Are you an NQT on supply?

Sam at Schoolwell teams up with TeacherIn to share the top 6 tips to help make it a successful stepping stone to your first job.

1. Don’t panic!

Remember, when the school booked you, it is because they need a teacher. You are a qualified teacher, a professional ready, willing and able to do the job. It may not be what you were hoping for, but it is a terrific opportunity to develop your skills and build up experience in a range of schools. Be friendly, professional and confident.

2. This school could be THE school

Vacancies come up in schools all the time, often unexpectedly, and you could well be in the right place at the right time to snag a contract and get started on your NQT year. Dress and act as you would on a job interview: you never know, it might just turn out to be one! On the other hand, you might well come away from a school thinking that it is definitely not somewhere you could work long term. This is equally valuable as completing your NQT year in a school where you are not comfortable is a really hard slog.

3.  Make the most of your time

If you are on short term or day to day supply, you will find you have more free time in the evenings and weekends than you did when you were training. Make sure you spend some of it on activities you really enjoy and with people you love. It’s also a great time to catch up with those books you didn’t quite get round to reading during your course, hone your letter of application or take advantage of Teacherin’s amazing free CPD.

4. Be prepared

You never know what you are going to walk into on a supply day, so make sure you have some activities up your sleeve, suitable for your subject or age range. There’s really no need to lug loads of resources with you, (a good selection saved on a memory stick, plus a few no prep ideas in case you don’t have access to a computer should suffice) but do make sure you have plenty of stationary, especially whiteboard pens. A PE kit is a good idea if you work in primary. Also, take your own travel mug, tea bags or coffee and lunch!

5. Be grateful

Make a point of thanking everyone who helps you in a school, even if you are only there for a short time. People do remember if someone appreciates them. Be mindful that anyone who you have come into contact with may be asked their opinion of you, and that might lead to a return booking or even a contract. Try to get into the staff room and chat to staff;  quite apart from being a good idea to get out of the classroom at lunchtime and take a break, you may well get a heads up on likely upcoming jobs.

6. Take care of yourself

Even though the working day on supply is usually shorter, working in different schools can be exhausting. Routines vary from school to school, and it can be hard to keep on top of it all. Remember to cut yourself some slack and set aside some down time, doing whatever you find most helpful to relax and switch off. You can get informal support from more experienced supply teachers via social media (search Facebook for supply teacher and some groups will pop up). They will give you lots of help and advice when it comes to starting work as a supply teacher. Make sure you are a member of a union, they are also an invaluable source of support and they usually offer free or discounted rates to NQTs.


Join the NQT webinar!

Want more tips? TeacherIn are hosting an informative webinar for NQTs on Wednesday 28th of June at 8pm. Connect with other like-minded teachers and join the discussion as we explore the career options that NQTs have once studies are completed.

Register to secure your spot now! 


Sam Collins

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