I worked a day's supply the other day and one of the permanent teachers walked past the door, came back and asked how my day had been. I nearly cried, it was so thoughtful, not to mention unusual!
I was doing a maternity cover and had a CPD course to go on so told my class that I wouldn't be there the next lesson and explained what work I would be leaving for them. There was one boy who was adamant that I wasn't allowed time off as I was a "sub" and "you can't have a sub for a sub!"
A little 5 year old boy came up to me declaring, "you remind me of someone." Really, says I, is it someone lovely? "Can't remember." Some time later in the day he wandered back over with an innocent look on his face. "It's my great uncle bill. He's dead old. In fact he's dead now."
I worked for two weeks in a particularly rough all boys school where the year 10 class ripped the top off a lab bench, attempted to set fire to it and then threw it out of the 4th floor window (whilst I was frantically trying to get some support!) One week later the principal came into my lesson to talk to them, I was expecting him to lay down the law, he said "what am I going to tell my shareholders!?"
I loved overhearing the excited murmurs of "we've got a supply!" ripple along the corridor, followed by the "Oh, it's her" as they realised they would still be working.
Got a story to share? Contact us and we'll send you 30 Otis the Owl stickers!
A selection of three-word answers from around the world! Oh, and some quite telling four-word answers too...
Super, smashing, great!
Tenacious, adaptable, kind-hearted.
Dedicated, hardworking, supportive
Amazing, hardworking, and admirable!
Flexible, creative, invaluable!
Very hard working.
Not paid enough.
Flexible, available anytime.
Fourth emergency service.
Flexible, adaptable, invaluable!
Absolute life savers.
Irreplaceable, appreciated, resourceful.
Fighters against Gove!
Essential, fantastic, gorgeous (maybe resilient is better).
Looking forward to holidays!
Soft in the head (to do the job!)
Do you have three perfect words to describe supply teachers? Let us know and we'll send you 30 free Otis the Owl stickers!
To celebrate National Supply Teacher Week 2013 The Supply Teacher ran a competition, sponsored by Genie Umbrella, to win an iPad Mini. Entrants had to complete the phrase Supply Teaching Is... in no less than 50 characters, and no more than 250 characters... Here's a selection of the entries for you to enjoy! Many thanks to all those who entered, we really enjoyed reading each and every entry, and it was a tough decision for Russ to make, we wish he could have chosen at least a dozen more winners!
Supply teaching is invigorating, challenging, and more fun than being a permanent member of staff! I love going in and being the solution to their problem, being welcomed for what I can bring. I love being able to give it 100% and then do something different the next day!
Supply teaching is the best teaching job in the world. Flexible and fun. No paperwork, no meetings, no reports. I love it.
Supply teaching is a great way to brush up teaching skills and explore schools in your local area. A couple of days in any school will tell you whether you could stand working there permanently.
Supply teaching is tough, hard, tiring, and stressful but still the greatest job in the world.
A supply teacher is a person whom accepts no excuses, engaging students at all levels of ability, builds strong relationships with different students every day.
Supply teaching is challenging, inspiring, daunting, exciting - a constant learning curve - but definitely rewarding!
Supply teaching is the most unappreciated job, but also the most interesting and varied. Every day can be a first day of term for a supply teacher... new class challenging pupils, unfamiliar working environment.
Supply teaching is above all else hard work! It is demanding, challenging and a daily struggle but on the flip side it is an adventure every single day.
Supply teaching is being thrown into the deep end every single day. It is like the first day of work every day.
Supply teaching is flexible, hard work and can be scary when you first turn up at a school but also incredibly rewarding when you see a child working hard and achieving during the time spent with you in a classroom, it makes it all worth it.
Supply teaching is lots of new faces and challenges every single day. Supply teaching is 30+ names to learn every day! Supply teaching is being flexible and adaptable. Supply teaching is NEVER ever boring!
Supply teaching is an adventure every day. A variety of schools, children, adults and lessons. I LOVE it!
