Interview with... Danfur

Interview with Danfur, one-time supply teacher, now a mummy!

Why did you get into supply teaching?

I was working in a call centre after doing my degree. I hadn't been able to get a job in teaching straight away due to a combination of not applying for many jobs and not hearing back from those I did apply for. I took the job in the call centre as I needed money but after 18 months figured there must be something better out there.

Where did you start once you had decided to try supply teaching?

I contacted four local agencies, and registered with them.

What did you take with you on assignment?

It varied. When I initially began supply teaching I wasn't sure what to take. For myself I took lunch/drink, and then for the teaching I would take some pens/paper, range of story books/worksheets, a prize box, a tambourine, a cd. Then as I got more confident and more used to it I changed. I developed some failsafe activities for different ages and brought them with me dependant on age group, things like a word search creator worksheet worked really well for Key Stage 2 and could be used in any lessons if work wasn't left as we would discuss what they already knew and create their worksheet from that. Quite often work was already set/left as I tended to only do pre-booked work. I hated last minute callouts.

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

I tried my best to make sure the classroom was left tidy, work was marked and an information sheet was left for the teacher to advise on work done/discipline issues etc. I tried to make sure I spent at least a break or lunchtime in the staffroom to get my face seen. I was chatty with the secretary as that always helps. There was never a particular way to make sure you'd be called back because they all seemed to be very different.

Story time!

Pretty awful behaviour! I did have one child who pressed the fire alarm during the last lesson so we had to all go out on the yard/fire brigade called and were all late out. I had one child who vomited all over the classroom, one who punched another in the face and cause his nose to bleed.

Advice for those wishing to be a supply teacher:

Think very carefully about whether it is really what you want to do. The work (and therefore payments) can be very erratic, it can be very lonely as you don't always return to the same schools so tend not to form any colleague bonds. At the same time it is very flexible, you can work when you want and take time off when you want. Will it fit your lifestyle?

What did you learn from being a supply teacher?

That it wasn't for me. I found it a very lonely way of life, I need colleagues to talk to, even if it is just about last night's telly or what we had for tea. I can't cope with money coming in different amounts each month. That, in a lot of cases there is very little respect for supply teachers from children or other teachers. That if you don't want to return to a school you don't have to, also you don't have to be at the beck and call of an agency.

How could the lives of supply teachers be improved?

If they got the same respect as a teacher with a permanent role in a school. That was the main thing that annoyed me, you would spend all morning with a class pushing you to the limit then go to the staffroom and be asked (for the hundredth time) "so, do you not want a proper job?" AAARRRGGGHHH

Who would be the ultimate supply teacher and why? [Hint, when this question was asked in the States, Bono was voted favourite!]

Not Bono! Stephen Fry probably!

And finally, your favourite supply teacher resource...
Hmmm it's been a while. Probably my most used one is a soft toy/puppet. It can be used in any lesson and is great for circle time.


Interview with... Jenny

Jenny talks to us about her experiences as a supply teacher.

Why did you get into supply teaching?

Hmm. I've always been a supply teacher. I didn't really "get into it" as much as start with a long term cover contract.

How did you get into supply teaching?

It was actually a final placement sort of "My head knows your head" type of arrangement. Although I've also generally been registered with agencies.

What did you take with you on assignment?

Emergency Lesson Plans for Supply Teachers
I'm a FS teacher, so it's usually stories and a few little things that I can use as time fillers, but not a lot, because there are always lots of things readily available in FS settings.

What is your favourite supply teacher resource?

I get all my best ideas from other supply teachers... ;)

Read more: Interview with... Jenny

Interview with... Lynn

Reward stickers for supply teachers

Lynn Bourke talks to us about her experiences as a supply teacher.

Why did you get into supply teaching?

The first time was due to qualifying as a teacher and not having a job to go to, but wanting to get into the classroom. The second time was when I lost my job due to budget cuts, and needing something to do until I got another job.

How did you get into supply teaching?

I contacted several supply agencies and registered with them. As an NQT, I then needed to keep ringing the agencies to ask for work at the beginning!

Read more: Interview with... Lynn

Interview with... Angela

Angela Rees talks to us about her experiences as a supply teacher.

Interview with a supply teacher - Angela Rees

Why did you get into supply teaching?

I was an NQT looking for my first teaching job, I thought it would give me some good experience and improve my employability whilst I was looking for a permanent position.

How did you get into supply teaching?

The school where I did my last teacher-training placement asked me to cover for a science teacher on long-term sick leave and I signed up with an agency to fill in the gaps when I wasn't needed.

What did you take with you on assignment?

Haha! 30 blue biros, 30 sharp pencils, 5 geometry kits, 2 sets of felt pens, 5 big white-board markers and an eraser, USB pen drive with entire science curriculum of activities plus some maths quizzes, a set of 30 poly-pockets each with a sheet of card and a sheet of graph paper inside to be used as individual white boards, 30 small white board pens and 30 pieces of jay cloth, 3 calculators, a jumbo pad of paper, a block of post-it notes, some fruit, a sandwich and a bottle of water, a handful of tea-bags.

Read more: Interview with... Angela

Interview with... Sarah

Sarah Cruickshank - Freelance Family and Wellbeing WriterSarah Cruickshank talks to us about her experiences as a supply teacher.

Why did you get into supply teaching?

It was convenient when I had a young child and a husband who worked away a lot. 

How did you get into supply teaching?

I did a Return to Teaching course and when I was in school doing a placement the class teacher broke her wrist so the Head asked me if I'd cover. Then she gave me a 6 week cover the next September.

What did you take with you on assignment?

Food, my own mug and whistle and some of my favourite filler activities just in case and a book of short stories.

What is your favourite supply teacher resource?

Fairy Tales by Terry Jones (from Monty Python). The stories are short but well written and provoke plenty of thought and conversation (also it doesn't weigh very much!)

Read more: Interview with... Sarah

CPD for supply teachers

Free! The Five Ds

The Five Ds - Five little words supply teachers need!

Supply for Lunch

#SupplyChat Tuesdays 8.30-9pm

Supply Teacher Top Tip of the Week

Home of #NSTW

Supporting and Celebrating Supply Teachers

Supply Teacher Room 101

Have Bag, Will Travel

Have Bag, Will Travel: The trials and tribulations of a career supply teacher


Free! Otis Stickers

Free stickers for supply teachers

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