Absolute Must-Haves for Supply Teaching

by | Jan 13, 2022 | Blog, Recommendations | 1 comment

Whether you are just starting out, returning back to work or a seasoned Supply Teacher it is important to be prepared for the many unknowns that can be thrown your way.

Here are your absolute must-haves to ensure you have the most successful day possible.


What to pack

Your resource kit should have activities for all grades and subjects and preferably need little to no resources to implement them as you never know what you have access to. I found schools frowned upon me using the photocopier so I would avoid relying on photocopied sheets too much and technology is not always reliable so make sure you have back ups.

If you are wanting an all-in-one resource that has all the hard work done for you, Teacher for a Day has you covered. It requires NO photocopying and little to no prep so you can ditch your folders full of photocopies and your workbooks that only cater for one grade. This book has you prepared for teaching ANY subject on a whim. This is the most user-friendly book out there and with 50+ sample pages  you can see exactly why everyone is raving about it. Get yourself a copy here.

One or two favourite books
Have a picture book or two that you love that you can do a variety of activities from. Here are some of my favourite books with accompanying activities.

Blank A4 paper
I will usually use my own paper for lessons I do that are not left by the teacher. Tip– I cut mine in half to make it go further!

Hacky Sack or small soft ball
This is a non-negotiable for me. This one small tool has saved me many times whether it be used to play a game like Silent Ball or to keep students engaged during a read-aloud or answering questions.

Grid paper/book
This is useful for creating word searches (great as a time filler or for fast finishers) or other maths activities.

Pens are essential for marking and leaving notes at the end of the day. Carrying a few whiteboard pens or markers can also come in handy for you as sometimes they can be scarce or wasted.

Pencils and erasers
There will always be students who can’t find a pencil or eraser so it can be handy to carry a couple just in case to ensure all students are on task.

Stickers or stamps
Some kind of positive reward can be a great incentive, especially for the younger students. I like using stickers, stamps or writing personalised post-it notes. Here are some other helpful Behaviour Management Strategies to add to your toolkit.

Two Dice
Can be helpful to play a multitude of maths games and takes up next to no space in your bag.

Usually a requirement for playground duty, which you will ALWAYS be given as a Supply Teacher.

Water Bottle
Avoid your chances of headaches and stay hydrated. Don’t rely on using cups in the class, in case they get spiked with hand wash by rebellious students. (This actually happened to me!)

Lunch and snacks
If you don’t know the school, bring food that doesn’t need cooling or heating just to be safe. It also helps to bring food that you can eat on the go as some days you don’t get much down time.

Helpful for playground duty, if you are the PE teacher for the day or for exceptionally unruly classes (use as a last resort in this situation!).

This little gem will help keep you organised and avoid you losing the classroom key, if you are lucky enough to be given one!

A necessity to keep an eye on the time as all too often there is no clock (or it is broken or has the wrong time) in the classroom.

For saved resources and it is handy to have appropriate music (for art lessons etc.) and movies saved on there for those rainy-day lunch times.

I always have a little personal stash that includes lip balm, panadol, tissues or any other items that will help get you through the day.


All of this will fit neatly into a backpack or bag. No need to buy wheeling carts or suitcases nor have a car filled with “just-in-case resources” like I once did. Nowadays, my lunch and water bottle take up the most space and I feel super prepared knowing I’m not relying on using the photocopier or carrying back breaking resources around for “just in case”. Teacher for a Day has all the hard work and prep done for you. 

And NOW I have created a Supply Teacher Essentials Pack complete with picture books, lanyard, “While You Were Out” notepad, dice, markers, pen, pencil, stickers, reward cards, a hacky sack and more to have you completely covered for your supply teaching days! 

1 Comment

  1. Sheila

    I’m a teachers assistant and love these ideas.

Submit a Comment