At Step Teachers we are pledging to support National Supply Teacher week for any number of reasons, the foremost being the need to reinforce just how vital the role of supply teaching is both to school leaders and more importantly the pupils themselves.
Over the 15 years that Step has been operating we have seen a real sea-change in the level of professionalism and commitment that supply teachers bring to their role, and we would like to celebrate their contribution to our schools. Without highly skilled and committed supply teachers, schools cannot deal with the continuing pressure on school places and the requirements for permanent staff to have non-contact time. Trained teachers, working on supply in their specialist Key Stage or Subject, maintain the continuity for pupils where there are unavoidable absences.
The core value of Step Teachers is to maintain our reputation for ethical and teacher centred recruitment and we work hard every day to make sure our teachers understand how important their contribution is! Using our website, social media, emails and good old fashioned phone calls, we are constantly working to keep our teachers in the loop about new CPD and any resources we come across which can be of use. We have run several online and face-to-face CPD courses, which have been very well received, and this year we will be rolling out online Webinars where our teachers (and other interested non Step Teachers!) will be able to have a real time conversation and share their thoughts and experiences. In a similar vein, many of our consultants and our MD have joined the Supply Teacher Network group on Facebook and we have been encouraging our teachers to do the same. We regularly organise social events for our team, with the December 2014 audience participation murder mystery play being a huge success and we are fortunate that the company credit card went behind the bar that night!! These are just some of the avenues we pursue to make sure our supply teachers understand their value to us and to keep refreshing our understanding of what they want from us.
As part of our recruitment process, each teacher we employ comes in for a personal consultation where we discuss their specific strengths and experience and take time to understand how they can be best used on supply. Many teachers who have been in post for a number of years are used to having the time to build relationships in the classroom and manage behaviour. We understand that with daily supply in particular this is not always an option and we use the experience of our many ‘teachers-turned-consultants’ to give them some examples of how their innate skills can best be employed. Talking to our supply teachers about past lesson plans and lessons that have been taught successfully on observation, we encourage them to have that ‘Supply Bag’ ready and waiting as required.
The view of supply teaching is changing. The old-fashioned view of supply teachers as ‘second class’ citizens is slowly being chipped away as more and more experienced teachers with high levels of skill in the classroom are taking up the flexible options available through supply work. We communicate after every booking to ensure that our teachers are being treated properly whilst in school and where issues are identified we communicate them to the school immediately. At Step Teachers, the relationship between Agency, School and Teacher is a triangle with each of the three points being equally important in maintaining the whole.
Supply Teachers, we salute you!