My Experience of being a Supply Teacher with Academic Appointments
After finishing my teaching degree, I wanted to get as much experience of different types of schools in order to find what is right for me. I had heard about Academic Appointments and how supportive they are so I applied through their advert for supply teachers across Yorkshire. That day I had a telephone interview and an interview booked in for the following week. I had my interview and then got to meet everybody in the office. Everybody was so friendly and I got to meet the Primary Consultant who would be speaking to me about teaching roles. I left excited and informed about what to expect.
The first day I received a call about a day teaching in Year 1 at a school in Doncaster. I was full of excitement but equally nervous about going into a school I could not yet locate. It was a pre-booking so I knew the night before. I carefully planned my journey and made sure I had my sat nav! I came prepared with planning and resources in case the work was not set. I arrived by 8.00 a.m. with plenty of time to set up. My teaching assistants were incredibly helpful and guided me to any resources and the order of the school day.
One thing I found particularly useful and I want to share with you is being ultra-prepared for morning calls. Being up and ready for 7.00am with my phone on loud to answer. Also, my top tip is to not judge a school by its ‘cover’. It is so rewarding to embrace a range of schools and often schools you are not sure about becoming your favourites.
The best thing I learnt whilst being a Supply Teacher, which was really useful, is having a bag of resources ready for each year group. I prepared a day’s worth of planning and resources for each year group (EYFS- Year 6) each in their own bag. I based them all around the same theme but matched to the curriculum with differentiation so I had the flexibility to take two different year group bags for mixed age class or take a mixture if I have a particularly low ability class. If I did supply for longer I would have updated these half termly/termly to mirror the curriculum, levels and progress of the children. I found that in a morning I woke up totally prepared and happy to go wherever needed me which helped me to perform to the best of my ability.
It is really important to take your own rewards/prize box (not sweets!) to motivate but just make sure you check with the school it is in line with their behaviour policy. I found having a smile on my face meant staff, children and parents instantly warmed to me.
I learnt the most effective way to be the most useful to the class and school is if there are notes from the class teacher it is paramount you follow it and do your best to complete as much of it as you can. Top tip – Always annotate the planning if it has been left to show what you got through, how the class did as a whole, any individuals met/exceeded learning objective or struggled.
Always leave a handover note about the overall day expressing any messages passed on by parents, any troubles you have had, share how lovely they have been, any children that have really impressed you. Next steps you have identified from your teaching. Always leave the classroom tidy.
Make sure all your marking is done before you leave. If it isn’t self-explanatory from the class teachers previous marking, make sure you check the marking policy. It may be they mark in a certain colour or use bubbles with a next step. Then mark it with your initial or write Supply Teacher so it is clear. Add any observations completed to learning journeys.
If you make a good impression schools will ask for you back time and time again! I ended up covering a maternity cover from doing a couple of days’ supply at a school and this will absolutely happen for you if you make the right impression. Remember to be flexible, pro-active, enthusiastic and enjoy it!
Blog by Melissa Cross, Primary Teacher.