ground running' for my NQT year.

Have you any advice for trainee teachers thinking of doing supply teaching before their NQT year starts?

DO IT! By far the best thing I could have done. It has boosted my confidence so much for September and I have been able to get so many ideas for displays, planning, classroom organisation and behaviour management, along with a few ideas to avoid. I honestly don't think I would have got my full time job for September so soon had I not done supply, as it gave me so much self-confidence of being able to manage a full class by myself and know that I was in control. My advice: just keep it to two days a week as dissertation, other assignments and job hunting must take priority. Stick to the children's usual routine as much as possible and if something doesn't work or you don't enjoy a school just treat it as a learning curve. You don't have to go back again the next day!

How could the lives of NQTs starting out on supply be improved?

Luckily the teachers at my first supply schools had left work which meant I could focus on tackling my behaviour management strategies. I think it would help if agencies ensured NQT's were given preferential bookings of schools where planning has been left in order to support this. Also, as great as my teaching experiences may have been on placements they are restricted to certain year groups and it takes time to build up a bank of lesson ideas. On many bookings the school have seemed surprised that I am still completing my degree. I feel it would help if agencies made the school aware that you are an NQT so that they can provide more support as it takes time to get used to quickly stepping into someone else's shoes. Knowing where to turn for good advice and support would be a great help too.

Did your university course cover supply teaching?

No, not really. They only mentioned it as a backup option if we failed to get full time jobs by September. They held a careers event at the end of April for students to meet representatives from various agencies but I was already working by this time.

Who would be the ultimate supply teacher?

Of course - Mary Poppins!

And finally, what is your favourite supply teacher resource?

My quick thinking initiative! I have a "supply bag" ready to pick up and go any morning. My Supply Toolkit: Sat Nav! Stickers, Flat Stanley (so many wider curriculum opportunities), a KS2 book, a USB pen full of worksheets, lesson powerpoints and other resources, hand sanitizer, various coloured pens (all schools use different for marking) and of course my CRB and supply paperwork.


You can find Katie on Twitter @TheMissW, and read her blog here:

Interview with... Ostpreussen

In this interview, secondary supply teacher Ostpreussen talks to us about her experiences, and how supply teaching has helped her to grow both professionally and personally.

Interview with a secondary supply teacherWhy did you get into supply teaching?

I wanted to go back to work after some time out and decided to try supply. I had never done it before and thought it would be good experience and I would get to see lots of different schools and could make a difference.

How did you get into supply teaching?

My mother was dying and I was sole carer. I could not cope with a f/t teaching job and 2 hours of commuting and so gave up my permanent job to look after my mum and be with her for her last few months. I have no regrets, you only get one mum and loved her dearly. A job is but a job at the end of the day and there are more important things in life.

What did you take with you on assignment?

I always took paper, lots of pens and pencils, shiny stars for primary and white address labels, ID and CRB, a pack or two of tissues, a lunch and a bottle of water. Also a folder of resources and some ideas in case there was no work set.

How did you ensure you'd be called back to work at that school?

Always gave my best, did a professional job and was always on my feet interacting with the class and making sure everyone was working. With primary, I always stayed back to mark the books and to leave the teacher some feedback.

Do you have any advice for those wishing to be a supply teacher?