Supply teaching is just like a fruit salad. There are always going to be some pieces of fruit that you prefer than others, but you carry on and eat them regardless! Never full, always rewarding and guaranteed to give you some unforgettable memories!
Supply teaching is challenging but rewarding, thinking on your feet but conforming to the rules and regulations of the school you happen to be in on that day. It’s learning every individuals name by lunchtime. It’s putting everything you can into it.
Supply teaching is my way of staying connected to a world that I simply love while beginning my new adventure into retirement. I am not taking anyone's job because I live in an isolated rural area where teachers are in demand but no one wants to come.
Supply teaching is giving the best support to a class while a teacher is unable to. Making sure that the class receive quality and varied lessons, which stimulate and retain the interest of each and every student. Supply teaching is making an impact on the students.
Supply teaching is the reason I am doing what I enjoy today. If it wasn't for a supply teacher answering my questions, helping me out and making me say 'why' and 'why not' I wouldn't be working in the creative industry. Thank you Supply teachers!
Supply teaching is the most rewarding career ever.
Supply teaching is often very stressful and difficult, but also an extremely rewarding challenge where you can really test yourself and fast track important teaching skills.
Supply teaching is a fantastic way to start your teaching career. It gives you the confidence to teach different children, build invaluable skills beyond your teaching practice and learn to prepare for the unexpected!
Supply teaching is rewarding, challenging, fun and harder than full-time teachers think.
Supply teaching is a really challenging yet enjoyable career and literally prepares you for anything!
Supply teaching is roller coaster, new and different every time, every day.
Supply teaching is the best and worst of the teaching world. Teaching assistants telling you you're brilliant, mums shouting 'Where's my kid?' (and you have no idea, you told them not to go unless they could see their mum!)
Supply teaching is IMPORTANT! It's an opportunity to mingle with children and staff from across the primary school, but most importantly, give burnt out teachers a much needed break. It is my desire to leave the class (and classroom) better then when I walked in.
Supply teaching is a way to expand the skills and knowledge through another’s eyes.
Supply teaching is an insight to a wide range of schools, systems, practices and pupils across the country. With flexibility and dedicated agents it's an experience that has informed my practice for the future. It takes hard work and dedication to work in this industry.
Supply teaching is an additional opportunity to learn from both the teachers and students perspective. It opens the teachers mind up to a new working environment whilst providing the child with a fresh and experienced role model to teach them a new skill.
Supply teaching is flexibility, adaptability, indomitability, responsibility, availability, and fun!
Supply teaching is like pick and mix lollies, sometimes you get the odd one you don't really like but most of the time it is sweet!
Supply Teaching is rewarding, it makes you a better and more confident person. If you can teach a class of children you've never met before then you can accomplish anything! Coming away from work at the end of the day knowing that a pupil has learnt something from you.
Supply teaching is a kaleidoscope of lively learning, dynamic students and talented teachers.
Supply teaching is like a box of chocolates... with each new job, you never know what you are going to get!
Supply teaching is the chance to turn your career into an adventure by gaining experience in a range of environments. It’s all the best bits of teaching with freedom of freelance employment. Agencies provide support and always strive to keep you in work.
Supply teaching gives me the opportunity to continue to use my knowledge and experience to support within a range of schools. It also provides me with the flexibility of being able to work when I want and also good variety of work.
A Haiku... Sometimes a challenge, a crazy experience, but fun every day.
Supply teaching is and has been such a rewarding experience for me! My confidence in teaching a variety of subjects at different levels, as well as, my confidence in myself, has greatly strengthened from having to adapt to new environments, to teaching challenging children.
Supply Teaching is "if the government gives out medals to heroes who infiltrate hostile terrain, survive repeated missile attacks, and demonstrate bravery by turning their backs on enemy, every teacher in the country should get one. SUPPLY teachers should get one every day!
Supply teaching is the way of showing young minds the path of knowledge.
Supply teaching is the chance to meet new friends every day some young and some a little older!
