Perhaps you know that you want to stay in teaching, but you’re looking for a change. You may be relocating and want to start quickly in a new town. Perhaps you want to see more of life and give yourself the flexibility of supply teaching so you can further your studies or travel. You may be supply teaching in the UK from abroad as a means to travel and lap up some culture or you are simply want to try different types of school without committing permanently. Whatever your reasons for switching to supply, here are five questions to make your decision.
What am I looking for?
Supply teaching jobs come in many forms. Short term supply can often be for one or two days and you often get the call at 7.30 in the morning. This is a great way to see a lot of schools and gain experience. Often, planning is in place from the teacher who is off sick. Long term supply teaching can be several weeks long and has its own benefits [link to other article]. In exchange for job predictability, you may have assessment responsibilities more in line with a permanent staff member. You might be qualified to teach a range of key stages. When deciding what might suit you, consider how much you need to earn, not just daily but during school holidays (see point 5).
Am I able to take on the challenges?
Behaviour is the notorious challenge for supply teachers but your own confidence is key. Generally, it’s best to use the school behaviour management process which the children are trained in and expect. To enjoy supply teaching successfully, it also helps if you’re good at communicating with new adults; despite knowing the children, the classroom assistants will still look to you for direction. Efficiency is also critical: you’ll need to mark your books on the same day and often resource quickly from half-prepared planning.
Where do I want to try?
This is your chance to really see the world of teaching. Is there an impressive employer with a ‘brand’ you want to be part of? If so, ask that school who their preferred supply agency is. There are so many different school types with wonderfully different cultures and ideas to learn from. Also consider your lifestyle: would you enjoy a rural location or a city? You may have a wealth of teaching experiences that would benefit a school with a more challenging demographic.
What opportunities can my networks offer me?
This is where all your INSET workshop networking and social media groups will come into their own. You may already know several teachers and Heads who would welcome you as part of their talent pool. Get in touch and see what you can find.
How will I pay for my holidays and sickness?
As a supply teacher, you will be paid a daily rate which is typically slightly more than the day rate of a permanent teacher in that role. At Eteach we pay £125 a day as PAYE (so tax is taken care of). On that note, you should never supply under an umbrella company. Holidays make up one quarter of the teaching year (even if it doesn’t feel like it!) so it’s absolutely vital that you put away a quarter of your earnings weekly into a savings account, from which you can pay yourself a wage when you’re not working. You also need to put away at least another 10-20% percent to cover times you are too sick to work. Even if you are someone who is ‘never ill’, a broken ankle or concussion from an ice slip could lose you a week of work.
And finally, remember to be unwaveringly professional as you move between schools. Teaching is a curious industry and you often find yourself working with people you have met before. Take the chance to start as many friendships as possible; widening your scope can only bring you more opportunities in the future!
Ready to jump in? Register with eTeach today!