1. Each day is a new day.

2. Don't take things to heart.
3. Don't suffer in silence. If the class is climbing up the walls then send a good kid to get support.
4. Remember that you are as good as any permanent teacher and that supply teachers do a very difficult and challenging job so don't be too hard on yourself.
5. Keep a diary with all your assignments in. I write a brief note with where I have been, which agency and what the school was like.
6. Supply is great experience both professionally and personally. See it as that. There are very few teachers who could hack supply and you need a new set of skills and the will to survive. But you will learn so much and see so many different kids and meet some little Horrid Henrys but some great Henriettas too!
7. Join a few agencies. Your loyalties must be to yourself and it is good to cast out your net. Tell them what you want as a daily rate.
8. If you are secondary, try primary! It's different, but enjoyable and I found myself learning SO MANY new things and really enjoyed the experience. Also - I have found primary schools so much more welcoming of supply teachers generally as they do not have the cover supervisors and tend to be much smaller and just glad of a good teacher who gives their best!
9. Get to know the TA. Introduce yourself and shake hands. See it as a team effort - with you as the lead teacher, but with a great learning assistant. Most TAs are fabulous and there are some with degrees and even PGCEs! They know the kids and the set up and will appreciate you including them and asking them for advice. If you get the odd one who looks down on supply teachers or sees them as overpaid and not essential then accept that you cannot change their view of supply teachers, but you can show them that you are different and don't take it to heart!
10. Don't let agencies walk over you. You have the right to decide which days you want to work. Try to establish a good working relationship with your agency consultant. Ring them in the morning to let them know your availability and to get your name to the top of the list. Agency consultants appreciate availability.
11. Try and do something nice in the evening as supply can be lonely and unrewarding sometimes. So, take the dog for a walk, join a gym or do an exercise DVD or have a hot bath. Clear your mind of the day. The day is over!
12. Join a union. Essential in today's climate.
13. Don't EVER be alone with a pupil or leave ANY pupils alone. If you send a pupil out and then go to talk with them then take along another pupil and same if you ask someone to stay back after the lesson. Many a fine teacher has had a career ruined through a lapse on this front and the agency will drop you like a red hot brick.
14. Work for secondary supply especially  has become very thin on the ground due to cover supervisors working in house in schools. Think very carefully before you give up a permanent job as I have known many teachers give up supply teaching due to there being little or no work. There are still long term contracts via agencies to be had, but accept that you do not get pension payments, sick pay or holiday pay - although agencies will often say that holiday pay is incorporated into your daily rate which is rarely paid to scale! Supply teaching is not what it was a few years ago and do not rely on it as your sole income.

What did you learn from being a supply teacher?

I learned that most pupils do not respect supply teachers - this is true of primary and secondary. There are also some teachers who do not respect supply teachers. I also learned that you can only do your best BUT often the quality of work set is not the best and you have to accept that when 30 kids come in through the door, conditions will rarely be ideal and you cannot be on an equal footing with their normal teacher. I also saw so many different models of education, different schools, settings, school politics and I learned where I would be happy to work. Supply gives you unrivalled opportunities to see education at work and this is such a positive! I learned much about myself. I have learned to clear my mind at the end of the day and no longer take so much to heart. I just do my best and when I drive home, accept the day is over and tomorrow is a new day. Each school I have been to - from the very worst and challenging where I would not send the Devil's son, to the best, has helped me grow on a professional and personal level and made me the teacher I am today.

How could the lives of supply teachers be improved?

Schools need to have a bank of good teachers who they regularly call and provide supply teachers with good information packs on procedures, timings etc. Each school permanent teacher should have seating plans and photos of the class as well as some behaviour notes and tips for the supply teachers. In secondary schools, you are thrust out into the ring and often given the bare minimum. In long term positions, schools need to include supply teachers in professional development opportunities. This is not about sending them on expensive curriculum courses, but some internal project to work on would be something. Too often, supply teachers do the whole whack, but are not given any scope for professional development. In secondary education, the role of cover supervisor should be abolished. It's a nonsense that they need a minimum of 2 GCSEs to be qualified for this role - yes, many have A levels or a few degrees, BUT each child has a right to have a qualified teacher in front of them. Far better for schools to have a bank of well qualified subject specialists who do regular work there. Supply teachers should be paid to scale. Even on daily assignments. Agencies are paying what they can get away with! And thereby undermining the professional status of (supply) teachers.

Story time!

Well, I have had a bottle of tippex thrown at me, a pile of books dropped onto my feet, been called a "second rate supply teacher who can't get a real job", had a primary school boy who kicked a water bottle into another boy's face and then ransacked the classroom and his father then came in and he was even worse!. Had a primary AST who once told me that the work done by supply teachers was abysmal which is why she never set any written work and she put my handbag onto the floor and said "I am not having that" when I put it on her desk as I was taking over her class for the afternoon and then put my jacket on a desk when I put it on the back of the chair and said "I am not having that either". At the end of the day, she came in and told the TA in front of the class and me "That even the TA could do better!". I went home in tears as she was so arrogant and unprofessional and so prejudiced. And really put me down, but that said lots about her and her lack of respect towards supply teachers.

Who would be the ultimate supply teacher and why?

God. Neither male nor female and S/he would know what is to be taught and how and everyone would sit in awe. And God would be able to read the mind of his/her students and deliver the best lessons possible with a click of his/ her fingers.

And finally, what is your favourite supply teacher resource?

My favourite teacher resource is TES resources.

Interview with... Sally-Jayne, self-employed supply teacher

Supply teacher Sally-Jayne talks to us about the importance of a smile and developing her teaching styles.

Interview with... Sally-Jayne, self-employed supply teacher

Why did you get into supply teaching?

