Jessica Caldwell


Casual Relief Teacher



Average days you work

I average 7 days per fortnight.

Do you get enough work?

I do think I get enough work. I aim to at least work 7 days per fortnight, but often work more than this which is great!

What is the craziest thing that has happened to you while teaching?

As a graduate going straight into relief work, I have had a lot of “firsts” with all different classes – craziest experience so far would be my first time evacuating a class while a student proceeded to throw chairs and desk trays around the room.

What is one of your most memorable moments?

I distinctly remember a symmetry lesson with a Year 3 class, they were given a drawing that was half done and had to complete the other side. I said, “maybe I will try one too” and the whole class proceeded to chant for me to do one until I started drawing – the energy kids have can be so fantastic!

What do you love about Relief Teaching?

I love the flexibility and that my day starts at 8:15am (this is when I normally arrive at schools) and leave at 3:30pm (after I have tidied up, finished marking and writing feedback for the classroom teacher). I love having no work commitments outside of school hours, having school holidays off (no planning for me!) and I love being able to control my schedule.

What do you hate about Relief Teaching?

One of the worst things as a relief teacher in my opinion is having duty alone (ie. no other teacher is with you), particular eating duty. As a relief teacher it is very hard to keep up to 100 children sitting and eating appropriately when none of them know you and you don’t know their names!

Would you prefer to have your own class? Why/why not?

No! I love relief because of the flexibility and the fact that I have no work to take home with me. Having my own class would make me feel tied down and would also mean hours of planning, marking, parent teacher interviews, meetings, report writing and the list goes on. While there are positives and negatives to both having your own class and being a relief teacher, relief work is definitely my preference by far.

Is teaching what you thought it would be?

I can’t remember what my perception of teaching was when I graduated to be honest, but I know that since I have started teaching I have learned so much and become a far better teacher than I ever was on my pracs. If I would say anything it is that relief teaching is not as scary as I thought it would be!

If you could magically change the education system, what would you do?

Oh goodness what a question! A teacher aide for every classroom, smaller classes, a designated teacher placed in a behaviour/chill out room to provide a place for disruptive students to calm themselves and continue their work.

Do you do anything on the side to supplement your wage?

Over this past Christmas holidays I worked at Vacation Care however this year I will not be working a second job. I have started a TPT store to share resources with other teachers and hopefully in time that may serve as some extra income! I’d love for you to check it out-

What is your morning routine when waiting for the call?

I generally wake up at 5:30am as calls start coming as early as 6:00am, so I like to be up and ready before then! I always keep a lunch meal in the fridge ready to go (usually it is just left overs from the night before) and I always keep my relief kit in the car. I will go about my morning have breakfast, feed the dogs, do my skincare, make-up and hair and essentially get entirely ready to go to work, so that if I get a call all I have to do is get dressed and go.

Your one tip for Relief Teachers

Go in with a positive attitude and have as much fun as possible! Going in ready to lay down the law, in my opinion, sets you up for a day where the class feels as if you are against them which makes everything more difficult. While you don’t want to be best friends with the students, doing the best you can in the short time you are with them to build rapport and show you care will go a long way in helping you and the students to have a happy and productive day.

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