A good supply these days…

‘Oo’s ‘er?’ Is the most frequent question I get asked when a colleague is away from school, closely followed by ‘Where’s Miss?’ Possibly without the correct apostrophes in the dialectical variations.

Today was just such a day. A colleague was out on a training course and I met the supply teacher who was to cover her. It was clear from the outset that this lady possessed a special calm. When the set cover work needed to be set up she sorted it, she was intuitive and seemed to know where the students were up to; just by a flick through of an exercise book. She understood the cover work and knew how to introduce it and got the class settled in record time.

I admire supply teachers. They do something I feel I could never do. I base my successful career on the fact that I can develop good relationships with students. They do what I say because they know what I will do if they don’t. They understand my sense of humour and we can work with each other to settle problems without either side feeling put out. I have always worked with relationships and my personality, and so far it has worked.

The supply teacher today seemed to work with her senses; and more importantly, a kind of sixth sense of just knowing what level to pitch everything at. It was like someone jumping into an unfamiliar car and being able to speed off, without stalling! I spoke to her throughout the day and she said that each time she visits she feels as if the school is even more calm and settled than the last time she remembered it. She said that having clearly set work and pointers to assist her move quickly into the work helps, so too does a department who can support and not just walk passed the door if someone needs a spot of assistance…especially with technology!

Being an effective supply teacher is a superpower. (To coin a Dr. Who maxim) and I admire anyone who is able to walk into any number of schools on a regular basis and just assume the role. Thank you. You are valued.


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I have been teaching English for 20 years. HOD. T and L. Runner.

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