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Should I become a supply teacher?

Friday, February 22, 2019

Should I become a supply teacher?

More flexibility and a better work-life balance…It sounds good, doesn’t it? Have you found yourself considering becoming a supply teacher?

It’s great that the world we live in is more understanding of mental-wellbeing, and supply teaching is an excellent way to give attention to the areas of your life outside of your teaching career (fairwell lesson planning and paperwork!).

In addition to those needing more personal time, working on supply (be that as a teacher, teaching assistant, HLTA or cover supervior) is a fantastic gateway for those wanting to return to work in education from the likes of maternity leave or retirement. It’s also a brilliant option if you’ve relocated and are wanting to trial run schools or get to know the area better before settling in a job.

Are you questioning if a supply teaching job would suit you? Perhaps you’ve heard some negativity towards it? Remember, there are many types of supply teaching, both short-term or long, and multiple ways of sourcing supply teaching jobs. The key is finding what works for you.

So, if you want to know what a day in the life of a supply teacher is really like and whether you’re the right person for the job, keep on reading!

Becoming a supply teacher and what to expect

How to get into supply teaching

First, you will need to find a way of connecting with schools and jobs. Some people may panic and register with all the supply agencies they can; this may actually turn out to be more of a hindrance. We suggest that you register with no more than two to three teaching agencies to prevent you from being bombarded with multiple calls for the same job. It’s also far easier to manage your tax return if you choose to work PAYE.

Ultimately, if you’re not happy with one agency, you can always leave and change to another.

Types of supply teacher

Not every supply teacher job is on a day-to-day basis. There are teaching positions on a short-term and long-term basis, with options to work full-time or part-time.

When using the SupplyNow app to find supply teaching work, you have the option to filter the job types you’re interested in, as well as availability, locations you can reach and any specialisms you are qualified to teach, from early years foundation stage to jobs as a science supply teacher.


If you’re one of our Supply Heroes, we like to make sure that your supply experience is as stress-free and effortless as possible. As you already know, you can establish your job preferences to what suits you; this means that you can sit back and wait for the jobs to come to you - no hanging around waiting for the phone to ring and no need to constantly check your emails, like with a traditional teaching agency.

With day-to-day supply jobs, it’s common to be notified of work between 7 am and 7.30 am, although sometimes it can be as late as 9 am, or, if you’re lucky, the night before! For this reason, it’s good always to be prepared. Why not have an ‘emergency supply bag’ on hand so that you can just get up and go if you if you receive a last-minute notification for a vacancy?

Top tips for staying prepared

It’s good to have everything ready the night before and set your alarms as if you’re expecting to go to work the next day. From outfits and lunches to organising childcare, having these elements covered will help your mornings to run as smoothly as possible.

Another thing you want to make sure you have pre-prepared is activities - just in case you're not left a lesson plan, or the material given to you doesn’t cover the full lesson.

Who would make a good supply teacher?

Hopefully, you now know a little bit more about being a supply teacher, but do you think you have what it takes?

Who is supply teaching suited to?

Supply teaching is the ideal option for anyone needing a better work-life balance, be that because of age and needing to unwind more, having a family to care for, or even health and wellbeing. Supply teaching is also perfect for someone who has relocated and wants to become more familiar with the area and local schools before settling into one permanently.

It’s also excellent for those looking to get back into teaching! We’ve worked alongside mums who have taken time out of work for maternity leave and wanted to ease their way back into the world of education, as well as those who’ve retired and missed teaching, but couldn’t commit to it full-time.

Beneficial characteristics

Every day is different when teaching on supply. For this reason, it’s vital that you are flexible and accountable. Your agency and local schools need to know that you can be trusted to be at a job. If you do this, you will be front of the queue when they’re looking for cover.

If you’re working in education, hopefully, you’re already passionate about working with children. Having the ability to engage with your students will really go a long way, as will having patience, self-confidence and a sense of humour! After all, students like to test substitute teachers - there’s no point in trying to deny it!

Are you good at thinking on your feet? Perfect, because there may be times when the lesson plan doesn’t fill the entire lesson or maybe you won’t have one at all! You may also need to think of inventive ways to grab the classes attention.

Why choose SupplyNow

Working with SupplyNow gives you total transparency and control over your supply bookings.

You have:

  • Management of when and where you work
  • Access to booking details as soon as they are posted to our app
  • The ability to see the name of the school and distance from your home
  • Full view of the daily rate
  • The choice to work PAYE or via an umbrella company
  • Create lists of your favourite schools and those you don’t wish to return to

All the above mean that you only receive job alerts for the bookings suited to you and that you’re most likely to accept.

See how it works in this short video.

Not only will you have complete independence through our app, but you will also have access to our brilliant Supply Support Team whenever you need - because we all like to hear a friendly voice from time to time.

Are timesheets a pain to keep on top of? With the SupplyNow app, you’ll never need to use a timesheet again! Your bookings all go via our platform, which holds a record of the jobs you’ve worked – no need to log them manually.

We saved the best part for last: our #FairPayNow Guarantee! Our guarantee ensures that Supply Heroes receive the best rates of pay - find better for an equivalent job, and we’ll beat it! Qualified teachers can earn upwards of £150 per day, cover supervisors make a minimum of £100 and supply teaching assistants receive £80 plus per day.

It’s not only supply teachers who are better off with SupplyNow, but schools too, as they can save an impressive 20% from their existing supply spend.

There are no tricks; if you want to see how we do it, just click here or get in touch today!

Download the SupplyNow app from the App Store and Google Play.

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SupplyNow exists to improve upon the traditional ways of finding supply work and are using technology to guarantee teachers #FairPayNow while saving schools up to 20% off their supply budget.

Click below to find out more.

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