Many NQTs turn their hands to supply teaching for their first year. Finding supply teaching work is getting increasingly difficult, what with the cut in education budgets, the increased amount of surplus teachers , an increase in NQTs and the popularity of permanent cover supervisors or HLTAs covering absence internally. However:
1. Schools are still using supply teachers, especially for any sickness over 2 days.
2. There is more advanced bookings such as paternity cover.
3. Most schools continue to use supply teachers, especially when their Cover Supervisors or HLTAs are off sick!
4. Schools aren't necessarily using supply teaching agencies less, there are just more supply teachers out there available and a lot more agencies, who seem to spring up every day in the midlands!
That is the good news because if you are a good teacher with a bit of a spark, who works hard and goes the extra mile you will get as much work as you need.
The competiveness of this industry has not only made supply teaching agencies buckle up and improve standards but encouraged supply teachers to improve the service they are providing to schools. Gone are the days of the grumpy supply teacher who puts his or her feet on the table and reads the racing post.
So what can you do to increase your chances as a NQT supply teacher?
1. Be willing to teach an array of different subjects/year groups
Not only will your consultant think you are a flexible supply teacher but it will mean that you get more supply teaching opportunities local to where you live. Perhaps think about the areas you are stronger on and brush up on the curriculum.
2. Keep in constant contact with your agency.
The more you keep in touch with your supply teaching agency, the more likely you are to get work. Don’t be afraid to ring your recruitment consultant every morning, this is what is expected in the supply teaching world! It helps to build a relationship with your recruitment consultant and other consultants in the office. Be a friendly voice and face to your supply teaching agency and they will be more likely to give you a ring.
3. Stand out from the crowd
Supply teaching is all about team work with your consultant. They should be providing a good service to the schools and then you are to provide a good service with your teaching.
There are thousands of supply teachers out there and NQTs, if you go that extra mile you will get noticed and requested back time and time again e.g. helping out in free periods, supporting lunch and break time duties, keeping your classroom tidy and thank the cover co-ordinator for your day.
4. Use available resources and take these to your assignments
Learn off the advice of other teachers and your recruitment consultant. Use websites, there are some useful links here to help you stay up-to-date and in-the-know. You can use these resources to then pad out your lesson plan at school and make it as interactive as possible.
5. Pick a good agency and consultant to represent you
Don’t forget that you are being represented by your consultant. Think about the agency that is trying to find you work, if you were a school would you use your consultant? If the answer is no perhaps think about signing up with another agency! Speak to some schools that you know and find out who they would recommend. The agencies with the best reputation in your area will get you the most work. For a recommended list of agencies in your area please click here and get in touch
Being a supply teacher these days is not easy, especially if you are a newly qualified teacher but it is possible! If you are keen to keep it up and continue with supply work then give these tips a try. Look for agencies that regularly run training sessions for supply teachers and newly qualified teachers.