We thought it would be a great idea to ask our winning Supply Teachers of the Year 2016 for their top tips about supply teaching.
What do they wished they’d known before? What would they do differently?
Our annual supply teacher awards aim to celebrate and support the work of supply teachers across the country by getting them all together to recognise the hard work they put in every day for the benefit of our children’s education. Find out more here.
Read on for more about our winning Supply Teachers and their top tips:
Sasha Davis, South Yorkshire Supply Teacher of the Year
Sasha Davis began supply teaching in September last year. She left a permanent role in a secondary school where she had been for 12 years and took up supply teaching as she wanted to have ‘time to teach’ and reconnect with students she was teaching, which supply teaching in PRUs and special schools has enabled her to do.
On winning the award she said: “I was shocked and surprised to hear I’d been nominated for the award and floored to actually win it. I am loving supply teaching and the variety of roles and schools that I am getting to try.”
Her top tip for supply teaching is: “Give it everything. Put yourself in the position to try new things and you’ll not only impress the schools but surprise yourself. I have discovered through supply teaching that love working in PRUs and special schools. Because they have smaller classes I have a chance to get to know the students individually, build relationships with them and see them progress. That’s why I got into teaching originally.”
Amy Walton, North East Supply Teacher of the Year (57% of votes)
Amy Walton began supply teaching in January. She had held a permanent role as a music teacher in a secondary school for nine years previously but as a mum to young children she was keen to the better work/life balance that supply teaching delivers.
She said: “I am so happy and excited to have won the North East Supply Teacher of the Year. The recognition means so much. I really enjoy supply teaching. I have discovered that I love teaching at primary level and also subjects that I would not have otherwise considered.”
Amy’s top tips for supply teachers looking for work is to keep your options open and be adaptable and versatile. She said: “When I registered with PK Education, I told them I was a happy to teach primary, secondary and SEN and also a range of subjects. As a result there has only been one day where I have not had any work. By being open to teaching different subjects at different levels, I have discovered that I love teaching primary age children and subjects including history and technology.”
Stuart Hamilton, East Midlands Supply Teacher of the Year (74% of the votes)
Stuart Hamilton began supply teaching in January after returning from Russia where he was a teacher in an international school for eight years. He has been working in primary schools teaching key stage 2, 3 and 4. He said: “I was surprised and proud to win the award. I get positive feedback from schools and regularly get asked back, however this award confirms that I’m doing a good job.”
Stuart’s top tip for supply teachers: “When you go into a new school, ask how things are run. Every school has different routines and policies so make sure you find out about them. Be as well informed as you can be before you arrive at the school. I find visiting the school’s website beforehand is a big help.”
Harshida Patel, West Midlands Supply Teacher of the Year (85% of the votes)
Harshida Patel was a full-time secondary teacher until 2012 when she left a permanent role to take up supply teaching after having children. She didn’t want to leave teaching altogether so found that supply teaching enabled her to have autonomy in the profession. She said: “Full-time teaching in a permanent role is a lifestyle choice and for me I needed flexibility and a work/life balance to fit around my young children which is why I chose to become a supply teacher.”
On winning the award Harshida said: “I am so happy and flattered to receive the award. It’s wonderful to be appreciated and is the icing on the cake.”
Harshida’s advice to supply teachers is: “Every day is different so be prepared and go with whatever challenges come your way. Teaching is a demanding job so it’s important to keep on top of new initiatives. This will really help you in your day-to-day role and if you decide to return to a permanent role.”
Vincent Wilkinson, North West Supply Teacher of the Year (67% of the votes)
Maths and science teacher Vincent Wilkinson has been a supply teacher for three years. Although the role is challenging and demanding he gets great satisfaction from it. He said: “Although you are in schools for a short time it’s a great opportunity to talk with and share his experiences with other teachers.”
On winning the award he said: “It’s marvellous, brilliant, wonderful! It’s an absolute pleasure to receive the award.”
Vincent’s top tip for supply teachers is: “When you visit a new school make sure you get to know how their systems work so that you are prepared when you walk into the classroom. Be particularly mindful of safeguarding as that is a big issue. There are many changes and developments in education and it is important to remain up-to-date with these.”