There are many great advantages of becoming a supply teacher, whether it’s a move from a full-time teaching role, or your first step into teaching. We chat to Adrian, who has worked through Athona as a supply teacher for a number of years now, to find out his thoughts on the advantages of the role.

What are your main duties as a supply teacher?

As a supply teacher, my main duties are to follow the lesson plans from the regular teacher so that the class still runs smoothly, and offer support to students where they need it, encouraging them to participate in the lesson and learning. I work in various different schools, covering a range of subjects, so it’s really varied and interesting.

What do you enjoy most about being a supply teacher?

I really enjoy the variety that comes with being a supply teacher, as you could end up covering any lesson with any group of students. I also tend to find, that in comparison to being a full-time teacher, that stress levels tend to be much lower. There also isn’t the lesson preparation or marking to spend time doing, so you really get to focus on the best bit of the job, which is the teaching.

What are the biggest challenges of being a supply teacher?

I find the biggest challenges to be not knowing where, or if you will be working the next day, although this does suit my lifestyle well and it’s not for everyone. You also don’t get to have the relationship with the students that a regular teacher can build, which is a shame, but something that comes with the nature of the job.

What has been your career path so far to lead you to becoming a supply teacher?

I began teaching in 2000 as a part-time nursery school teacher in the morning and a secondary school drama teacher in the afternoon at Deben High School (which later became Felixstowe Academy and is now Felixstowe School). I continued in this joint role until 2010, before becoming the high school’s full time drama teacher. In 2013 I joined a project within the school and became a Skills Based Curriculum teacher, before turning to a Maths teaching role in 2015. I remained in this post until 2018 and then spent a couple of terms working as a Drama teacher at a different high school, before deciding the time was right to move on to become a supply teacher. The rest, as they say is history.

How has your role as supply teacher changed since the pandemic?

The role itself hasn’t changed, but I’d say I’ve noticed there is slightly more work than pre-pandemic and more block bookings to cover shielding or isolating teachers.

What are the main benefits of working as a supply teacher through an agency?

Less stress and less hassle. I love the ease of finding work through an agency, there is none of the stress of searching for roles all by yourself and you know you have your consultant to support you.

Do you enjoy the work-life balance that being a supply teacher provides?

Very much so, I have a much better work-life balance as a supply teacher than my previous full-time teaching jobs. When I was a full-time Maths teacher I had a very poor work-life balance, it just consisted of teaching, preparation and lots of marking in rotation.

How have you felt supported by Athona as an agency through this difficult time of the pandemic?

I’ve felt very supported by Athona throughout the pandemic, they have listened to any concerns I have had.

What are your top tips for anyone wanting to become a supply teacher?

If you’re leaving a full-time teaching role, make sure the time is right for you, as they are vastly different roles. It would also be a great way to get into teaching, so definitely go for it if you’re wanting to find out more about the world of teaching, as it’s a great way to test the waters, and you can have lots of fun.

Interested in becoming a supply teacher like Adrian through Athona? See our latest education jobs here.