Interview with... Gemma, Director at Apple a Day Supply

Interview with... Gemma HectorOur interview with Gemma Hector, Company Director at Apple A Day Supply, reveals her expectations of a supply teacher.
Have you ever worked as a supply teacher?

Yes. Following qualifying as a teacher I worked as a Head Nanny for a luxury ski company for nearly a year. When I returned in May, I worked as a supply teacher in Bristol with all ages of primary whilst looking for a job to start in September

What service do you provide to supply teachers?

As teachers ourselves, we offer a true understanding of what it is like to teach in today’s classroom. We genuinely enjoying getting to know our teachers personally and understanding their needs. The service that we provide is personal, tailored and caring. I have also taught in nearly all of our schools now so I truly know our schools needs and I am able to carefully match our teachers with suitable schools and age range. We offer our teachers free CPD throughout the year, free social events and a bank of online resources. Our teachers are supported through help with job applications, lesson planning and interview techniques. 

Can you tell me a little about the recruitment process for potential supply teachers?

Any potential supply teacher is asked to send us their CV. If this shows all the necessary qualifications, attitude and skills, we will give them a call to find out more. Following a chat, if we feel that they may be right for the position, we will invite them for an interview. We personally interview all prospective teachers. We talk with them about their experiences, their passions within teaching and find out how they would handle various situations that they may face whilst on supply. If we are happy that the teacher will provide children with only the highest quality of cover will we progress to check qualifications, safeguarding and ID checks. Our checks are extremely stringent and our supply teachers are encouraged to sign up to the update service to allow their DBS to always be up to date and regularly checked.

How does Apple A Day Supply welcome a new supply teacher into your organisation?
To welcome new teachers we formally welcome them on our website. We also try to introduce them to other local supply teachers and let our schools know about our latest new teacher and what they can offer. 
What are your expectations of a supply teacher in terms of providing work, marking work, playground duties etc.?

Most of the time our schools set work for our supply teachers but there are always some occasions when this doesn't happen such as covering a last minute sickness. Sometimes our schools will provide learning objectives or topics that they would like us to cover. We will always let the teacher know when offering them the work what the situation is with work. In terms of marking, our teachers mark in line with the school policy. They are asked to mark the work that they have completed with the class that day within reason. We encourage the use of techniques such as self assessment against given success criteria as it is very difficult to quality mark 60 pieces of work after school! If it is playground duty of the teacher that a supply teacher is covering for we would expect them to cover.

What personal qualities does your agency look for in a supply teacher?

We look for teachers who are dedicated to teaching high quality lessons, have good communication skills, a friendly confident manner, the ability and willingness to quality mark work, and really show a passion for teaching.

How do you support supply teachers throughout their time with your agency?

We call our teachers after working in a school that is new to them, we provide as much information on the class / schools / work as possible, provide free CPD, give our teachers as much feedback as possible, provide free online resources and just generally go the extra mile to show that we care!

Apple A Day Supply chose to support National Supply Teacher Week this year. Could you tell us a little about why and how?

We are supporting National Supply Teacher week as we know how hard supply teachers work and what a challenging role it can be. We believe that everyone needs praise and rewards for their hard-work and whilst we do this throughout the year already, it is great to have a week when we really focus on saying a big thank you to our teachers. We will be presenting our teachers with pressies and cards in school during this week.

And finally! Who would be the ultimate supply teacher?
That would be Stephen Fry!

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