I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media about teachers setting up new classrooms and showing off their creative flair and dedication to their profession. This time of year is a hard time for those teachers wanting their own class, especially new graduates keen to get their career started. When having your own class is all you can dream about, it can feel quite disheartening.
When supply, relief or substitute teaching seems like your only option I want you to assure you that it’s not all doom and gloom.
I actually like to look at it in a glass half full kind of way and in my personal experience think you are BETTER off.
Here are a few reasons why…
Money- Now some of these teachers, especially new teachers, have spent hundreds, some nearing thousands of dollars on their classroom set up and resources. I know, because I did exactly the same my first year of having my own class. When you are doing Supply, you might spend a bit over $100 on getting some Supply resources, reading books and some basic stationery, but it will be nothing compared to the cost of having your own classroom. Trust me!
Time- With all these amazing classrooms I have seen, all I can think is how many hours of laminating they have endured! All the lesson planning and prepping, staff meetings, correspondence with parents and report cards take so many days, nights, weekends and holidays away, not to mention the mental load and stresses that are a given with this job. Meanwhile, Supply Teachers can enjoy ALL of their leisure time to themselves and can walking in just before the bell and out at the bell without giving work another thought.
Another win for us!
Freedom- As a Supply Teacher you are your own boss. If it is the perfect beach day, there is no need to chuck a sickie. Want to take a holiday out of peak school holiday time, there is no one to tell you you can’t. Kids are sick? You don’t need to feel guilty for not going to work. If you have a horrible day at a school, you don’t have to ever go back if you don’t want to.
You dictate when you can and can’t work and that is always going to work in your favour.
Experience- Supply work gives you the perfect experience to master your teaching skills. You will get very challenging students testing your limits but it will be these students who will help you nail your behaviour management strategies. Teaching in various grades or subjects out of your comfort zone can be daunting, but the more you do it, the more confident you feel and you may realise you do like teaching in that area after all!
There are last minute changes all the time in the classroom and I like to think of Supply Teaching as the ‘Art of thinking on your feet’. This is the perfect skill to take advantage of those precious ‘teachable moments’. The more variety and experience you gain while supply teaching the more confident and competent teacher you will become. Guaranteed!
Ideas- The plethora of ideas you will come across as you enter different schools and classrooms each day will help shape the way you run your future class. Behaviour Strategies that kids actually comply with, Literacy groups that function on their own, streamed Maths lessons that engage all students, Science displays or reading nooks that knock your socks off. There are some wonderful teachers out there doing amazing things so take note of the ones you love so you don’t forget them.
So, don’t be too upset that you haven’t landed your dream job yet. With hard work and dedication you will get there. In the meantime, enjoy the freedom you have, have fun with the kids you teach and you might even learn to love Supply Teaching as much as I do and decide you don’t want your own class after all.