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Supply Teaching Tips

Supply Teaching Tips

Supply Teaching Tips for teachers and cover supervisors

  1. Bring a sense of humour to school and a thick skin. Remember that pupils don’t cope with change very well.

  2. Don’t take things personally.

  3. Go to school prepared and always have a few tried and tested lessons to hand, just in case work is not set.

  4. Set clear expectations and boundaries at the beginning of the lesson

  5. Present yourself as firm and fair

  6. Be sure to follow through on the consequences of poor behaviour. Address the behaviour not the person. Keep the two separate when dealing with discipline (your behaviour is not acceptable as opposed to you are not etc)

  7. Avoid power struggles with students. If a child refuses to do something, at first react politely and pleasantly to show they haven’t ruffled you. Repeat the action followed by a time frame of when you will return to them. After giving the instruction then walk away, this shows the student that you trust them to manage themselves. Follow up your actions and give appreciation when the student complies.

  8. Get up off your seat, walk around the classroom and interact with the class. Keep calm and confident – do not shout.

  9. Be prepared for technology (computers/projectors/interactive whiteboards). Sometimes technology fails, so always have a backup.

  10. If a class has reached an unacceptable level of chattiness get them all to stand up, wait in silence until they do. Once they are all stood up and silent, wait 2 more minutes before telling them the noise levels are unacceptable and that when they sit they will now continue to work in silence.

  11. Try to learn names and make use of them during the lesson.

  12. Remember the names of the Head Teacher and senior Management and refer to them if necessary during the lesson.

  13. Always carry your own board pen!

  14. Socialise in the staff room, you may just meet the head of department and get offered something long term!

  15. If you have a free period perhaps ask if you can help out with another class or do some admin work?

  16. Thank the cover co-ordinator for your day and let them know you would love to come back.

  17. Make yourself known to the senior leadership team, it may mean you are requested above other supply teachers or cover supervisors

  18. Be aware of the school’s policy regarding rewards and sanctions. Each school has different systems, so it’s important to know how to recognise and act upon good/bad behavior in line with the “normal school way”

  19. Never leave the pupils alone in a class, send a more sensible pupil for errands etc

  20. Never turn your back on pupils especially in small environments such as stock rooms or store cupboards

  21. Don’t rely on school for all resources. Some don’t have a huge budget, especially primary Schools so if you are on a longer term assignment, make sure you’re aware of available resources

  22. Have a few ‘emergency’ items with you at all times to hand (rubber, pencil, pen, marker pen, sharpener, scissors)

  23. Know who may have health issues and the process if something happens, i.e asthmatics and inhalers etc

  24. If there is time at the start of the day get as much information on pupils in your lessons as possible, especially surrounding special needs and whether there are teaching assistants involved in lessons.

  25. Always ensure that you keep teaching assistants engaged and involved in lessons. Remember they are just as important as you, quite often they will report back to the cover coordinator about your lesson. So take the time to get to know them and build relationships with them.

Things supply teachers and cover supervisors should avoid during supply teaching

  • Shouting and losing your temper
  • Negative speech or body language
  • Focussing too much on poor behaviour and not the good
  • Whole class punishment i.e. detentions
  • Inconsistencies in discipline
  • Entering the classroom unprepared

How Supply staff can make a good impression

There are hundreds of education recruitment agencies in the Midlands and hundreds of education professionals working in schools and academies. Sometimes it can be hard to stand out from the crowd, especially if you are a supply teacher or a cover supervisor and you only have one or two days to impress.

If supply staff can provide a service to schools that is a cut above the rest they will get asked back time and time again. We thought it would be useful to put some tips below for creating a good impression and making the most out of your school assignment.

  • Always confirm with your consultant your start time, just incase their is any miscommunication

  • Make sure you are at school 15 minutes earlier to find a parking space and reception. If driving, traffic can be a nightmare so leave more time than you think you need.

  • Keep your mobile turned off during school, even if you aren’t a teaching member of staff

  • Dress very smartly, first impressions count. Men should always wear a shirt and tie with their outfit and ladies a jacket.

  • Abide by school smoking policies.

  • Never consume alcohol or recreational drugs on school premises.

  • Socialise in the school’s staff room.

  • Always touch base with someone from the school before you leave and thank them for your day.

  • If you are in a permanent or long-term assignment get involved in after school clubs, staff meetings etc. The more effort you put in the more you will get out of your school

  • Inform your line manager if any issues arise over child protection

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