I love teaching. I love working with children. I love seeing the progress they make, and I love seeing how fired up they get and how engrossed they get when you make a subject interesting for them. I don't love all the paperwork that goes with teaching – the endless assessments, the logging of results, the must should and could target setting, the reports etc.

I also thrive on variety. Before becoming a teacher I was a project manager and I still love the buzz of having lots of different things to do. I soon realised that teaching the same class for a whole year wasn't for me.

For me, supply teaching is the perfect solution. I get all the joy of teaching, all the variety of working with different age-groups from Foundation Stage right up to adults, and none of the paperwork and politics that are so often associated with the profession. Oh – and best of all, I get to have a nose at other people’s classrooms, to see what their classroom displays are like, and to see their planning to get new ideas for my own teaching!

How did you get into supply teaching?

I chose not to join an agency, so I am registered as self-employed. I contacted the schools I was interested in working for and explained what I could do for them. I only work for a handful of schools, but I am the first choice supply teacher for most of them, so I get as much work as I need – sometimes more!

I also work as a private tutor, and as a visiting lecturer at a local university and so I sometimes find myself teaching an 8 till 8 day, but I don't mind because I enjoy what I'm doing.

A lot of people say they wouldn't like supply teaching because they would hate to lose the bond they have with their own class. For me, this isn't a problem. Because I only work for a few schools, I teach the same children on a fairly regular basis and so I do have that bond – but with the whole school rather than just one class.

What did you take with you on assignment?

There are a few things I always take, the most important being my smile – after all, it's bad enough when your proper teacher doesn’t come to school, without having a really miserable-looking supply teacher in your classroom!

I never leave home without my whiteboard markers, because it’s amazing how often you turn up to a classroom to find that there aren't any, or that they are all dried up. I also take some ideas for standalone lessons just in case there is no planning left. If there’s no planning, I’ll have a look in the children’s books first to see what they are working on, but there have been occasions when a teacher has taken books home to mark and then called in sick. On those occasions it’s handy to have some ideas for one-off lessons up your sleeve.

Stickers and praise-pads always come in handy. Children will always push the boundaries, and when you are a supply teacher, some want to know exactly how far they can push – but it’s amazing how focused even the most disengaged child in the class can be when there is a sticker at stake!

Finally: ideas for fillers are essential – assembly could be unexpectedly cancelled or the class might finish the work their teacher set for them more quickly than he or she imagined. Games and quizzes to practise what they have been learning that day always go down well.

How did you ensure you'd be called back to work at that school?

I’m always professional. I arrive in plenty of time to find my way around the classroom, to have a look at any plans that have been left and to make sure I know what I'm doing for the day. It sounds obvious, but if plans have been left – I use them! A few teachers I know say they get really fed up with making the effort to plan a day’s worth of lessons with a supply teacher in mind only to come back the next day to find that the plans have been ignored.

Another thing that I thought would be obvious, but seems not to be, is that I mark the work. I once had an email from a headteacher, thanking me on behalf of the staff for being kind enough to mark the books! To me it’s part of the job, but if a head takes the time to comment on, it sounds as if not everyone thinks so. I always leave a note for the class teacher, letting him or her know how the day has gone. I'll include notes on behaviour (good and bad) and let them know how lessons have gone, with details about which children found the work easy and which ones need a bit more help. If plans have been left I'll annotate them, and if I’ve had to deviate from the plan I'll note down why and how – for example the plans said to use something on the IWB, but the laptop was locked away and nobody had the key!

I just “get on with it”! A head once said to me that if a school has to call a supply teacher in it’s because there’s a problem, and that she really appreciated the fact that I can just walk in and solve those problems rather than creating more.

Story time!

No particular nightmares, but the first time I did supply in a school for deaf-children I was extremely nervous before-hand. I’d spent a few days in the school observing how they teach, but that’s not the same as teaching yourself. I worried about whether I would understand the children, and about whether they would understand me. I have some BSL (British Sign Language) but it’s not the same standard as the other staff.

I started the day in a class where there were some plans, and we did maths. That was OK – I know the signs for numbers so I started to feel more confident. Then part way through the day I was taken out of the class where there were some plans, and put into one where there weren't any. All I knew was that they were learning about Ancient Greece. I somehow managed to dredge up enough sign language to tell them about the Trojan War, but all the while I was looking at the children thinking “ I'm really not sure you are understanding me.” My relief when they were able to retell the story and draw it in cartoon form was immense! I must have done ok that first day, because they asked me to go back to cover a class for half a term.

