Being on supply for ever!
I have been doing supply teaching – when I can get it – for the last three years. I would love a permanent post, but I’m told that Heads automatically reject applications from teachers who are doing supply.
Well, I have certainly never done that!
Supply is no easy option and gives a great deal of professional development. I always have had a great deal of time for those who have done supply.
Are you presenting this positively, therefore, in your applications?
Accentuate the positives
Let's look at what you gain from doing supply.
The supply teaching has given you flexibility and versatility, allowed you to observe a variety of different classroom practices and learn from them, improved your classroom management skills from dealing with a wide range of different pupils, from the too-compliant to the downright difficult.
You have gained self-reliance, have learnt to work co-operatively with colleagues in different types of schools, you are able to deal with difficult situations (and difficult people), you have experience of a wide range of year groups.
You have become a much more effective teacher than you were before, and are very grateful for these opportunities.
Are you setting all this out in the letter or supporting statement, right at the beginning, getting it all in before you even mention the word "Supply"?
Talk to the Headteacher who is going to write one of your references, and ask him or her to include the phrase "Would appoint without hesitation if I had a vacancy". Put in your letter that schools ask for you by name from the agency (but only if this is true, not if not!), that you had repeat placements because you were a valued colleague.
Another important tip if you are doing supply teaching is to try to avoid using the agency as a referee, as their references can be pretty minimalist. Really minimalist!
We can confirm that Theo Griff has worked for this agency as a teacher of Sanskrit since September 2012. That’s it – the whole reference! So do try to use two school-based referees if you possibly can.
To sum up: don't be apologetic, supply is great preparation for the day-to-day of teaching.
And while you ARE still a supply teacher - do you know this book?