Supply Teaching Tips for teachers and cover supervisors
Bring a sense of humour to school and a thick skin. Remember that pupils don’t cope with change very well.
Don’t take things personally.
Go to school prepared and always have a few tried and tested lessons to hand, just in case work is not set.
Set clear expectations and boundaries at the beginning of the lesson
Present yourself as firm and fair
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)
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.
Get up off your seat, walk around the classroom and interact with the class. Keep calm and confident – do not shout.
Be prepared for technology (computers/projectors/interactive whiteboards). Sometimes technology fails, so always have a backup.
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.
Try to learn names and make use of them during the lesson.
Remember the names of the Head Teacher and senior Management and refer to them if necessary during the lesson.
Always carry your own board pen!
Socialise in the staff room, you may just meet the head of department and get offered something long term!
If you have a free period perhaps ask if you can help out with another class or do some admin work?
Thank the cover co-ordinator for your day and let them know you would love to come back.
Make yourself known to the senior leadership team, it may mean you are requested above other supply teachers or cover supervisors
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”
Never leave the pupils alone in a class, send a more sensible pupil for errands etc
Never turn your back on pupils especially in small environments such as stock rooms or store cupboards
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
Have a few ‘emergency’ items with you at all times to hand (rubber, pencil, pen, marker pen, sharpener, scissors)
Know who may have health issues and the process if something happens, i.e asthmatics and inhalers etc
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.
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
Every candidate undergoes the following vetting procedures:
Face to face interview
Child Protection training
Fully Enhanced CRB
ISA barred list check
Employment and education references
Right to work in UK
Proof of Identity
2 x proof of address
Proof of NI
Proof of name change
Confirmation of GTC
Medical & health check
Overseas police checks
“our boys get to experience first hand what it is like to communicate with an employer”
‘Aspire People took part in an interview day that we held for pupils. Not only did they allow the boys to practice their interview technique but they coached and mentored them, providing constructive feedback. This additional service has a positive impact on the education we provide our pupils. They get to experience first hand what it is like to communicate with an employer.’
“If only all agencies valued candidates the way Aspire People do”
Even though I came from an industry background my consultant genuinely valued the experience I could bring to a school. She really went that extra mile to find me work by organising training on school IT systems. On top of that she secured me voluntary work to support my Diploma in School Business Management Studies.
Within one minute of sending my CV, Aspire contacted me for an interview
Aspire have been very influential in my career. After qualifying as a teacher, I was unsuccessful in securing a full-time teaching job. Within one minute of sending my CV, Aspire contacted me for an interview. They have been able to place me in a school on a long-term basis, which has been welcomed with gratitude. I am grateful and thankful to all of the team working for Aspire people, they are a great agency to work for. All members of staff have shown true professionalism and worked hard to ensure that myself and other colleagues who I have met through the agency are always working.
“The Woodlands School gets vouchers from Aspire People, we put them towards prize giving for pupils”
I frequently recommend Aspire People. Sometimes to acquaintances looking for work, to our own staff looking to gain experience before a GTP qualification or for those looking for a permanent position. The school received some vouchers from Aspire People which the Head of Science used to provide prizes for attainment for students of all abilities in science. Not only does the school benefit but the candidate we recommend and Aspire People.
“I have had nothing but first rate service from Aspire People”
“Since I first started working with Aspire People and my consultant Adam, I have had nothing but first rate service. I have found them to be assiduous in finding work placements, and supportive once on placement in all ways. I have been so impressed I recommended a friend. Adam is a great guy and I really cannot praise him too highly.”
Trusted because of an honest and open approach
Wheelers Lane Technology College have used the services of Aspire People for the last five years. The quality of staff supplied by Aspire are excellent and they adapt well to our school environment.
One of Aspires’ many qualities is the excellent relationship developed between their consultant and the school. Aspire are agency that are trusted because of their honest and open approach to their customers. Aspire will continue to be the agency that this college will contact in the first instance in respect of daily cover needs.
Safeguarding documentation is fantastic
I have used Aspire People since 2009, during this time I have found my consultant, to be very professional, honest and accommodating. The quality of safeguarding documentation is fantastic, having photographic evidence already on it gets a very big plus mark from our front office staff! Our business manager also likes the easy and efficient way that payments can be made. Overall I am very impressed with the service provided .
Aspire understands our needs and so we invariably employ their candidate
Aspire People have always been able to respond to requests with quality staff. Although we use a range of agencies when trying to fill long term we invariably employ the candidate recommended by Aspire People. This is because we have built up a relationship whereby our requirements are known and understood by them. As an Outstanding school at the forefront of educational provision it is essential that every lesson is delivered to the highest standards. The relationship we have with Aspire People is that we can candidly make our requirements known and they are able to choose a candidate that they are confident will meet our needs.
Aspire People has always been a pleasure to work with, totally professional,efficient and patient.
I have worked for Aspire People for four years and during that time, Aspire People has always been a pleasure to work with, my consultant Mark has always been totally professional,efficient and patient. I have always felt that Mark listened to my requirements for work and has consistently tried to match me with appropriate schools and year groups. Mark has been very understanding with family commitments so I have recommended Aspire People to several friends and to other supply teachers, and will continue to do so in the future.
I have been in work more or less everyday
My consultant, Mark Birmingham, ensured I was in work more or less everyday. All the placements I had were at nice schools, within a reasonable travelling distance – Mark always checked whether the schools were appropriate for me to travel to before waking me up!! A lot of my earlier placements had been day-to-day, which sometimes led to weekly placements at schools.
If you’re looking for an honest, efficient & quality provider of staff look no further than Aspire
“Holyhead had previously not used agencies. As a last resort I approached Aspire People about a DT technician. It was the best decision I could have made. We have been so impressed by their quality and efficiency we now contact Aspire People first regarding vacancies. If the candidate is suitable we keep them on a 10 week temporary basis then employ them ourselves with no extra cost! If you are looking for an honest, efficient and quality provider of staff then look no further than Aspire People.”
I was encouraged to do my PGCE
Having started as a cover supervisor, Aspire People actively encouraged me to qualify as a teacher and advised me which course to choose. After gaining my PGCE, I had no hesitation in working with them again as I knew there would be regular work and I would be treated professionally. Over the last three years I have been made to feel part of the team and have always felt supported through any difficult times I have had whilst working in education.
I am very pleased with the service I receive from Aspire. I feel valued as a member of their team
I have been working as a supply teacher for Aspire since March 2013. They have provided me with work at a variety of schools, both locally and further afield. I am currently completing a long-term cover at an East Staffordshire school. I am very pleased with the service I receive from Aspire. I receive an email confirming each contract very promptly, and the pay system is very efficient, and easy to use. My consultant is very professional at all times, and is always aware of my requirements. She has maintained very accurate records, and contacts me regularly for feedback, and confirmation of my availability. I feel valued as a member of their team, and would highly recommend Aspire to both schools and teachers.
A consistently friendly service from Aspire People and our Consultant
Aspire People offer a very efficient and friendly service. All their consultants are highly professional and the company is able to consistently deliver high quality supply staff
My consultant reflected the professional and personal qualities that Aspire People prides itself on
Right from when I registered, my consultant Emily reflected the professional and personal qualities that Aspire prides itself on. Emily understood my adaptability as a teacher but also my needs in terms of the type of school that would suit me. Clearly taking time to study the detail of my CV and skills and experience, this ensured bookings were appropriate for both myself and the school(s). I found Aspire People helpful, polite and dedicated. I recommended Aspire to a colleague largely on the basis of how Emily had presented herself and the agency.