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Carry on teaching with reduced workload

Name: Jane Sutcliffe

Age: 46

Specialism: Secondary school Design Technology

PK education office: North East

Why did you get into teaching?

I began my career in industry, working as an office manager at a benefit agency, and in my spare time I did voluntary youth work. I attended a work conference where I met a young girl who was a student teacher. After talking about her career, she informed me that my degree in Food Science gave me a strong foot hold to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher. I took the girls advice and left industry to qualify as a Design Technology teacher in 2001.

What made you turn to supply teaching as a career?

I left contractual teaching after having two long term teaching positions of six and seven years. I left due to ill health and stress brought on by workload. At the time, it was a difficult situation weighing up health and happiness over financial security and a career. I didn’t want to leave teaching altogether as I love teaching and think teenagers are a fantastic age group. Luckily, I came across PK Education and within two weeks I had a supply teaching job. I wasn’t sure how long I would be a supply teacher for, in my mind it was a temporary situation, but it has worked really well for me.

What kind of assignments have you had?

Before I became a supply teacher I expected that I would be given the worst classes and it would be a lot like babysitting, thankfully this was not the case. Supply teaching work has enriched me as a teacher and I have been able to get out and see how different departments and schools work. As a permanent member of staff you can get stuck in your ways, however, supply teaching allows you to share resources and best practice.

I have had a mix of supply teaching jobs, from day-to-day posts to long term positions, so it is really varied.

How has supply teaching helped you?

Supply teaching has given me both options and opportunities to work at a variety of schools. It is easy to focus on the negatives when you are a supply teacher and become immersed in the day-to-day but becoming a supply teacher has taken away the long term stresses and helped me find confidence in my teaching again. Most of all it has given me the freedom and ability to choose what I want to do. It has freed up my time to teach, which is my first love and have given me time to pursue hobbies, it has given me the flexibility to regain work-life balance.

What are your top supply teaching tips?

  1. Find a consultant that you believe in
  2. Keep an open mind
  3. Don’t put yourself in situations that may stress you out
  4. Have a good sense of humour