Supply teachers play a vitally important role in every school, from nurseries up to sixth form colleges. They cover for short and long term absences, from sickness to maternity leave, as well as providing cover for training. Supply teachers are an essential part of the smooth running of our schools.
While a permanent teaching role offers stability and regular pay, there are some appealing advantages to working as a supply teacher. Many outside the profession think supply teachers can’t get a permanent teaching job, but many teachers choose to work as supply teachers. They do so for a great number of reasons and find supply teaching a more enjoyable way of practising their profession. Here are the top 7 great advantages of being a supply teacher:
Supply teachers get to decide when and where they work. It’s a great option for those considering a relocation. Working across a number of schools, teachers can get a sense of which area they’d like to settle in.
There’s also the flexibility of taking time off during the school year, rather than being restricted to the usual school holidays. It’s also much easier to take a day off for a special occasion, such as a family member’s special birthday. It can save money on holidays, which are more expensive during designated school holidays.
Supply teaching positions vary, from day to day, to longer-term contracts. This gives supply teachers great flexibility to choose a working pattern that best suits them.
Supply teaching works well for staff wanting to reduce the number of hours they work, for example those starting their own families and also those moving towards retirement.
- Work-life balance
Teachers in permanent positions are finding it increasingly difficult to balance workload with life outside of school. For some, supply teaching is a more attractive alternative, with responsibilities considerably reduced.
Arriving at 8-8.30am and leaving at 3.30pm is something most teachers dream about. Many permanent teachers have hours of administration and lesson planning to get through at the end of the school day and don’t leave school until 6pm or later, as well as arriving as early as 6am-7am. For those struggling with workload, switching to a supply role could be a great way to avoid burnout.
Supply teaching gives teachers the opportunity to work in many different schools, and if preferred different locations across the UK. Supply teachers have the opportunity to meet and work with a wide variety of people and teach many different pupils.
There’ll be some schools supply teachers love and some they don’t, but it could help hone down the type of school teachers would like to work in if they are eventually looking for a permanent position. Supply teaching offers the opportunity to make an informed choice about the type of school a teacher would be happy to take a permanent role in.
Many teachers in permanent positions take on extra responsibilities. Spending more time on administration, policy matters and meetings isn’t uncommon for teachers, especially when they’ve been in the same role and school for many years.
Conversely, supply teaching really does mean more time in the classroom. There’s no excess burden of paperwork and administration, giving teachers the space to enjoy the job they love – teaching!
- Post graduate study
Supply teaching allows teachers to combine working with learning. Teachers considering further education, such as an MA, can still work around their studies with the flexibility supply teaching offers.
Working as a supply teacher offers the opportunity to experience different ways of doing things. Supply teachers can pick up good ideas for developing their own style of teaching. Yes, there will undoubtedly be challenges, but these add to experience.
Supply teachers may be required to teach a subject or year group outside of their comfort zone, but this is a great opportunity for development. It can be an exhilarating experience teaching outside an area of expertise. It may even mean discovering a hidden talent!
For newly qualified teachers, supply teaching can be a great way to quickly gain experience in a variety of schools. Teaching a range of ages and subjects and exploring areas of specialty are also great development opportunities. For those returning to teaching after taking a break, it can be a great way to refresh skills before taking a permanent role.
Supply teaching offers a great opportunity for networking with a great many teaching staff and head teachers. As a supply teacher you can build up a reputation. If you are good, word will spread and who knows what opportunities that may bring.
Be sure to choose a good supply teacher recruitment agency, such as Red Box Teachers, as they will offer additional support. The more flexible you are, the more likely you are to get the roles you want. Good luck!