Surviving Supply


So January is finally over and you survived Blue Monday. But you’re still getting up before sunrise and getting home in the dark as well – who wants to only see daylight at work? Therefore, it’s important to look after yourself personally as well as keep your morale high in the workplace to ensure you are supporting students who are going through the same thing. So this week we’re focusing on how to ‘survive’ and stay positive through a supply day.

1. Preparation

  • Plan your journey –  Avoid busy routes, lateness and ensure your journey is as stress-free as possible.
  • Arrival time – It is imperative that you arrive at the school by no later than 8.30 am (although this does vary from school to school).
  • Running late/issues with your journey – Please call us directly and we will ring ahead to the school.
  • Sickness/absence reporting – In the event of sickness or absence please ensure you call the office number directly by 7.00 am at the latest.
  • Photo ID and Enhanced DBS certificate – Please make sure you take both these documents with you for every single booking as the schools are required to take a copy before you can begin your day of teaching.
  • Equipment – It’s a good idea to take: whiteboard pens, pencils, post-it notes and lesson activities on your USB (just in case!)
  • Policies – try to read these ahead of time, they will be published on the school’s website. If you do not have a chance, then ensure you ask for: behaviour policy/marking policy/reward systems documents, these will help with keeping consistency in the classroom.

2. Cover work

  • You may often need to use your initiative with regards to cover work. What would you do if:
    • The cover work is late?
    • The cover work is too challenging/easy?
    • The cover work does not take the whole lesson?
    • The cover work is not appropriate for the class?
    • The students tell you they have already done the cover work?
    • There is no cover work?!

3. Behaviour

  • In our CPD we cover behaviour in detail, looking at causes, preventive strategies and how to handle misbehaviour if it occurs. Engaged students are less likely to misbehaviour. Most misbehaviour is due to:
    • Boredom/lack of stimulation
    • Fear of getting something wrong
    • SEN/requirement for extra support
    • Pitch of the lesson being too high/low
  • So look at the lesson plan you’ve been left and think about how you adapt it to reduce the causes listed above? Think about:
    • Pace of lessons
    • Assessment for Learning
    • Differentiation
    • Activities
    • Resources
  • Finally here are our top Dos and Don’ts in case you experience any major behavioural issues.
    • Do stay in the classroom.
    • Do stay calm and in control of your emotions.
    • Do ask for help (school phone in the classroom, TA, nearby teacher).
    • Do open the classroom door.
    • Do use the children to help you deliver messages if necessary.
    • Don’t make unrealistic threats.
    • Don’t make physical contact with the children.
    • Don’t block the exits.

Here are some more articles with useful advice:

We love to hear from you, so if you have a preference on certain topics you’d like covered or have a suggestion for a future hot topic, please email –