What are my responsibilities as a supply teacher?

When you are working as a supply teacher either for a school that you are familiar with or through an agency it is not always clear what your responsibilities are beyond the obvious ones of teaching the class and making sure that safeguarding guidelines are followed to the letter. Some schools have a clear policy on what they expect of a supply teacher but many haven’t so if you want to be offered work on a regular basis it is important that you create the right impression and fulfil the duties expected of you in a particular school.

Some teachers whose classes you cover will leave work for the children to do and expect this to be carried out as their guidance. This is especially the case with older children who often have a fixed curriculum to cover in a given timeframe. If this is the case it is important to carry out the teacher’s instructions as fully as possible. A brief note to the teacher outlining how the day went is a valuable way to communicate but should focus on the positive aspects if possible.

Sometimes if a supply teacher is needed to cover for an unexpected absence no work has been allocated so it is a good idea to have lessons up your sleeve that can be adapted to the age group you are teaching. Always mark any work that either you or the teacher has set, checking with the school marking policy or a senior member of staff if in doubt as to the level of marking required.

Making a job share in a primary school work for you

If you are returning to work after maternity leave or simply wish to reduce the hours you are working, you may be considering taking on a job share. This is often an excellent way to address the work life balance that many teachers find challenging and can even benefit the pupils in school.

The first question to ask is how the job is going to be divided up. Is it going to be a fifty-fifty split or is one employee going to do more than another? Obviously, this will result in a difference in pay too and will be directly proportional to the hours or days worked.

The next consideration is curriculum subject responsibility. Some job shares work best when a teacher’s strengths are utilised so that, for example a teacher who enjoys and is good at art leads that subject and a teacher whose strengths lie in technology takes responsibility for computer studies. This strategy is going to be of benefit to the pupils in the class as they are getting twice the expertise than they would normally.

There are some curriculum subjects that both teachers will need to teacher however the burden of planning and marking can be shared making these time-consuming tasks less onerous.

Exams in a small school setting

There are many different types of primary schools ranging from the large inner-city school with hundreds of pupils to a small rural school with possibly only thirty pupils on roll. Which ever sort of school you find yourself in, one thing is certain the pupils in that school will have to face sitting exams. It may be internal exams, or those compulsory exams instigated by the authorities.

In a small school setting, there may only be a small number of children sitting the exams and therefore the rest of the class need to be accommodated and catered for. As staffing is sometimes an issue this needs careful planning in advance of the exams.

Meetings with parents beforehand even though there may only be two or three sets of parents is essential to answer any questions and allay any fears they may have concerning the administration of the exams and give them ideas on how their children can be better prepared.

Although having to sit compulsory exams of any sort can be very stressful for pupils in any school, in a small primary school setting the children may have more opportunity to discuss their concerns and fears thus minimising their stress.

Keeping children occupied during the school holidays

The summer holidays are almost upon us and many people will be wondering how they can keep their children occupied over the six-week break. It may be that you have to work and so your children will be spending some of their holidays with friends, family or with a child care provider, in which case you may want to have some fun activities planned for when you do get to spend the day with them.
A trip to the seaside always goes down well, and if you are not going on holiday this summer, then a few day-trips out can be just as fun. It does not need to cost a fortune, as you can take a picnic with you, and if the weather is good, the kids will be happy with digging in the sand or paddling in the sea.
It is also important to think about your child’s education during the 6-week summer break as it is a long time to be off school. Continuing to read with them often and asking them to write a diary or draw a picture of something they have enjoyed doing, will allow them to practise skills they have been learning at school without it feeling like home work.

The importance of education at an early age

It can be hard to find the right balance between education and play for younger children. Many parents often feel that their children are made to work too hard too younger and are put under unnecessary pressure at such a young are.

Research shows that children who get a head start on their learning often excel throughout their school years and often even further in to their work life later on. A child’s mind is like a sponge and therefore can take a lot of information in, in small chunks. They may learn in a different way to many adults but they are able to retain a lot of information from a young age. This is why children pick up new languages a lot easier than it is for an adult to learn a new language.

Although it is important for young children to have a good education, there is a balance and children should still be allowed to be children. Putting too much pressure on a child can have the opposite desired affect and can mean that they start to switch off. 

Your child’s teacher should be giving them the correct amount of home work and work to be completed in class, but if you are at all worried about the work load then it is important to raise your concerns with their teacher.