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NQT Supply Teacher - Help and Advice please!

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by sgnqt17, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. sgnqt17

    sgnqt17 New commenter

    I graduated in July and will be beginning Supply Teaching as an NQT in September. The agency I am signed up to have suggested I have a bank of lesson plans ready just in case.

    However, I'm struggling with where to start! I will be doing suppy for EYFS and KS1.

    Does anyone have any advice on what type of planning I should do? I'm finding it difficult due to not knowing which exact year group I'll be teaching and what they'll be learning at the time of me going into the class.

    pepper5 likes this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    I teach in secondary schools and in the seven years I have taught as a supply teacher I can remember two occasions where there was nothing left. Most schools will leave something, but it is a good idea to have some resources as a back up. Perhaps not specific plans but some activities/resources on a memory stick to take with you. That together with some story books/puppets for story times. Don't forget your PE kit. Anything else you may find handy keep in the boot of your car if you are driving. If you need it then you can pop out and get it.

    So have some literacy activities/numeracy activities - things you have done on your training and enjoyed using or the children enjoyed using. The other teachers there will also fill you in on what the class have been doing.

    Don't spend too much time on planning since as you say there is absolutely no way of knowing who or what you will be teaching on any given day unless you are doing a long term contract.

    More than likely when you arrive at a school there will be a TA who will know the class and help you out.

    You probably know this already, but try to arrive at the school about half an hour ( or a bit earlier) before the children arrive. This will give you time to speak to the TA, look through the planning, get the day's schedule in your mind, read the school's policies including the behaviour policy and put your name up on the board. Find out about any routines that important - assemblies or other movements of the day.

    Sending you all the very best wishes for your time on supply. I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy it if you get into the right schools. The experience will be good for you and you will learn a lot of things by going into different schools and observing and getting a lot of practice.

    Please keep posting as we are always interested in how people are getting on and to read stories of their experiences.

    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  3. historygrump

    historygrump Lead commenter Forum guide

    I agree with Pepper, a good TA are worth the weight in gold, because they will know where the resources are and will print off resources, if necessary as well, besides give you essential info on students issues and academic abilities. But also download some material of tes resources (especially the free) on a memory stick or paper copies, I would also go to a cheap bookshop, Aldi (sometimes have some) and even some pound shops like the 'Works' do sell some cheap, but some basic resource books (literacy and numeracy are the key ones), which although basic can be useful in emergencies.

    I would also be prepared to do secondary as well if offered it, it can be enlightening and is good skill development.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. sgnqt17

    sgnqt17 New commenter

    Thank you for your response. It's reassuring hearing from other supply teachers.

    I think it's also quite daunting as during my time training we didn't have the opportunity to go into schools in September.

    The experience will all be worth while though!

    pepper5 likes this.
  5. sgnqt17

    sgnqt17 New commenter

    Hi, thanks for your reply. Are there any basic resource books for Numeracy and Literacy you can recommend? I have quite a good selection of story books which I will always have on hand. Can you recommend and other supply must haves?


  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I can't recommend any specific numeracy or literacy books for your age group since I teach secondary and not the age group you do, but there are primary teachers who post on here who may see your post and reply. You could also look on Amazon, but don't spend a great deal. When you get into schools you can observe what materials they are using and ask for copies. Please be assured, most of the planning will be done for you. The extra resources/books/ songs etc are there for backup or the rare occasions nothing is left which although rare does happen.

    Historygrump's advice is good: start by looking on the TES web site resource section for the age groups you will be teaching. Put some of the resources onto a memory stick. Also, his advice about the literacy and numeracy books at Aldi, Poundland etc. is a good one.

    Games, songs, settling activities are what you are going to need. Look through what you used on your training or on the TES web site. Take a few of your favourite story books. Those can link to other activities. Use what you know and have done already.

    Supply Must Haves:

    Warm Coat for Duty
    Change of Clothes ( Keep in your car if you have one). I read that tip on here.
    PE Kit
    Take your lunch/thermos
    Pocket Tissues /hand wipes
    Sense of humour
    A smile
    A decent pen to mark with

    Regarding marking. Ensure you know what you are expected to mark in Key Stage 1. Usually it is the literacy and numeracy work. If you are covering a numeracy topic, see if the students can mark it as they go.

