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New to supply, any advice much appreciated

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by twigs74, Sep 20, 2019.

  1. twigs74

    twigs74 New commenter

    Hello everyone,

    Having worked as a teacher for over 20 years, I am now tired of being made to feel inadequate, bullied and forced out of the system due to me being UPS3 (which I have no doubt in my mind is the reason why I have been made to feel this way for the last few years).

    I have been signed off with anxiety and depression for the first time in my career and have decided to leave full time teaching for good a.s.a.p.

    I was wondering if it is acceptable to look into registering with an agency (or more than one) whilst signed off? As the main breadwinner of the family, I cannot afford not to work so must think about preparing for my future role in education. I love teaching, but the ridiculous pressure and workload teachers have to put up with has resulted in my decision to look at supply teaching instead. Luckily I can afford to get by on just a few days a month if necessary, anything else would be a bonus. I am just a bit worried that during my absence, despite handing in my notice to leave my current place of work later this year, I am not allowed to look into registering with an agency.

    If anyone has any advice regarding this - or anything to do with supply teaching - I would really appreciate it.

    It is a very sad state of affairs to have devoted my working life to this profession, only to be told I'm basically too expensive and past it to employ, but no job is worth one's health and happiness.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can offer. Best wishes to you all.
    JohnJCazorla and pepper5 like this.
  2. 50sman

    50sman Lead commenter

    As you have resigned you can do all the application stuff but you cannot work for them until you finish your current contract

    If in doubt check with your union
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi twigs74

    Welcome to the forum. You have come to the right place for advice, support and general chat about supply and all different topics. Most people who post on here are a very friendly bunch and some have many years of experience working as supply teachers.

    I would echo 50sman advice that you can go ahead and register with agencies, but don't do any work until you finish your current contract, but as always it might be better to double check with your union.

    At the top of this forum there is a thread titled "New to Supply" which you could take time to scan and dip into to find the answers to any queries regarding supply teaching in general. If you have any specific questions, please don't hesitate to post these.

    Finding good agencies will be important, so you could take this time off and phone around some schools that you would like to work at and find the names of the agencies they use and which agencies the schools recommend for customer service. That way you will get an idea of the better agencies or at least the ones the schools that you want to go to use. Ensure you ask to be paid PAYE.

    If you only need to work a few days per month you should be able to achieve that.

    Once you get out and do a good job, you might get repeat work and go to just two or three schools on a regular basis.

    Ensure you stay in a union.

    On a separate note, alongside the supply teaching, if you have any inclination at all to retrain, you could take some courses to do something alongside supply teaching. There are a lot of opportunities for you and you can take advantage of these when you feel better.

    Who needs anxiety and depression when there are a lot of fun things to do outside teaching?

    Good for you to decide to leave. When your contract finished and you are free... invite your friends around for a party. Have champagne and celebrate your new beginning.

    All the best for your new future and hope you feel better soon.
    blazer, bella2891, tonymars and 3 others like this.
  4. twigs74

    twigs74 New commenter

    Thank you both so much for your replies, it is very much appreciated and extremely helpful.

    I have decided to contact a few agencies and have informed them I cannot register with them until after I have resigned, but will take it from there once my resignation date is over.

    Thank you once again pepper5 and 50sman for your time and help.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    You are welcome. Keep us posted.
  6. pwtin

    pwtin Senior commenter

    As you say you are the main bread winner I am concerned that what with supply being so erratic you will not earn enough. There are so many lean periods on supply...the start and end of term being especially bad.
    I also would register with agencies, get all the paperwork done as this all takes time before your contract actually ends.
    JohnJCazorla, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  7. tonymars

    tonymars Established commenter

    Great advice from pepper.
    If you haven't already, you need to get the DBS thing sorted out now, as this can take some time.
    If you can afford to only work a few days a month, you are indeed lucky. This will also take the pressure off.
    Register with several. If you can, cultivate individuals within these agencies. Get yourself a rep as someone reliable and flexible.
    Research what you think your "rate" should be, given your local market conditions. Add a bit and negotiate with the agencies. Sound confident, not desperate.
    Research other opportunities within teaching.
    Good luck.
    JohnJCazorla, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  8. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Agree but my only way of doing this is by asking every supply teacher I meet what they are on for that gig. I also volunteer mine, of course. This also applies to those who "Did supply last term"

    I can't trust and so don't bother asking agencies, cover organisers or SLT what they pay. Is that incorrect and do you have any other sources that I could also cultivate? Market conditions are very important which is why agencies won't reveal them.
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. elvispenhaligon

    elvispenhaligon Occasional commenter

    Remember, you do not get paid enough to get upset.
    tonymars and pepper5 like this.
  10. twigs74

    twigs74 New commenter

    Thank you so much again for all your helpful replies.

    Sorry for not replying sooner. It's got the better of me, how I've been treated. Not left the house for a few days. It was my birthday this week too. Cancelled plans and saw nobody.

    I wish I could go back and never devote my life to teaching. What a waste of my life it has been.
  11. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Hi twigs74

    Sorry to read that you have been feeling so low.

    I know it is difficult but now is the time to resist isolating yourself but to try and let family and friends help you.

    Since my accident at school (see My Horrible Day) I sometimes think I wasted 10 years of my life; however, I know that even as a supply teacher there were occasions when I made an impact by making children smile or making them feel positive about their abilities and helping them learn.

    What I am trying to say is that your years of teaching were not wasted -even if your teaching touched one life and made it better.

    You will rebuild your life just like I am having to do : one step at a time and one day at a time.

    When you feel up to it, perhaps you could think about some retraining in another field or related field.

    Please be encouraged that you have a future and a hope.

    Perhaps this weekend reinstate your birthday plans.

    Stay strong and take care.
    BertieBassett2 likes this.

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