Supply teachers are replacement teachers who stand-in for a permanent teacher or teaching assistant. They are usually called when day-to-day teaching staff are unable to attend class, for example through illness or maternity. In this sense, supply teachers, also known as cover teachers, may work in different schools from one week to the next. Although, they may also stay with a school for one or more terms.
Supply teaching may not be the ideal career option for every teaching professional; however, it is becoming more popular because there can be many benefits to supply teaching, such as gaining more personal time, gaining more varied professional experience, and even receiving better remuneration.
Supply teaching can lead to permanent positions
If you are working as a supply teacher at a particular school, you may find that you enjoy working there. If this happens, you can always approach your recruitment consultant to let them know how you feel, and that you would like to be considered for any permanent roles in the school. This can be great for everyone as there is already a pre-existing relationship. The job may not come about immediately, but you may be asked to interview next time the school is hiring.
Similarly, a client school may wish to hire a substitute teacher who fits in incredibly well with the school ethos. It is not uncommon for supply teachers to transition into full-time roles at a school they have worked at temporarily at some point in the past.
You can work as little or as much as you want to (to some extent)
Supply teaching gives you flexibility, which is something many people would like to have more of in their lives. Teachers are usually limited to taking holidays during peak months. However, as a supply teacher, your holidays do not necessarily need to fit within the school year. This gives you the opportunity to travel in off-peak times that suit your schedule.
Another thing to note is that you are more in control of your working hours. Opting to work as a supply teacher means you can plan your work to suit your personal circumstances. For some, it can be as simple as not wanting to work full-time Monday to Friday.
You gain more varied professional experience
As a supply teacher you are likely going to be teaching a range of age groups, and potentially a variety of different subjects too. This can give you great teaching experience, and working in different schools can also help you find out the sort of school you may want to work in the future.
What should you do if you are thinking about becoming a supply teacher?
All in all, working as a cover teacher can provide valuable experience for your teaching career. Supply teaching isn’t the ideal career path for every teacher. However, as we have outlined above, working as a supply teacher can have many benefits. If you are interested in considering a supply teaching position then it is advisable to speak to an experienced recruitment consultancy that specialises in helping teachers find new career opportunities. They will be able to help you explore your options and discuss what sort of opportunities could be open to you in future.