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Advice on pros and cons of supply teaching.

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by magic surf bus, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I did the same thing exactly two years ago, so my sympathies to you.

    Try to get on an LEA supply list if such a thing still exists, or sign up with any agency that has the contract to arrange LEA supply. Failing that, go for the bigger nationally-established agencies.

    If you get paid to scale you'll be very lucky - it's more likely you'll be paid agency rates which are lower. Some agencies are trying to use umbrella companies for pay, which means you may have to manage your tax affairs as a self-employed person. this is a ruse to get round the recent Agency Workers' Regulations that theoretically ensure payment to scale if in the same supply job for more than 12 weeks. If possible, avoid agencies using umbrella companies. Those who don't will manage your tax and national insurance for you, but keep a close record of your hours and earnings, because they make mistakes.

    My advice to anyone starting out on supply is accept anything and everything that's offered without quibble so you get your face known in as many schools as possible. If it looks like you can hack it they'll remember you and will offer you longer term work. In the first year of supply teaching I worked in 18 schools, in the second year I worked in 3, and one of those was for less than a day. I have managed to maintain the same level of income across both years. You're like the local plumber or builder - you'll get repeat work on recommendation now.

    You've chosen to be a supply teacher so act like it - always go in dressed smartly, positive, polite, good-humoured, professional, and competent. Don't whinge, grizzle, or indulge in gossip, and ignore all internal politics. Be prepared to be treated like **** by some kids, some agencies and not a few staff - develop a shell and learn to be resourceful, independent and self-contained. Remember that as a supply teacher you are now somewhere below amoeba on the food chain. In fact even the amoebas may not lend you a door key or talk to you at lunch time.

    If you're relying on a regular income, make alternative provision between 1 July and 30 September inclusive, and don't expect too much in October either.

    And carry a big bag of spare pencils with you at all times. Good luck.

  2. PROS - you can choose when to work. CONS - no you can't because there is so little work out there
  3. tavypilgrim

    tavypilgrim New commenter

    Cons- 1. Schools have no regard for you when cancelling a booking with you, on more than one occasion I have turned up only to be told that they had forgot to cancel me. 2. There is less work about and more supply teachers trying to get it, compounded by many schools not using supply teachers at all.

    Pros - 1. You might get your foot in the door somewhere. 2. You can sometimes pick up some new ideas and ways of doing things.
  4. Jac27

    Jac27 New commenter

    Thanks everyone for the advice so far, lots to think about-does anyone actually enjoy supply teaching?
  5. Yes, i really enjoy it. You get the good bits - teaching children and seeing them learn, with none of the hassle of pointless initiatives, meetings, politics etc. And you can take a day off just because you want to and can turn down teaching awful classes once you are sufficiently established and have enough work in decent schools. If you are looking for a full time job you get to know which schools you like and which to avoid.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Well in the past I have, but the frustrations of not being able to follow thro' on children with whom one is beginning to establish realationships and see them progress is a big disadvantage for me personally.
    And now supply is totally dead in my area- not a single phone call since September and haven't been in a classroom (apart from 2 interviews)now since last July. [​IMG]
  7. ...you have had some great advice here from others...
    ....PROS - you know when times were good, supply work was a really rewarding challenge. Meeting new people, new ways of doing things and not least teaching a wide range of kids.
    ...CONS - the crappy agencies out there. Oh yes, schools arent immune from this either. Some schools are really bad and make you feel like a TURD and IMO are in cahoots with agencies in terms of the amount of CS work being asked of us to do...SCANDAL!!!!!

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