The teaching world is your oyster - from Permanent to Supply and back!

The teaching world is your oyster - from Permanent to Supply and back!

Posted on 13/01/16  |  Posted in Main News

January traditionally see’s a huge increase in people registering an interest in becoming a teacher with the National College for Teaching and Leadership recently reporting that in January alone they’d seen  “500,000 unique visits to their ‘Want to become a teacher?’ website and 10,000 people had registered their interest officially”.

There is a wealth of information and advice available online, covering everything from to starting out in teaching, to the training choices available. So here at Teaching Force we thought you’d like to hear more about the options available to you when you reach the last stage of the journey – that point when you can finally put the study books down, you have a qualification under your belt and the teaching world really is your oyster.

Teaching Force are very lucky to have a former QTS Teacher running our SEN department. Having worked full time, on supply and then in an Education supply agency, Edward has a unique take on the sector:

"The usual route after qualifying is to visit your LEA website or teaching job board and apply for every job within a 25 mile radius, which can be up to 100 schools for a primary teacher. When you do this it is expected that you visit the school before you apply to look around and meet members of the SLT, this is beneficial as they will remember you when they receive your application. As each school is very unique, you will need to tailor your letter to the school and what they are looking for. Once you have done this and completed the same application form endless times you would then hope to be shortlisted. With the current shortage of teachers there is a very good chance this could happen.

Next it’s time for the interview - you must be organised! Ensure you take the day off from your current position as schools now expect a minimum of an interview with SLT and governors, to meet the children face to face to answer their questions, as well as delivery of a prepared lesson. The expectation at interview is high and the process is very thorough - schools want to ensure they have the correct person for the role.

This can sometimes be a numbers game. Attend as many interviews as you can to not only get practise as you may be going up against very experienced teachers, but also to increase your odds of getting a position. 

Lastly assuming that you do land that perfect post, be aware that there is no gentle introduction into the role - from day one you will be expected to hit the ground running and you will work very, very hard. Now I’m not saying that working hard is a bad thing but, the number of NQT’s that leave teaching in their first year is around 40%! So what other options do you have? Well you could consider supply teaching....

There are many benefits of working for a supply agency, whatever the stage of your Teaching career. For Newly Qualified Teachers, you will gain valuable experience in many areas of teaching to enhance the skills you have developed while training. If you choose day-to-day supply you will have the opportunity to work in several schools across all age ranges enabling you to really hone your behaviour management skills. You will go into classrooms where you have to be prepared to teach a group of strangers who don’t know you, meaning you have to be ready for anything. But, you will have access to the behaviour policies of all the schools you work in, as well as stacks of ideas for how to use them in the classroom. In addition, you will gain access to resources which you can develop to fit when you move to other schools where no work has been left. Thinking on your feet is vital as a teacher and being on supply will help you with this. You might get a late call and you will need to be prepared -whether it's creating a last minute lesson plan or understanding the planning that has been provided with only minutes to go.

One of the main reasons that teachers, especially, NQT’s enjoy supply is that unless you walk straight into a long -term position (6 weeks or more), you tend not to have any planning or marking to do. This means that not only can you enjoy a social life after years of working very hard to gain your qualifications, but you can also work in your chosen profession to gain valuable experience. As I mentioned, a vast number of the 40% of NQT’s are quoted as leaving due to the large work load and demands. Supply can be a great way to ‘re-charge your batteries’ while still earning a decent living and gaining experience.

Don’t forget, at almost all schools help is at hand.  As a teacher there are always people to ask and this doesn't change when you are on supply. The head teachers or class teacher may not be there but there will usually be one of those wonderful people commonly known as TA's about. Ask them about the class, the behaviour and rewards used in the class and about the work set! These guys will be the eyes and ears of the school, they will feed back to management but they also have the classes best interests at heart so will want to support you to ensure the pupils do not lose out. 

Day-to-day supply can be brilliant for picking up new skills; testing your ability to think on your feet and manage a classroom. On the other hand, long-term supply assignments could work well for you giving you the chance to earn regular pay whilst enjoying new experiences. Long-term supply positions can really hone your abilities as a teacher and working as part of a team. Teachers are continually looking to improve and learn new skills so having the chance to work long-term will give you the ability to build relationships with staff, pupils and parents, as well as giving you the opportunity to have vital observations and rewarding CPD.

Lastly I would simply say the views above come from personal experience, having been a supply teacher myself and spent endless hours filling in application forms for permanent positions. I truly believe my best and most rewarding times as a teacher were when I was on supply; it helped me to achieve my goals as an NQT, enabling me to develop the areas I had highlighted for my professional development. It also suited me as a more experienced teacher, where it gave me the flexibility to work in several schools and the financial reward to live my life as I wanted to! I appreciate that finding a job in any walk of life is a huge challenge and whilst it may feel daunting, there are people out there to help. Having spent seven years working in education I understand the challenges teachers face but also the opportunities available to you. Don’t forget, the world is your oyster.”

 Edward Mawson, QTS & Senior SEN Consultant

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