Teaching is a complex vocation that attracts a wide range of people from different backgrounds, cultures and classes. It’s this amazing diversity that helps translate the curriculum and makes it accessible to the wide range of pupils we see in our Essex schools.
But how do you know what type of teaching career would suit you?
Here we look at the difference between permanent and supply teaching, and how to know if supply teaching may be the better option for you.
What is a supply teacher?
A supply teacher works on a temporary basis, covering the role of a permanent teacher. Your role varies from working in multiple schools on a day-today basis, to offering maternity cover on longer-term placements. Whilst permanent positions require availability to your set working hours and contracted school, as a supply teacher you are needed to be available for last-minute cover positions, working in a variety of schools and classrooms.
What is the difference between supply teaching and a permanent teaching role?
You may be surprised by some of the ways the two roles are similar and different. Whilst you may think lesson plans would be pre-set for supply teaching posts, often supply teachers are required to prepare for lessons in the same way as in a permanent role. Lesson plans will need to match the school’s scheme of work and the national curriculum and depending on the length of time of the supply teaching placement, the supply teacher may be needed to assess, mark and/or feedback on the work produced.
The biggest difference between the two roles is the school continuity and commitment. With permanent posts, school teachers are committed and attend one school, whilst supply teachers are only attached to a school/ students for as long as their placement allows. This, obviously, has an impact on relationship building.
Why choose to be a supply teacher?
Supply work is often seen as an amazing opportunity to gain experience, find out about schools in a chosen area, and develop a teaching style and preference. It’s a particularly popular option when moving location, resuming teaching after a break, entering retirement and/or starting your teaching career.
In periods of high demand for teaching jobs, supply teaching and longer-term cover placements can also be a great way to make yourself known to schools in your local area, such as primary schools in Essex. Should a permanent vacancy come up at a school you are a supply teacher for, you are more likely to fair better in the interview process due to their familiarity with you and your existing rapport with staff and students.
The flexibility of supply teaching roles is also a great plus point when considering the role. You can select your availability to cover based on your existing lifestyle, plan holidays outside of school holiday times; and take on longer-term placements without a permanent contract; giving you consistency without the commitment.
September is often a quieter month for supply teaching demand, but also has many holiday offers, and so can make the perfect career choice to give you a better work-life balance.
Another great reason to be a supply teacher is the autonomy that comes with the role. You are hired to cover the teaching of the pupils allocated to you; and often it is the teaching that attracts many to a career in education. With supply teaching you can truly focus on this, with no need to worry about inclusion in meetings, whole-school events or similar time-demands.
What to consider when supply teaching?
Whilst supply teaching can suit many people looking for careers in education, it is not the go-to choice for some. It is important to consider that work is not guaranteed as a supply teacher, and there is no set routine. It is also harder to budget longer-term and progress, due to limited and short-term placements.
Are you considering a supply teaching role in an Essex school?
Find out more about registering as a supply teacher with us here.