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Tips for new supply staff

Being a supply teacher/teaching assistant is a challenging job, as you need to adapt to different students and schools each day. However, with a positive attitude, quick thinking and preparation, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Here are some tips on how to be a good supply teacher/teaching assistant:

1. Plan ahead: Before heading out for the day, try to gather as much information as possible to help you prepare for the class you will be teaching. This includes going through the lesson plans and notes, getting to know the school policies and expectations, and familiarising yourself with class routines and students’ names. This will help you hit the ground running and make the most of the time you have in the classroom.

2. Be punctual and well-organised: Arrive at the school or classroom on time, or better yet, a few minutes early to make a good first impression. Bring with you any materials or resources you may need for the lesson, such as textbooks, pencils, or worksheets. Being well-organised will make your day go smoother, and help you feel more prepared and confident.

3. Build positive relationships: A good relationship with the students can help make the day go smoothly even if there are issues. Take the time to learn their names and interests, and engage with them by asking questions and listening to what they have to say. Be cheerful and approachable, creating a positive atmosphere that makes it easier for them to learn.

4. Be adaptable: Flexibility is key when it comes to supply teaching. You need to be ready to adjust your strategies, as well as your expectations, based on the students’ needs and the situation you find yourself in. Be ready to improvise and to work with what you have, as well as to seek assistance when needed.

5. Follow the school’s policy: Each school has its own rules and expectations, so it is vital to learn them and follow them. This includes everything from disciplining policy to using the proper language or addressing superiors. Being aware and respectful of the unique culture of the school will go a long way in making you a respected and valued member of their staff.

6. Leave the classroom the way you found it: When your shift is over, make sure to leave the classroom as clean and organised as possible. Tidy up the desk and the area around it, and ensure that everything is in order for the next day. By doing so, you will earn the respect of your colleagues and help create an environment of respect.

Being a supply teaching assistant is not an easy job, but with enough preparation and the right attitude, you can make a significant impact on the students you work with, and the schools you visit. Remember to be flexible, engage the students, follow school policies, and remain positive even in the face of challenges. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be on your way to becoming an excellent supply teacher/teaching assistant.


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