    For the literacy work, you will have to find some way to mark it quickly. If you do a search on this site that dilemma has been covered before.

    Your objective is to do a good job so you will get repeat work. Therefore, go in and treat every class as if it's YOUR class. However, try not to get bogged down in spending too much time at the end of the day marking. You will get better at it as you go.

    Crucial thing is to get there early so you can read the policies of the school and know what to do in terms of behaviour and any other matter. If you are unsure, ask. Schools don't mind you asking.

    Ensure you are pleasant to the receptionists, the TAs, the cleaners.

    Wear something smart but comfortable and easy to wash/iron.

    Above all, enjoy your new venture!

    Congratulations on graduating.

    cfmurphy, wicked4u2 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  7. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    Agree with Pepper's advice. I would add that schools are looking for long term supply this year as resignations have increased and trainee numbers are down, meaning many schools are short staffed.
    As an NQT you have entitlements whether you are directly employed by a school or indirectly through an agency.
    Above all, join a Union, so that you can have access to training, support and advice.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. eleanorms

    eleanorms Occasional commenter

    What I would do is get a small pile of good easy books together, like Owl Babies etc, and think of a day's activities you could do based on them if you had to. Maybe even get them out ready on paper to copy. Coded calculation sheets to colour, sentences to describe the picture of an owl, etc. It's really rare in EY or ks1 to have nothing left for you
    pepper5 and sarahgrimshaw like this.
  9. sgnqt17

    sgnqt17 New commenter

    Thank you for the advice. Ideally I hope to get long term supply so that I can begin my NQT year if possible.
    pepper5 likes this.
  10. sgnqt17

    sgnqt17 New commenter

    Thank you for the help. I have started to make a list of activities I could do just in case. The idea of using a story for a whole day of activities is great too!
    pepper5 likes this.
  11. historygrump

    historygrump Lead commenter Forum guide

    I endorse the comments above Sarah and also a great welcome to the supply family.
    pepper5 likes this.
  12. scross24

    scross24 New commenter

    How have you found things so far? I'm an NQT having my first day on supply tomorrow!
    pepper5 and wicked4u2 like this.
  13. wicked4u2

    wicked4u2 Occasional commenter

    Share your impressions. I'm really curious how YOU felt being on the other side of THE DESK.
    pepper5 likes this.
  14. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Hope you are having a sparkling day.
  15. scross24

    scross24 New commenter

    UPDATE: my class were fab! It was a little chaotic at times and schools pictures which sent the timetable crazy so there were times I felt a bit like okay so what am I doing now? But because it was year 1s it was fairly relaxed and just let them got on with choosing activities quite a bit. Any tips on remembering names? Also side note, I'm already exhausted!
    pepper5, Mrs_Hamilton and wicked4u2 like this.
  16. wicked4u2

    wicked4u2 Occasional commenter

    Lol, yr1. These guys are hitting their nose against the door handle.
    pepper5 likes this.
  17. wicked4u2

    wicked4u2 Occasional commenter

    You can make them write their names on either half of an A4 paper then fold it so it would look like a tent (I hope I made myself clear, LOL).

    Kinda like this:
    The pointy top is linked, of course.
    ->/__\. <- the name is written in bold black so you can see it from a distance. Tell them to write the name in very large letters. That "tent" is placed on their table in either top corner.

    Of course that is valid if you're a regular.
    If you're a "nomad", don't worry. No one expects of you to learn names, and you can't possibly unless you have a really amazing elephant like memory. You'll learn the names of the mischievous ones first, LOL.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2017
    scross24 and pepper5 like this.
  18. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Well done scross24 for getting through your first sparkling day. It is the mental aspect of the work which can be draining. You have to ensure you eat a good breakfast and take a lunch.

    Wicked's idea is great. You could get them to draw a picture of something they like on it- favourite food or pet.
    scross24 and wicked4u2 like this.
  19. wicked4u2

    wicked4u2 Occasional commenter

    Not my actual idea but I use it sometimes when I do short term.
    "Stole" that from one of the other teachers I've worked with. Seems a really easy/hassle free method. No big/posh/fancy resources needed, only a marker and a sheet of paper. :)
    pepper5 likes this.
  20. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Borrowed....you borrowed the idea.

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