I recently interviewed over 100 teachers and some administrative staff to find out what they love and loathe about replacement teachers and boy were the results interesting! Being a substitute, relief, supply or casual teacher can be a tough and competitive gig. Many of us are wanting more work, and the more desirable schools can be hard to get in to.
Here, I have compiled for you tips from insider’s feedback, from the words of real teachers, to help assist those of you trying to get your foot in the door and get more work.
Here are some of the attributes that will get teachers requesting you to return to their class.
For some teachers, it’s as simple as leaving a tidy room and leaving notes on what was and wasn’t covered. Many appreciate you doing the work covered but there were lots of interesting responses from teachers that appreciate relationship building, initiative and interactions over anything.
Here are some of the responses-
- Flexibility, relationship building, engaged students.
- Note, tidy room, that’s it!
- Efficient, marks all work, writes down what happened during the day on plan left, left notes about incidences etc.
- Good response from the class. Organised. Can be trusted to take charge.
- Being engaging, interacting with the class, leaving me notes to show they are competent and let me know how the lesson went. My students giving positive feedback of the teacher.
- Gets on well with students, organised, adaptable (knows when to change things up if needed), leaves notes for me about how the day went, manages behaviour well.
- Ability to think on their feet.
- Follow the rules good behaviour management and not just say all the kids were perfect when they weren’t.
- Good class management – both behaviour and time. Being able to be flexible and understanding of students with special needs (ie ASD ).
- They enjoyed the students.
- Clear attention to the classes and work left, students have been actively encouraged to complete classwork and genuine effort has been put in.
- Leave notes. Tidy the room. Follow through with behaviour expectations. Come with work for the class.
- Complete all assigned work where they were able to. Build a relationship with the students.
- Work completed, room tidy. Student engaged.
- Happy students who enjoyed their day and got something out of it.
- Great connection with students and detailed notes about how the day went.
- Fun, engaging and positive with students.
- Positivity and making my classroom like their own even if just for a day.
- Organised, management skills, respects classroom teacher’s space.
- All work they completed needs to be marked. The room should be left the way they found it. Comprehensive notes on what they completed. Use of school behavioral management systems.
- Able to keep students engaged, little behaviour issues to sort out the next day, word of mouth from students and colleagues.
- Effective behaviour management.
- Be thorough, consistent with routine and do what’s left and LET ME KNOW WHAT THEY DID/DIDNT DO!
- The class ran smoothly as if I was there, good behaviour management, followed lesson plans and taught to a high standard, engaged and supported kids, kept room clean, kids loved the teacher because they had a great day not because they had a bludge day.
- Friendly, builds rapport, follows plan, leaves a brief note at end of the day, competent with behaviour management and flexible of things need to be adapted due to behaviour.
- Leaving notes of important things that have happened during the day, leaving the classroom tidy, leaving little observations of things they noticed students doing during lessons
- Good relationship with kids – ability to run a smooth day – happy students.
- Excellent behaviour management. Work done to a high standard.
- Plan mostly followed and students happy. I have a class with special and medical needs so they would need to be able to manage those.
- Someone who has developed relationships with the kids and who have left notes on what was/wasn’t covered plus behaviour etc
- Not having major issues to follow up with the next day; them leaving an indication of what they covered or didn’t cover when they were there (simple ticks on the lesson notes are fine) and notes on behaviour if there are little things I need to follow up on. Other teachers’ opinions of how the class was coping throughout the day.
- Good relationship, fun and engaging.
- Someone who gets what I’m trying to achieve, good communication, not ego driven.
- Good, honest well-documented feedback about lessons, work achieved and issues that arise. No just great class blah blah blah.
- Good communication. Warm and friendly with kids. Kids have a good day.
- Knowledgeable, marks work and can cope well with change.
- Students like them. Firm, fair and a bit of fun.
- Most of the lessons were completed & marked where time permits. The children were well cared for and happy.
- Happy students, strong class control and effort to deliver lessons.
- Good behaviour management, builds relationships with the kids.
- Being truly engaged with the class…. building a relationship that underpins learning.
- Follow outline left for them, marking done, room left tidy.
- Good communication, teachers that take initiative and ask fellow grade teachers what is being learnt so they can stay on topic. Someone that is early and is flexible enough to be able to pick up a plan and go from it.
- A feedback note left at the end of the day with a true reflection of the day, with some star students noted and a clean classroom.
- Firmness, following plans, getting work done and appreciating that this my space and things they are using (so tidy up and put things back where you found them!)
- Neat work, doing the tasks as I have written in my notes. Too many glance over them as if they are suggestions.
- High expectations for the kids – e.g. getting them to clean the classroom at the end of the day. Recognises children who need differentiated tasks – e.g. identifying how tasks can be easily extended or simplified for students who need it.
- Able to connect with my children.
- Students recommend. Parents comments. Room left organised. Reflection notes left.
- Stick mostly to plan, work as a team with my aide, leave a note to tell me how the day went – good communication. If they didn’t finish or do my plan, tell me what they did.
- Student feedback on the teacher, trying their best to follow the plan and get most things done.
- They get stuff done, my kids weren’t hanging off the rafters when I go back in and I’m not back to the beginning of the year re expectations etc. One crazy day can be really detrimental to some kids
- Kids happy, productive day.
- A happy class that worked well and behaved for them.
I hope this extensive list of comments brought directly from teacher feedback gives you an idea of what they really value, appreciate and look for in a supply teacher. As we are all unique individuals, we will never be able to please all teachers, but as long as we try out best (and leave notes and a tidy classroom!), then hopefully we will be on our way to gaining more work and requests from teachers we have impressed.