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One Day in the Life of a Supply Teacher

  • Publish Date: Posted over 1 year ago
  • Author: Angela Kelly


Being a supply teacher can be an unpredictable job, you never know where you’ll end up or what you’ll be doing from one day to the next. But, to give you an insight into this unique job, I’m here to tell you about a typical day in the life of a supply teacher. From the early morning prep to the after-school admin tasks, I’ll take you through my day as a supply teacher so you can see what it’s really like.


The early morning hustle

For supply teachers, the morning can be a hectic one. Waking up early to ensure you’ve got enough time to plan lessons and be ready to start teaching at the drop of a hat can be stressful. Juggling numerous bags full of textbooks, stationery, and other materials, you’re ready to go and make your way to the next school. Trying to memorise lesson plans and making sure you have everything you need for the day ahead, the hustle of getting ready for a new day in a different school is an adrenaline-filled one.


Arriving at school

For many supply teachers, the day starts with a rush. You have to make sure you are dressed and ready in time for your first job of the day. You also need to double check that you have all the supplies you need, as there's nothing worse than getting to a school and realizing you left something important behind.

Once you get to the school, you will likely be greeted by the office staff. Here they will provide you with any paperwork you need to complete, like a timesheet or an attendance list. They may also give you any classroom notes or objectives you need to follow throughout the day.

The next step is to meet the students and start the lesson. As a supply teacher, it can be a challenge to engage students who are unfamiliar with you. It’s important to introduce yourself and get to know the students, especially if you plan on coming back to the same class. Take time to explain what you will be teaching for the day, as this helps to establish expectations and a sense of structure.


Meeting the students

As a supply teacher, I am often walking into a classroom of unfamiliar faces, many of whom are completely new to me. It can be daunting but it's important to stay confident and put on a professional front. The students may not have had a supply teacher before, so it's my job to make sure they understand the expectations and respect my authority.

I like to start off by introducing myself to the students. As well as giving them an idea of who I am and why I'm there, this helps break the ice and makes them feel more comfortable. I always explain that I am their teacher for the day, just like any other and that I'm here to help them learn. I find that having a friendly, yet firm approach often works best when meeting the students for the first time.

Once introductions are out of the way, I usually go over the lesson plan for the day. This helps me set the pace and expectations for the rest of the class. I also use this time to remind students of any relevant policies or procedures they need to be aware of, such as attendance or behaviour. I like to make sure everyone is on the same page before we get started with the lesson.

Finally, I like to ask if anyone has any questions or needs help with anything. Not only does this show my students that I am willing to listen, but it also helps me gain insight into how they are feeling or what they might need help with throughout the day. This can be invaluable as a supply teacher who is only with the class for one day.


Dealing with behaviour

As a supply teacher, one of the most important and challenging tasks is dealing with student behaviour. The students you are teaching may be unfamiliar with the rules and expectations of your classroom, so it’s important to set boundaries early.

When managing behaviour in the classroom, it’s important to remain calm, yet firm. If you do find yourself in a situation where a student has broken the rules, it’s important to take the time to explain why their behaviour is unacceptable and provide them with appropriate consequences for their actions. It’s also important to be consistent and fair in how you manage student behaviour.

It can be helpful to have some strategies in place that you can use to help manage behaviour. Some strategies that work well include having clear rules and expectations for the classroom, giving students positive reinforcement when they behave well, and providing students with opportunities to reflect on their behaviour and make amends for it.

It’s also helpful to build positive relationships with students by getting to know them and finding out what motivates them. By doing this, you can create a safe and welcoming learning environment where students feel comfortable to express themselves.

Managing student behaviour can be a challenging task, but with the right strategies in place, it can also be a rewarding experience. With patience and consistency, you can create a classroom environment where all students feel respected and safe.


Planning lessons

Planning lessons as a supply teacher can be quite challenging. You may have only just arrived at the school and not have enough information about what the students already know or what the curriculum is. Therefore, it is important to take some time to research the subject you are teaching and think about how to use what you already know to create engaging and stimulating lessons for the students.

It is also important to think carefully about the activities you will use and make sure that they are appropriate for the age and ability of the students in your class. There is nothing worse than giving a complicated lesson to an unprepared class! A great way to ensure that the lessons you plan are relevant and engaging is to collaborate with other teachers in the school and see what activities they use. This will help you to get an idea of the topics being covered and will give you a better understanding of how to plan your lesson.

Finally, it is also important to consider how you will assess the students and ensure that all learning objectives are met. Think about how you will gauge their understanding and make sure you have appropriate resources available to support the learning objectives. This could involve using worksheets, PowerPoint presentations, videos, or other forms of assessment. Once you have planned your lesson and gathered all necessary resources, you can begin delivering it in the classroom.


Going home

At the end of a long day, it's finally time for the supply teacher to pack up and leave the school. After saying goodbye to the students and staff, the supply teacher heads off for the day, hopefully feeling fulfilled and proud of the work they've done.

On the way home, the supply teacher might reflect on the lessons they've taught and how each student responded. It's always nice to see the students making progress, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. This can be a very rewarding feeling, even if it wasn't their regular class.

Finally, when they reach home, they can take some time to relax and unwind before getting ready for their next job. Being a supply teacher can be exhausting but also incredibly rewarding!



At the end of the day, it can be hard to step back and reflect on how things went. As a supply teacher, you may not get the chance to follow up with students or get feedback on your lesson plan. However, it is important to take a moment and think about how the day went. How did the students respond to your teaching style? Did you get the desired result from your lesson? What could have been done differently?

Reflection is essential for learning and improving your teaching skills. Take time to consider your successes and challenges from the day and think about how you can apply that knowledge in the future. While being a supply teacher can be challenging, it is also an opportunity for growth and development. Take the time to reflect and use it to become a better educator.