Practical tips for supply teachers

July 31, 2018



Recently, many teachers have been trying supply teaching for the first time. They love being able to work when and where they want. They enjoy that they don’t have a lot of the troubles of the job that permanent staff have to deal with. Their Opogo app uses technology to making finding supply work more accessible than ever.


The best supply teachers build a win-win relationship with the schools they teach at. The teachers get to work flexibly, while the school gets a reliable teacher who can provide valuable cover when needed. If you’re trying supply teaching for the first time, here are 6 practical tips you can use to get the best out of your experience.


1 – Get there early


You want to make a good impression on your first day at a new school, so make sure you get there early. Arriving early gives you time to familiarise yourself with the school, work out what you’re going to be teaching and meet other members of staff. You also have time to prepare for meeting the children.


You arriving early reassures the school that you’re someone they can rely on. They don’t want to be wondering whether or not you’re going to turn up.


2 – Introduce yourself to everyone


No one ever got a bad name for being too friendly. Make sure you introduce yourself to everyone you meet at your new school, from the other teachers to the caretaker. There’s every chance that during the day, or later on in your teaching career, you’ll need their help in some way. Smile and make the first move.


To make the day go smoothly, build a relationship with your Teaching Assistant (if you have one). Your TA is a prized resource for you. They know the school, the staff and most importantly, the children. Before the children arrive, check with your TA if there is anything vital you need to know.


3 – Be prepared to make your own lessons


It’s a sad fact of teaching life, but sometimes all a supply teacher gets in the way of a lesson plan is a post-it note with a few scribbles on it. Actually, sometimes they’re lucky to even get that!

While you hope that there will be detailed lesson plans waiting for you when you turn up for a day supply teaching, you can’t bank on it. So, make sure you have some relevant lesson plan ideas and all necessary resources with you when you arrive.


4 – Know the rules


Make sure you familiarise yourself with the school rules, formal and informal, before you start teaching. You need to know what sort of behaviour expectations to set for your class. Plus, you don’t want to ask anyone to break any rules inadvertently.


When it comes to the minutiae of the class, such as bathroom breaks, sitting positions and timetables, make sure you familiarise yourself with the little routines. Some children may see the presence of a supply teacher as an opportunity to make mischief. A bit of preparation will make you feel more in charge of the situation.


5 – Enjoy yourself


Supply teaching is an excellent opportunity to work flexibly, meet new people, make a difference in children’s education and more. Who knows? You may even find a school you want to work at in a more permanent capacity?


Be confident. Be bold. Enjoy yourself.


6 – Opogo


At Opogo, we aren’t merely a recruitment agency. We want to help our members and partners build mutually beneficial relationships. Here’s how we support our members:

  • We cover the cost of their umbrella fees

  • We give our members free access to Perkbox – hundreds of discounts on shopping, cinema, gym tickets and more

  • The best rates of pay

  • Access to rich content online and in the app, as well as running weekly development workshops in person

  • Perfectly-matched jobs based on the right skills, experience and location


By reducing daily admin, simplifying job opportunities, delivering world-class E-Learning, organising social meetups, rewarding engagement, cutting down on complexity, giving

greater transparency and better, faster control (i.e. via mobile), we are helping educators do more than work in the sector they love.


We are excited about transforming the lives of everyone in education.


To find out more about Opogo visit our website or download the Opogo app on your mobile.


If you would like to work for Opogo email




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