5 things to remember for your first day as a supply teacher


Teaching children can be a daunting thing for anyone, but even more so when it’s a classroom the teacher hasn’t been in before. 

Regardless of if you’re providing short-term supply for a day or two, or will be sticking around for an entire term, this is all you need for that first day.

Check out our five top tips to hook in the classroom and get the children on board with your teaching methods and approach.

1. Know your key contacts

Supply teachers will often have a named member of staff who will act as a liaison, and while every effort should be made to get to know them, you shouldn’t step there.

From reception staff to teachers in the surrounding classrooms, you never know when you might need their support, so it always helps to get off on the right foot.

2. Ask plenty of questions

If you require practical information, make sure you ask for it!

From teaching assistants that can provide the low-down on the classroom to support staff with knowledge of the timetable, everyone can be a source of help and support if you ask.

Try to find out how lessons are usually structured to avoid breaking from routine and make sure you’re aware of any requirements, such as if there are pupils with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

3. Name tricks

Learning a lot of new names can be a cause of anxiety among supply teachers, but there are ways of approaching it with a new class.

Don’t be worried to ask pupils to repeat their names, or another trick is to skip ones if you’re unsure of the pronunciation.

Simply ask if you missed anyone at the end, and wait for them to say their name first!

4. Be prepared

Get to the school early if you can as that will give you time to look at the classroom you’ll be in and to make sure you have the necessary materials for lessons.

Speak to those responsible for setting over work if it is not in place and make sure you have classroom essentials such as board pens and a notepad to hand, just in case.

You may also wish to have a couple of generic lesson plans or activities ready, to fill time should cover work not be available – Twinkl has a range of these for key stage 1 and key stage 2 which can be used for inspiration.

5. Know the school policies

Most schools will have different policies in place and they won’t always be the same from school to school.

As a supply teacher, make sure to learn the essentials around behaviour so that you can manage situations accordingly – be rewarding and sanctioning pupils as required.

Knowing routines is also important, as pupils may be expected to line up outside the classroom or wait silently to be seated – following these rules can make transition into a new environment easier and provide an early means of taking control.

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