My tips for supply teachers by Lyndsey Greenhalgh

1) Be there at 8 – Some schools are relaxed and are happy for you to go in a bit later but I always find its better to get in early as it gives you plenty of time to prepare before the children arrive.

2) Dress smartly –  Every school is different in their dress code, some are quite casual but on your first day in a new school I would suggest being as smart as possible to give the right first impression.

3) Go prepared – Even if your agent tells you work is prepared. I have 2 files, one for each key stage with lots of photocopiable activities in them. You may not need this but I always find its best to have something just incase you need something for a quick 10 minute activity. I also have a bag of resources which can be used to enrich the lessons already prepared.

4) Rewards – I have a big prize box which I always take with me. This can be especially useful in the more challenging schools as it can be a big incentive with children to try their best and behave. In classes where children are especially challenging I would recommend taking a pad of raffle tickets and everytime a child does anything good write their name on the back and pick 2 children out at the end of every lesson – it sounds alot but its enough to give them the extra motivation they may need.

5) Befriend the TA! – I find its important you make as much effort as possible to be polite to them and communicate well. Teaching Assistants are usually the one person which know most about the class you are teaching, they can offer you advice on any challenging children, help you to figure out the plans if there is anything you dont understand and tell you the routine of the day. Also the TA is probably the one person who the headteacher will ask about your performance throughout the day so if they see you are keen and friendly they are more likely to give you positive feedback which will hopefully lead to you being asked back again.

6) Tidy! – This sounds very obvious but make sure the classroom is immaculate when you leave … even if it wasnt very tidy when you get there! Children often sharpen there pencils alot throughout the day so make sure it isnt all over the floor, pick any pencils up, tidy the tables etc. In some schools supply coordinators often visit the classroom after you have left to check its tidy so its just easier to give them nothing to complain about!

7) Marking – Every schools have different marking policies. I would take a red and green pen with you as you will be expected to mark in one of these colours. I usually look back at the work thats been marked before but its pretty standard to write one thing positive about the work and something which could improve it (star and a wish). However, if it is big writing you are marking then you will probably be expected to mark using 2 stars and a wish.

8 ) Letter – When I go to a new school I usually write a quick letter to the teacher at the end of the day. Just to inform them of how the day went, it often helps to be complimentary of their class even if they weren’t the easiest.

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