Do you have any advice for those wishing to be a supply teacher?

Be flexible: just because you were booked for Year 2 doesn't mean that you will actually be teaching Year 2! If you turn up and they ask you to spend the day in Year 6 instead – do it! Take it as a compliment – it means they know they can trust you to do a good job wherever they put you.

Be prepared: as I said, just because you were booked for Year 2 doesn't mean that you will actually be teaching Year 2! Make sure that whatever ideas you have brought with you can be adapted to use in any year group – just in case!

Be professional: the children are entitled to the same standard of education as they would get if their own teacher were in the room. Even if there are no plans, or you are unable to follow them, you must teach something meaningful that helps the children to make progress. Remember that the children are your best source of information… I had a phone call at 8.50am one morning to see if I could cover. I raced into the school, and was hurried down to the classroom before I had even finished signing my name in the visitors book. A rather harassed-looking caretaker made a grateful exit and I was left alone with 30 expectant faces and not a clue what I should be doing. I settled them down with some silent reading just to give me time to look around for some plans, a timetable, or anything to give me some idea what was expected to happen that day, and then began with lessons as quickly as possible. I’d obviously had no time at all to find out about behaviour policies, and as we all know there are certain children who will push and push to see if you do know the rules. One child was being particularly disruptive and I had spoken to him several times in the first half hour. “James*,” I said to him at last, “I have now given you three warnings about your behaviour. If you were the teacher what would you be saying to you now?” Very obligingly he told me, “I’d tell me I’d got to write my name on the board and lose 5 minutes of my Golden Time.” And so he did, and then he settled down into acceptable behaviour. It works every time!

What did you learn from being a supply teacher?

I've definitely become a better teacher through doing supply work. For example, I do a lot of supply work in a school for deaf children. It’s made me really aware of not talking too much! I've always made sure my lessons catered for different learning styles, but now I've developed my teaching to be extra visual and extra kinaesthetic.

How could the lives of supply teachers be improved?

Either leave us a computer AND a password for it, or leave a plan that doesn't involve using the whiteboard.

Tell us which group is which! Remember that we don’t know the children so we have no way of knowing whether Pelicans is your top or bottom group unless you write this on the plan.

Please don't just leave a note saying “the children know what they are doing”. Maybe some of them do, but others only think they do and the rest don’t have a clue. It’s not always easy getting to the bottom of what you are expecting them to accomplish.

Pin a copy of your plans somewhere easy to spot – that way if you call in sick, we can still teach the lesson you were planning to teach, so when you get back your children are still on track. Leave a copy of your timetable in the same place, then we can make sure the children have some consistency and get the lessons they are expecting to have.

Please treat us as professionals. We are not supply teachers because we can’t get a “proper job” – some of us have chosen this way of working and we are just as dedicated and committed as classroom teachers. Unfortunately there are still a few teachers out there who treat us with complete disdain.

Who would be the ultimate supply teacher and why?

Dr Who. No matter what subject was sprung on him, he would have all the time in the universe to swot up on it, he could mark the books before he taught the lessons so he would know what misconceptions were going to arise… in fact he could even visit the classroom the day before the class teacher called in sick, so he would know exactly where to pick up from in the lessons.

He’d have the ultimate eyes in the back of his head. If he didn’t see who threw the rubber, he could just jump in his Tardis, watch the incident from the back of the classroom and then return and be able to call on the culprit without turning round. And his lessons would be memorable. What better way to learn about history than by spending a year living in the era concerned, and still being back before hometime? What better way to learn about geography or a language than by living in that country for a year without missing morning break? What better way to learn about problem-solving and teamwork than working together to defeat the Daleks? Children could make 2 full levels progress, in every subject, in just one day – a guaranteed way to make sure he got invited back.

And finally, what is your favourite supply teacher resource?

Singing French – it’s a book of songs in French with an accompanying CD. Languages are my specialist subject, and most children love learning them. I find this resource to be a great carrot to dangle in front of the class: If you work hard and finish everything Mrs Bloggs has left for you, then we might have time at the end of the day to learn a new French song.


Sally-Jayne has more information about being a self-employed supply teacher on her blog here: You can find her on Twitter: @sjbteaching


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King / Twin En-Suite in family home, Penny Bridge

Cumbria, United Kingdom
We have a lovely guest room with en-suite bathroom. The room can be made as a double (extra king size) or as a twin (full size single beds). The bathroom has separate bath and shower. We are in So...

Takeover Thursday - Supply Teacher Network