If you’ve ever worked as a supply teacher I’m sure you’ll be nodding along as you read this post. . .
1. You have laid in bed and ignored the phone ringing more than once
I must admit this isn’t something I’ve done recently (bills to pay, mouths to feed and all that) but I do remember when I was first on Supply in my mid twenties hearing the phone ring and thinking nope, not today thanks.
2. You’ve been told you’re not a real / proper teacher at least once by a child
This is usually just meant in the context of “you’re not a full time teacher in our school” however I have also experienced “It doesn’t matter what you think, you’re only here for a week anyway” – as you can imagine she didn’t get away with that one!
3. You’ve always got a mug & cutlery in the bottom of your school bag
You never know where you’re going to be, what time you will have or what facilities will be available to you. A Cup a Pasta is my best friend when it comes to lunch at work!
4. You couldn’t live without your sat nav
School are notoriously difficult to find and often hidden at the bottom of residential streets with little signage. I remember when I was first on Supply in the days before Sat Nav (yes really) when I would get lost trying to find a school and have to ring my best mate to talk me through the directions down the phone using his A to Z – how I ever got to work I’ll never know!
5. Your academic year doesn’t start till October
If you’re picking up much work in September you’re doing well – roll on October when people have got more meetings and the coughs and colds start to take hold . . .
6.”Winging it” is your speciality
From subject areas you don’t know much about to filling in gaps during the day when you’ve got no planning or have misjudged what time the school day is – being able to “wing it” is key to being a good supply teacher!
7. You have an immense power for learning names ridiculously quickly, and then forgetting them again as soon as you walk out of the classroom
One of the handiest tools in your behaviour management arsenal is a supply teacher is knowing someone’s name – being able to say “Erm Jonny, I am watching you” rather than “Erm love, stop doing that please” is immensely powerful!
8. You have a handy supply of pet names ready for when you do forgot someone’s name
One of the first things I say when I go into a new class is that I will try to learn everyone’s names as quickly as possible however if I call you “love” I’m not being rude, it’s just hard to learn 30 names all at once!
Have you worked as a supply teacher? I’d love to know if you have anything else to add to the list!
Find more posts about my experience as a supply teacher here: