Supply teaching can be pretty tough. You spend your week working across different schools, running from classroom to classroom providing cover for classes of students you’ve never met before. In a way, every day is like the first day at work when you’re a supply teacher. You have to make a good impression and navigate your way through a workplace you may not be familiar with. And that can be exhausting.
When working as a supply teacher, it’s important to keep on top of your wellbeing in order to keep up with the physical demands of the job. Here’s our top supply teacher wellbeing tips to get you through your work on supply and avoid burning out.
When working as a supply teacher, a bit of preparation can go a long way. If you have time, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and stress by planning your journey beforehand. Whether travelling by car or public transport, check your route first to avoid delays. It’s also a good idea to pack a lunch and some snacks otherwise you could find yourself going hungry if there’s a long wait for the canteen and you’ve been asked to do playground or corridor duty.
Bring a bottle of water. You’ll need it. Supply teaching can be physically demanding from running in between classes to being asked to cover a last-minute PE lesson. So do yourself a favour and make sure you keep yourself hydrated. As a supply teacher, you also run the risk of losing your voice or getting a sore throat with having to project your voice across the class, so drinking lots of water will keep your voice on top form and help you stay on top of your supply teacher wellbeing.
Have a plan B
Make sure you have some back-up time-filler activities to entertain the class. There will be times where you run out of things for them to do or need to keep them quiet while doing the register or getting yourself together. Just a few activity ideas, games or riddles can be a life-saver when working on supply. Having some back-up resources will not only give you some peace of mind but can also give you the 10 minutes you need during a class to get your head together while keeping the class quiet.
With any demanding job, you need to make sure you’re getting enough down-time. Working in supply teaching is often very full on day to day, especially when working on short-notice cover. So it’s especially important to make the most of your weekends and evenings and get the personal time you need, whether that’s going for a run or a long hot bath- you deserve it!
Whether you’re a permanent or supply teacher, it goes without saying that you need to rest well. Get on top of your sleep routine and make sure you’re getting your eight hours a night. Turn off your phone notifications an hour before bed to avoid looking at a bright screen when your eyes and brain need to be powering down. You owe it to your students to be your usual energetic and focussed self when you step in to school in the morning.
For more supply teaching tips, read out supply teacher’s survival guide.
RealiseMe puts you in control of your supply teaching, free of agencies, as well as access to a supportive community of education professionals. Visit www.realiseme.com to find out more.