Supply teaching is isolating, flexible, soul-destroying and exceptionally rewarding - all at the same time. Although a poor day at a school can destroy your will to live, the most productive of days can make you think you made a real difference.
Supply teaching is a wonderful way to build up experience in bite size chunks.
Supply teaching is adapting yourself to suit the needs of the learners around you. A rewarding yet challenging time. The chance to develop a variety of skills; behaviour management, pupil engagement and critical reflection. A platform to enhance your whole career.
Supply teaching is the biggest mystery tour adventure ever taken on a daily basis in the world. Ending up with a delivery of unknown teaching food being given to a range of children who don't always want to eat what they are given... Ha!
Supply teaching is the ultimate work/life balance. You gain the satisfaction and challenge of teaching, combined with the flexibility and freedom that school holidays never quite provided.
Supply teaching is… unpredictable, stimulating, enjoyable, different, rewarding, exhausting, interesting, scary, fun, daunting, imaginative, educating, full of strangers who may become friends
Supply teaching is like rollercoaster, it has its highs and lows, ups and downs. Sometimes it brings you joy and other times it challenges you and pushes you further than you're willing to go. However, it's all worth it.
Supply teaching is....like fighting a raging inferno without a pole or helmet. It's like throwing yourself out of an aeroplane without knowing where you're going to land. It's strangely satisfying and terrifying in equal measure.
Supply teaching is a great experience! Be brave to try and you will thrive!
Supply teaching is like being a living Swiss Army Knife - useful, flexible, able to provide the tools for any situation, but still fit unobtrusively into the life of the school.
Supply teaching is the daily glimpse into the educational possibilities, demands and realities. It is rewarding supply of an alternative educator one that can inspire and help the challenging students who often find it hard to conform.
Supply teaching is both the easiest job in the classroom and the hardest, the most satisfying and the most soul destroying. It’s what you make of it, yet it makes you, and I truly believe that no PGCE or GTP is even in the same league as a year as a supply teacher.
Supply teaching is the freedom to work around my childcare and enjoy the reason I went in to teaching, teaching not paperwork.
Supply teaching is a unique opportunity to work in a variety of schools, with a huge range of pupils and students with a variety of abilities and aptitudes.
Supply teaching is a leap into the unknown every day. It is an adventure which shows diversity within different schools and gives you freedom from the cumbersome life of planning till midnight and the twenty four hour everyday thinking about school.
Supply teaching is the opportunity to give children a learning experience beyond the ordinary.
Supply teaching is... an invaluable resource in children's education, ensuring they get the most of their time at school.
Supply teaching is being available to support teachers who need time off for personal or professional reasons. It is to provide a seamless continuation of the students learning until the teacher returns.
And the winning entry, as chosen by Russ Brown, children's author, was:
Supply teaching is the indispensable breakdown service that keeps the wheels of Education turning.
Supply teaching is not for the faint-hearted and like age the years of experience will tally up and catch you by surprise. When given the choice between supply and full time teaching with any local borough I would always choose supply.
Supply teaching is great- it’s different every day, you work on your own terms and it’s a challenge
Supply teaching is proof that those who can, can also teach. #flexible #fun #fresh
Supply Teaching is the act of deputising for permanent teachers who may be absent due to various reasons. A supply teacher provides support for pupil, teachers, and the school. He/she is required to carry out the functions and tasks assigned to them.
Supply Teaching is: an adventure, a final frontier. The mission: to seek out new schools in strange locations, to be a cheerful member of an army of reservoir brains, to boldly teach what I ain’t never taught before. I endure, am stimulated and earn freedom.
Supply teaching is being everything that a child needs and everything a school needs in equal measure.
Supply teaching is the realm of the occupational mayfly - each morning he is born into a new world to build relationships and share experiences; each evening he passes away again.
Supply teaching is my best decision.
Supply teaching is an exhilarating, nerve-racking, confidence-boosting, pleasurable exhausting thankless rewarding horizon-broadening rollercoaster!