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Top tips from our Kiwi Primary Supply Teachers in London

Great differences in school type, size and style couple with high levels of EAL to create dynamic environments suited to only the most confident and adaptable supply teachers.


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While affording a greater opportunity for travel and exploration, supply teaching in London can be a daunting prospect for non UK trained teachers. However through consultation with our pool of regular supply teachers from New Zealand we have been able to pick the top tips for surviving in supply for overseas trained teachers.

Navigating London’s public transport system can be the downfall of many a prospective supply teacher. The pervading piece of advice from the NZ teachers asked is to meticulously plan your route. Tube lines may be disrupted, bus routes can be confusing, and the weather is rarely conducive to travelling via foot or cycle. Leave as much time as possible, and aim for an 8:30am arrival, even if the school doesn’t begin for a half hour later. This will allow both for possible disruptions in your journey, and will translate in to extra planning time should you arrive early for your day.

This aforementioned planning time is another essential element for London supply survival. While it is relatively rare that a supply teacher will need to bring along lesson plans or materials, it will be comforting to have familiar back up lessons should the prepared work fail in its delivery. Many teachers often carry dependable activities, games and lessons in folders in boots of their cars for when classes fall in to disorganisation. Steering a class from the dangers of early finishing ‘free time’ to constructive additional work can see a supply teacher turn from a body in a room to an effective and reliable supply teacher.

With the variation in school size and type in the capital it comes as no surprise that one of the top tips from NZ teachers is to always be versatile. A days booking may see you not only teaching in more than one year group throughout the day, but may also include classes with high EAL or SEN requirements- sometimes with little or no extra support. While consultants will always try to advise on any special requirements within the classroom, successful supply teachers should be able to adapt to any situation. The teachers asked said that maintaining your composure in unfamiliar situations is a must, and that supply teachers should look to their parallel (in a 2 or more form entry school) otherwise they should seek guidance from teachers and staff around them, requesting extra TA or LSA support if required. In doing this a supply teachers becomes a proactive problem solver, rather than a supply teacher trying only for damage control.

Following these tips will ensure success in your supply bookings, which will result in more schools asking you back for more consistent work. Better yet, if you come back from travels deciding you would like a longer term role, you will have a selection of schools waiting with open arms to accept their favourite supply teacher for a long term role!

Register with us today on our website and your local consultant will be in touch with all the information you need to find a suitable school placement.  http://register.teachingpersonnel.com/