Are you sitting by the phone, waiting for the call to work? I have been reading of lots of disheartened supply teachers still hanging out for their first day of work. I hear you, I’ve been there and it sucks! The first few weeks of this term are notoriously slow, but you don’t need to write off Term 1 completely.
Here are some of the things I do to get more work-
1. Get off your butt and get out there!
Registering your name is not enough. It will just get lost with the thousands of other names on the list.
- Go hand out your resume.
- Send in an e-Portfolio of what you can do.
- Take in a box of chocolates to woo the office staff.
- Make up fancy business cards or postcards with your details on them calling yourself a “Supply Teacher Extraordinaire” or something equally as cheesy and fabulous.
- Get a pen printed with your particulars so it is on hand whenever they need your number.
- Remember to time your visits as no one will give you the time of day if it is before 9:30 or after 2:30 as the office is too hectic, so visit in the hours between then.
Patience isn’t always a virtue.
Yes, we have studied for at least 4 years. Yes, our time is more valuable than free. Yes, there are much better things I could be doing with my time. However…
- If you are really keen to work, you need to be proactive.
- One day volunteering in my experience, can be enough to lead into ongoing paid work.
- Primary schools are often crying out for assistance so offer to do reading support, special needs or anything they need help with.
- You will get more experience the more you are in the classroom.
- You will get some amazing ideas from some of the awesome teachers out there.
- You can approach schools that you would love to work in rather than getting call backs from the first (possibly less desired) school that has you in.
- What other profession can you offer your services and they would be so willing to take you on board? How would you get a foot in the door as an Electrician, Lawyer, Nurse? The only way would be to apply for a vacant job.
Helping others is what we as teachers were born to do. Don’t let the dollar signs get in the way.
3. Spread your scope.
Step out of your comfort zone, or at least your postcode zone. The wider scope you have available, the more chance of work you will get.
- Put your names down at schools at least 1 hours drive from your home.
- Approach State, Catholic and Private sectors. You don’t need to be religious to do Supply in most religious schools so don’t let that scare you off.
- Put down those less desirable schools if you are up for the challenge and experience, as they often find it harder to retain good relief teachers.
- Target larger schools as they have a higher need for supply teachers.
- Look into teaching outside of your familiar teaching area. If you are Primary trained, look at teaching in High schools as they are generally larger, so need more supply staff. Contact Early Years Centres as they are often looking for qualified teachers so reach out to them if your qualifications allow it. Be open to teaching any subject or grade offered. The more flexible you are, the more likely you will keep getting calls.
- Look at teaching in ESL schools or tutoring to build up your experience and confidence.
Growth happens when we push ourselves. Be brave, get out of your comfort zone and amazing things will happen.
Keep your chin up. Term 1 is notoriously the worst term to get Supply work. The first few weeks are nearly done and dusted so it should only start getting busier from hereon-in. As with any job you need to be confident, assertive and a go-getter. So get out there and get that work!!
Wishing plenty of work comes your way soon!