Welcome to the world of supply teaching, where every day is an adventure waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a recent graduate, a seasoned educator, or someone looking to strike that elusive work-life balance within the field of education, supply teaching offers a unique set of experiences and considerations. In this blog, we’ll delve into the reality of supply teaching, sharing insights into what it’s truly like, the flexibility it provides, and the various factors to think about as you embark on this journey.
1. Flexibility vs. Stability
Supply teaching offers an unparalleled level of flexibility that can cater to your lifestyle. Imagine having the power to choose when and where you work. Need a personal day to recharge? No problem! Want to explore different schools and years? The possibilities are endless. At Apple A Day, we understand the importance of stability too. We operate a cancellation policy to ensure that you’re not left without work when you’ve already made commitments. Demand for supply teachers is high, and we can offer you as much work as you need (as long as you’re willing to commute 20 minutes and teach various subjects and years).
2. Variety vs. Comfort Zone
Variety is the spice of life, and supply teaching serves it up in abundance. Every day, you’ll step into diverse classrooms with unique students and subjects. Your adaptability will soar as you navigate different set-ups and student needs. However, if you prefer a more consistent teaching environment, don’t worry. We have plenty of short-term and long-term contracts available, offering stability and the chance to build strong connections with students and staff. You can view our jobs page here. Apple A Day offers a variety of contract start dates throughout the year, so your preferences are always taken into account.
3. Ad Hoc vs. Contract Work
Adhoc supply work involves day-to-day bookings at various schools, offering a wide range of experiences. On the other hand, contract work entails working with one school for an extended period, often an entire term or longer. Contracts come with more workload but also provide you with a scaled salary and PPA (Planning, Preparation, and Assessment) time, just like regular teachers. Many schools even allow you to use your PPA time at home.
If you are looking for a contract, set up a job alert here.
4. Morning calls vs Pre-booked
When working with an agency you can choose to be available for early morning calls to work that day or not. If you opt to only do pre-booked work, it is best if you can then be more flexible with your commute and year groups you will teach. We find that a lot of our work is pre-booked but we also receive a lot of morning calls too. Consider what works for you and make sure you let your agency know this. Apple A Day can see if you will answer morning calls via their system so will call if you say this works for you. If your preference changes at any time, do let us know.
5. Work-Life Balance vs. Pay
One of the most significant perks of supply teaching is the reduced administrative burden. No more late nights spent marking piles of books! Your focus remains on teaching and making a positive impact in the classroom without the weight of additional responsibilities. However, we acknowledge that adhoc supply work may involve a pay cut for some educators. To address this, consider taking on a long-term contract paid to scale part-time and supplementing your income with supply work or tutoring. The possibilities are endless, and your workload and stress levels can be significantly reduced. Did you know that Apple A Day also offers work during school holidays?
6. Try Before You Commit vs. Applying Blind
Supply teaching is an excellent way to test the waters if you’re considering a teaching career or looking for a new role but aren’t sure where to start. Experience different teaching environments, styles, and years to find your niche. Finding the right school that aligns with your values, teaching style, and preferred leadership is crucial. At Apple A Day, many temporary contracts turn into permanent positions, as supply teachers get the chance to truly know a school before making a long-term commitment.
7. Networking Opportunities vs. Application Forms
Supply teaching allows you to network with educators, administrators, and school staff across various institutions. These connections can open doors to future job opportunities and collaborations within the education field. In the world of education, who you know can have a significant impact. Many headteachers often recommend exceptional teachers and share experiences. Sometimes, a personal connection can convey your qualities better than an application form. Apple A Day frequently receives calls from headteachers specifically requesting teachers from our pool of supply staff.
8. Developing in a School vs. Drawing from Multiple Sources
As a supply teacher, you have the unique opportunity to learn from a variety of schools, classrooms, and teaching methods. You can pick up innovative ideas and approaches and apply them to your own teaching practice. At Apple A Day, we also provide a range of online courses and training sessions to further enhance your skills.
9. Classroom Management vs. Taking Control
Managing classroom behaviour can be challenging, especially as students may test boundaries with a supply teacher. However, effective classroom management skills can be developed. Spending time at the start of the day setting clear expectations and consequences often leads to a more successful classroom experience. While some days may be tough, remember that you’re never obligated to return to a school where the experience was overwhelmingly negative. Open and honest communication with your consultant can ensure you’re not offered work at that particular school again.
10. Team Support vs. Agency Support
Working directly in a school often comes with a supportive team where you can seek guidance, share ideas, and provide mutual support. Choosing the right supply agency can provide you with a similar level of support. At Apple A Day, our consultants have a background in education and understand the challenges you may face. See them here. They listen, support, and offer advice when needed. Joining a teaching union can also provide you with additional support should the need arise.
Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of supply teaching is the positive impact you make on students’ lives. You step in when they need it most, offering guidance, support, and education. Your influence can leave lasting impressions and contribute significantly to their educational journey.
So, fellow supply teachers, let’s celebrate the numerous positives of our profession. Whether you’re in it for the long haul or using it as a stepping stone, supply teaching is an adventure filled with growth, variety, and meaningful moments in the classroom. Keep up the fantastic work and continue shining in your role as an education superhero!
If you have any questions or need more information about supply teaching, feel free to reach out to our office. We’re here to support you on your supply teaching journey!