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How to get back into supply teaching

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by goldie12, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. goldie12

    goldie12 New commenter

    I hope this post doesn't come across as too flaky! Here goes! I left full time teaching 10 years ago and since then (between having children) have worked at one school doing supply (only 2-3 days per month usually- keeping my hand in!). In Summer '14 they offered me a 2 term 0.6 contract but I turned it down as that was too many hours. I then managed to get myself a 0.2 contact at another school- this was the most horrendous experience ever, on every level, and I left after a term. I am very wary of not jumping into things again and my confidence has taken a real dive. I worked back at the first school again afterwards doing bits of supply but I haven't heard from them at all this term.

    I'm trying to view this silence as a positive thing as, to be honest, what I really need is to spend a period of time volunteering in a school, observing teachers and gaining some confidence back. After only a handful of INSET's in 10 years, I constantly feel like I'm blagging it!! Not sure how to proceed with this though. Have got my eye on a couple of large-ish local primary schools that I'd like to volunteer at (maybe they would offer me some supply once they got to know me??). How is it best to approach the Heads? Email, phone, turn up at the school on the off chance?

    Sorry for the ramble. Any advice would be extremely welcome
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Hullo @goldie12

    It's not that long since you last taught, is it? And that was just one nasty experience in a career made up mainly of successes, wasn't it? So lacking in confidence . . . well, why?

    Yes, an excellent idea! But schools sometimes get a load of requests like that, from people ,who then just dip in and out, don't come this Tuesday because they have a hair appointment, then they miss Friday because of . . . well because of anything.

    So the first thing that the school will want to know is that you have something to offer them. Something good or even great. And secondly that you will be thoroughly absolutely committed and reliable. And thirdly there for the (fairly) long term. They are not interested in offering a two-week work experience placement . . . more trouble than it's worth. A whole term would be best.

    And that you pay any associated costs such as the DBS, if relevant.

    I suggest that you write, setting out clearly NOT what you want, but what you are offering. How it will benefit them, not how it will benefit you.

    Then deliver it by hand after the end of the school day, when you might have a chance to meet the Head.

    Best wishes

  3. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    I am assuming your children are now of an age where they are a little less dependent on you. First step: register with two supply agencies in your area. Pay for a DBS at the first agency and then sign up to something called the 'Up-date' service (you'll receive details from DBS when the first agency do a check), which will make it easy (and free of charge) for the next agency to carry out a DBS check.

    During the registration process the agency consultants will ask you for your work preferences: primary/secondary, whether you prefer pre-booked assignments or early morning calls etc. If you only want to work for two days a week then that's your choice you, so don't feel obliged to do any more than that.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Two great posts above.

    What you could also do is a mix: you could register with two agencies but also have amfew schools you contact directly. That way you have a wider scope of finding work.

    There is more about supply over on the supply forum if you want to know more.
  5. goldie12

    goldie12 New commenter

    Thank you both.

    Snowyhead- no, I do still have one child at pre-school but have a fair amount of free hours in the week and have got childcare covered for doing bits of supply. I really don't want to go the agency route and walk into new schools and who knows what every time! I don't have the confidence for that at the moment.

    Theo- I last taught in July so no, not long ago :). I'm maybe getting ahead of myself but I don't want to go all year hanging out for a supply call from my school, then apply for jobs for September only to be told I have no recent experience.

    I don't have anything great to offer a school(!), other than I'm professional, hardworking, have a great track record, would be there for a genuine reason and would be wanting to genuinely help them out/ get involved as well as observe/ glean knowledge. I don't think I'd list all that but is that the right kinda thing? I would add some individual enthusiastic bits about their school and why I would like to volunteer there. I was planning to be quite honest (briefly) about things and I hoped that most Heads would see my professionalism in wanting some up to date experience before going forwards. I would certainly be able to offer a half day (possibly a day) commitment per week for a term but is that enough do you think? That's great advice to offer to pay for the DBS and to pop by at the end of the day- should I specifically ask if the Head is around or just explain who I am to the office staff and see if they offer to see if Head is around? Sorry, silly questions I know!

    Thanks again
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Yes, that would be best.


    Let's get rid of those Little Green Martians!


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