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How to manage your wellbeing as a supply teacher

01/07/2020

There’s no doubt that educational staff have played a vital role in our nation’s response to coronavirus. Their commitment has enabled pupils to continue learning, allowed key workers to keep working on the front line and has provided support to our local communities. Among this dedicated workforce are supply teachers.

To be a supply teachers means facilitating student learning whilst also supporting other educational staff. In such a multifaceted role with so many responsibilities, supply teachers must ensure they’re taking the time to look after their mental health. These tips will help you manage your wellbeing and allow you to give it your all, both in the classroom and out.

Managing your teacher wellbeing during Covid-19

The outbreak of coronavirus has presented new challenges for supply teachers with many taking an unexpected break from teaching and observing social distancing. As we wait for students to return to the classroom it’s important to look after your wellbeing during Covid-19.

To reduce the spread of the virus, schools have staggered welcoming their students back, with Year 1 and Year 6 being the first to walk back through the school doors. Meanwhile, in some secondary schools, Years 10 and 12 have returned for sessions to help them prepare for the examinations which the government have assured will go ahead next year. This leaves many more students unlikely to re-join their classmates until the following academic year starts in September.

The pandemic has pushed the education system to reinvent itself and while it’s allowed many students to recognise the benefits of online teaching and find a learning style that suits them, supply teachers must consider that returning to the classroom may expose learning gaps and behavioural issues.

Create a routine that works for you

For short-term and emergency cover bookings, supply teachers are called on to help in the schools where it’s most needed meaning that there isn’t a consistent work pattern with this teaching job. This may have an impact on your wellbeing since for many people a routine can help them to feel more grounded and in control. To offset the unpredictability that comes with a supply teaching job, consider introducing some structure to your day.

Use these 11 building blocks to create a morning routine that works for you, whether that’s starting with a nourishing breakfast or reading your favourite newspaper or blog page. Ending your daily work routine by packing a supply teacher kit will also help you feel prepared for the day ahead. Your supply teaching lesson plans and diary will no doubt be needed and having a supply of snacks and a power bank will ensure you’re well-equipped.

Engage with the supply teaching community

Though supply teaching jobs offer flexibility, for many this can cost them the sense of belonging to a community. When you’re moving between vacancies it can be difficult to connect with permanent staff but remember that there’s a large network of supply teachers working in the UK. Reach out to these supply teachers through online forums and Facebook Groups and use these platforms to share experiences. This will enforce the sense of belonging to a community and you may discover new techniques that other supply teachers use to manage their wellbeing.

Use your time off to pursue interests and hobbies

Since you may have short periods between supply teaching jobs this gives you more time to pursue hobbies or to discover something you’re good at. In fact, one in ten supply teachers choose it as a career path because of the flexibility.

Whether it’s a craft, sport or any other interest, allowing yourself the time to do something you enjoy will both promote positive wellbeing and help you bring enthusiasm to the classroom. Also, hobbies are a great way to keep you stimulated and energised while between supply teaching roles.

Partner with a dedicated agency

Though supply teachers do face some uncertainty around their working pattern this does not mean they need to dedicate hours to finding their next vacancy. 82% of supply teachers find work with the help of an agency.  By partnering with an agency that specialises in short-term staffing you can make sure you enjoy your time between jobs and trust that you’ll be contacted when the right opportunity comes up for you.

Join one of the largest teaching networks in the UK

We provide permanent and supply teachers to over 5,000 schools every year, cementing our standing as the leading supply teacher agency. Join the UK’s largest flexible workforce of teachers in the country and be part of our effort to help pupils ‘catch-up’ as they return to the classroom. Register today.

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