Very much like any new job, starting your first day as a supply teacher can be daunting. Excited at the new opportunity, there is bound to be some trepidation that comes with a new supply teaching job. Finding your feet in a new school environment and fitting in as a new member of staff isn’t easy, let alone making a positive first impression on pupils and dealing with challenging behaviours. That being said, there are a number of things that you can do to help ease those nerves as you embark on an exciting new chapter in your teaching career. Here are some of our top tips…
As obvious as it may sound, it’s always a good idea to plan your journey beforehand as you don’t want to be late. This will give you ample time to meet new colleagues who will no doubt give you a guided tour so you can get your bearings and know where all the key locations are. This also allows you to find out more about your duties and any particular classroom routine you need to be aware of or any other supervisory responsibilities of the teacher you’re covering for. Arriving early lets you ask those all-important questions and pick up what you need to know.
Have a back-up
Having back-up lesson plans prepared in advance is also to be advised as you don’t know what you will find when you get there. You may well have a pre-set work schedule to follow but if you don’t, you’ll need some form of back-up, so come prepared. Teaching assistants will also be an important fountain of information and will be able to advise and guide you. You will also want to check with them about any special needs or medication requirements that any pupils may have. Make sure you’re aware of timetables, behavioural codes of conduct and other related student matters.
Focus on the pupils
Importantly, you need to get to know the students, which starts with an introduction and learning all their names. Children will have been used to a certain routine so make sure to make them feel as comfortable as possible given that they might need to feel reassured, given the change in teacher. But don’t overly worry about things, focus on what you’re there to do as an educator and back yourself to handle any problems as they arise. As the new kid on the block, you may well find some of the students quite difficult, so it’s important to be firm but fair.
Ditch the first day supply teaching nerves!
Children can easily get distracted and it can be challenging to ensure that they focus and stay concentrated. And with big class sizes, that’s an inevitability. Irrespective of whether you have to fill some gaps in time, mixing things up and adding variety is always a good strategy. Including some fun games can work wonders and helps to keep the students entertained and motivated. Examples include puzzles and quizzes, word games, colouring pages, board games and building blocks. Or why not just open the floor to some questions to discuss topics of their choice?
Wrap things up well
A key aspect of the role of any supply teacher is marking and assessing the completed assignments of students. If you haven’t been given any guidance or have been specifically told not to, then chances are that you will be expected to carry out any marking. It’s important to bear this in mind and find the time to do it. Look at previous examples if you’re not sure. One option would be to mark an exercise together, involving the children. Keeping on top of marking also shows dedication and professionalism on your part and going the extra mile will mean that they’ll want you back again in the future when the need arises.
Leave a handover
Before heading for the exit door, make sure you leave any notes for the class teacher about any aspects that you feel they should be aware of, whether regarding particular individuals or general positive feedback and any challenges encountered. Always let the pupils and other teachers know how much you’ve enjoyed the experience and hopefully, this will be the start of a longer term rewarding and fulfilling relationship. With that first day experience behind you, the next time will seem like a breeze – you’ll feel better prepared, more confident and those nerves will vanish.
Are you looking for your next temporary supply teacher role? Why not contact us?