A supply teacher is someone who steps in place of a regular teacher. This mainly happens when the regular teacher is unavailable. There are a number of situations that usually arise in life which prompt us to disrupt our working schedule and teachers are no different. When such situations arise, supply teaching job becomes available.
Some people may look down on supply teachers and may not even give a supply teaching job advertisement a second glance but many differ with them. There are various reasons as to why you need not look down on this profession. However, one major benefit that a supply teacher has over a regular teacher is that of flexibility. Most of the time, supply teachers have a lot of time to do what they please before the demand for their services sets in. They also get to enjoy variety as they are likely to teach in various schools, this is an important part of supply teaching, as a good number of regular teachers don’t get the chance to move from school to school.
Supply teachers may be employed directly or through an agency. In the UK, previously majority of supply teachers were employed directly but both forms seem to have gained wide acceptance. By direct employment I mean that supply teachers can be employed through direct contact with the school or through local authorities. On the other hand, many supply teachers chose to register with an agency so that the agency can pursue supply teaching jobs on their behalf. Registering with an supply teaching agency can give you that peace of mind that someone is always looking for work for you and have a large number of schools on their books.
The working conditions of supply teachers are clearly stipulated in the STPCD (School Teacher’s Pay and Condition Document). Pay progression for supply teachers employed directly by the local authority or the governing body of a school is a guarantee and it needs to be done on the same base as regular teachers. The work conditions stipulated in the STPCD fully apply for supply teachers employed directly. However, the STPCD doesn’t fully apply for supply teachers employed via teaching agencies as they are subject to their own terms and agreements.