Prior to supply work, I had been teaching for four years in a challenging inner-london comprehensive school. I had actually been placed there by Teach First and completed the Teach First leadership programme at that school. During my four years, I was a Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) teacher, a subject mentor to a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT), and a pastoral leader.
I got into teaching through Teach First because I wanted to address social inequalities within education. I always loved school and after graduating I couldn’t really see myself doing any other job.
This is my first year doing supply work and prior to working with Zen Educate I was working with a traditional teaching agency. My experience with them was limited as the placements they often found me were so far away that I would have to turn down most jobs. As a result, it was very difficult to know when I would be working and how much I would be earning at the end of the week. Essentially, it wasn’t what they sold to me before I started working with them.
After I accepted that it wasn’t working with the traditional agency, I decided to find another that would suit me better. I found Zen Educate while googling supply teaching work. I was unsure how it would be different from my previous agency but I booked in a conversation with the team who explained to me how working with Zen would be different: schools closer to where I live, guaranteed work, a very good day rate, and a flexible work schedule.
Through Zen Educate, I have had the opportunity to work in many different schools — from nurseries right through to sixth forms — and in mainstream and non-mainstream schools. This has given me an understanding of differences and variations among school contexts. I have also been able to figure out what sort of school context I would like to work in in the future if I were to take on a permanent role.
"I have come to really love daily supply and the variety of schools I get to work in."
My experience in positions found through Zen have been great. I have developed strong relationships with a number of local primary and secondary schools and am regularly requested by those schools. I have also been offered more long-term work with those schools. Guaranteed supply has been amazing and makes supply work a viable option for me because I know how much money I’ll be making within a given period.
When I left my job at my last school, I was feeling quite disillusioned with teaching and was questioning whether it was really the profession for me. Supply work was supposed to be a temporary between-jobs solution until I found a different job outside of education. However, in my work found through Zen I have come to really love daily supply and the variety of schools I get to work in. That most of the schools I go to are within my local community is an added bonus. I feel like I’m actually making a difference doing daily supply. When I go into schools there are so many classes I teach that say they haven’t had a permanent teacher for months, so it is really important to me to ensure that every class I teach is the best it can be and that every child leaves the lesson having tried their best and having learned something.