As the 2019-2020 academic year fast approaches, I thought I’d share some tips with you about how to recuperate, re-energise and motivate yourself as a supply teacher.

Firstly, it is important that you go into the new academic year well rested. The summer holiday period can be quite hectic if you are on the go all the time. So, in the midst of seaside visits and trips to Europe, West End shows, musical soirées and meeting friends- take some time to relax, and on occasion, just stay at home and do nothing. Sit in your garden. Read a good book. Have a cup of tea. Do other de-stressing activities like light cardio exercise and yoga. As holidays are usually a time to indulge in not-so-healthy foods (in moderation- why not?), make sure that you counterbalance this with healthy eating and drinking, as you don’t want to start the new year sluggish and feeling unwell. Be sure to monitor your health – take supplements/vitamins – and get enough sleep.

Just before the new academic year starts, make a list of things you are grateful for over the past year and examine where you could improve as a teacher. Identify your short and long-term goals. It’s also useful to do research online for supply teaching tips. When you begin teaching again, try to maintain the healthy lifestyle described above and also ensure that you have interests outside of teaching, be it hobbies or alternative professional interests. It’s good to get some guaranteed supply work so that you have the surety of a salary each week, as supply teaching can be quite unpredictable at times.

Try to form a network of teacher friends for moral support. It’s crucial to remind yourself why you decided to become a supply teacher in the first place, such as:

  1. It gives you work flexibility
  2. You do not have the responsibility of teaching an entire class over a year (or longer).
  3. You do not have to deal with (a) irritating and/or unreasonable parents (b) bad pupil behaviour on an ongoing basis (c) tons of marking and lesson prep.
  4. You can ask Zen not to return to a school if the experience was decidedly unpleasant.

"You have the advantage of meeting individuals from all walks of life and you can have a profoundly positive impact on their intellectual, social and emotional development."

These advantages are motivation in themselves. Finally, remember why you went into the teaching profession in the first place. You have the advantage of meeting individuals from all walks of life and you can have a profoundly positive impact on their intellectual, social and emotional development.

Look beyond to see the bigger picture- your current classroom teaching might be a stepping stone to a career as a non-traditional teacher or your work might be preparing you for another career that requires the skills a teacher is called on to develop. At the end of the day, you could have an office job but where’s the fun in that? Batman worked in Gotham City amongst the people, not in an office, and we all know what excitement he had.