As an experienced supply teacher to many organisations and schools, there are some vital tips to support your practice when working with volunteers, teaching assistants, mentors, and one-to-one support.

The main focus should be on the class – in other words, the learners – to ensure that you are aware of how the school operates, the students and their needs, how to safeguard yourself and others, and how to work with others in the working environment.

It is essential that you maintain a professional and friendly approach when supplying.

Here are some of the standards that should be maintained to make your work and day(s) successful:

Communicating and working with others

The standards: C4, C5 and C6.

  • Communicate effectively with children, young people and colleagues.
  • Communicate effectively with parents and caregivers, conveying timely and relevant information about attainment, objectives, progress and well-being.
  • Recognise that communication is a two-way process and encourage parents and carers to participate in discussions about the progress, development and well-being of children and young people.
  • Recognise and respect the contribution that colleagues, parents and carers can make to the development and well-being of children and young people, and to raising their levels of attainment.
  • Have a commitment to collaboration and co-operative working where appropriate.

These standards for all teachers, whether supply teachers or visiting teachers, should be adhered to.

Communication is vital in teaching, and as a supply teacher, you will be expected to uphold these standards as soon as you enter the school.

One of the challenges that supply teachers will face is maintaining a good working relationship with support staff. The secret is to know how to communicate effectively with others, how to avoid conflict and work through difficulties that may occur. The key objective is providing a successful and accountable outcome.

"The secret is to know how to communicate effectively with others, how to avoid conflict and work through difficulties that may occur."

You have a responsibility to facilitate a productive and purposeful outcome for the students, and to interact successfully with the support staff.

Here are some key points worth consideration:

  • Have confidence in your own practice.
  • Have a flexible approach to the dynamics of the school.
  • Integrate and adapt to changes.
  • Learn from others to ensure that routines are maintained.
  • Listen to the support staff, if it does not compromise your professional approach.
  • Involve him/her in the planning and the day to day running of the class.
  • Instruct and guide your TA to support you in carrying out your duty as a professional teacher.
  • Establish mutual respect between the support staff and yourself.
  • Establish your presence to ensure you are carrying out your work to the best of your ability.
  • If unsure about something, the TA can probably help you- so ask them. Good communication with TAs can be valuable.

    Finally, enjoy your day and ensure when you finish for the day that you have worked within the remit of the school and everyone was on board with your decisions.