Being a Professional

    Supply Teachers Are Valuable.

    Understanding the least that is expected of you by the school you are visiting is paramount if you would like a return booking.  It is your job to prove that you provide good value for money and can add value to the school you are working for.  Here are the basics:

    • Arrive at school in plenty of time - aim for between 8am and 8.25am.  Arriving later than 8.30am is frowned upon.  If you are a regular, find out if there is a morning briefing and arrive in time to attend. 
    • Dress the part.  Gentlemen - a minimum of no denim or trainers and a collar.  I've found that a shirt, waistcoat and tie sets a good tone and makes a good impression.  Ladies, dress as if you are visiting an aged relative.  Conservative and smart.  As a regular you will find what style of dress suits the school best, but aim high initially.
    • Wear your ID at all times, and be prepared to present your CRB certificate at any time. If a school doesn't query your ID, it will quickly find itself shut-down, so expect it to happen.
    • Communicate.  Make yourself known to the Head / Deputy on arrival.  If you have T/A's, speak to them about what you intend to do, and listen to what they can tell you about the class. Be polite and friendly to all staff members.  Be proactive about integrating yourself into the team.
    • Leave feedback about the day.  Write a note explaining what you did and some assessment information.  Make comments about poor behaviour only if it was continually unacceptable, but be specific and give names.  Much better is to spotlight children making excellent choices (it will cheer you up too!).  Generally, the class teacher will want to know what their class learned and how they received the learning.  Be as positive as possible about the behaviour.  If it was awful, don't go back - but don't burn your bridges!
    • Policies.  Make yourself aware of the Behaviour and Child Protection (including end of day procedure) policies as soon as possible.  Find out what the fire-drill is.  Obviously, ensure you follow the schools guidelines at all times.
    • Deal with members of the public and parents as politely and pro-actively as you can.  Don't promise things or agree to things on the schools behalf, but do what you can to answer concerns and help answer queries.
    • Mark the books!  Minimum should be 'tick and flick' but make sure you initial what you mark so that OFSTED or HMI recognise that it is non-standard marking.  However, as a regular supply teacher, you should find out what the schools marking policy is and stick to it. (I have a rubber stamp made up that says 'checked by Mr Field' that saves a lot of time at the end of the day.)
    • Maintain levels of presentation and format expected by the normal class teacher.  If you are in doubt about this, or are following your own plans it is much better to provide the class with loose paper.  Leave marked work for the teacher to inspect on their return.
    • At the end of the day tidy the room and leave the class at least as tidy as it was when you arrived.  There is nothing worse for a class teacher than coming back after a day out and having to clean up after a supply.  Conversely, it is always a lovely (if expected) surprise for them to discover tidiness and order on their return.