A day in the life of a supply teacher in London

Being a supply teacher, or substitute teacher, in London is certainly not boring! There are approximately 3250 schools in London and nearly 14 million pupils, so there are always schools looking for great supply teachers.

But what can you expect as as a supply teacher in London? Here is a typical day!

6am – The day starts early

As a supply teacher in London you are on call from the early hours, and if you don’t have a booking already should be up around 6.30am waiting to see what day vacancies are available. Bear in mind that it can easily take an hour to get across London, so you need to be prepared to travel. Make sure you have everything packed and ready to leave at a moment’s notice. It’s good to arrive at 8 or thereabouts, so you can meet other staff as they come in, and make sure that the senior leadership team are aware of your arrival.

8am – Spend time in the staff room

If all goes well, you will be asked back to the school again. So it’s good to get on well with your colleagues. Spend some time before the day starts chatting to other staff and getting to know them and the school. Don’t let them scare you, but do ask advice from other teachers ol around particular ways of working the teacher you are covering has, or any students and pupils who might need extra support. It’s always best to be prepared. 

8.45am – Head to your classroom

Make sure you get to the classroom before the students, so you don’t arrive flustered or stressed. Make sure you know any marking or admin that needs to be done, and build this into your day. Most good teachers have a robust lesson plan and guidance, so there shouldn’t be any surprises.Take this time to read through any last minute notes and familiarise yourself with resources in the room. There are always glitches with technology or log ins, so be as ready as possible.

9am – First lesson begins!

The teaching day starts. Introduce yourself, and set rules and expectations for the lesson. Make sure they know that you’re not there to be taken advantage of, and it’s school as normal. Some pupils and students will misbehave with supply teachers, so stand up for yourself and be firm – but likeable.

10.30am – Enjoy a cuppa if you can

Find out in the morning if you’re on break or playground duty and what that means. Different schools have different rules. If you’re not, take this time to have a cup of coffee and reflect on how the day has been so far, and swot up for the next lesson.

1pm – Lunch time

Most supply teachers take a packed lunch, but you can also see what’s on offer in the canteen. It’s up to you where you eat, but it might be good to take some time to look over the afternoon’s sessions in your classroom too. 

3.30pm – Home time

If you have been set admin and marking, now is the time to do it. Check in with senior leadership team if you’re likely to be needed tomorrow or for a few days. Let them know how 

things went, and any issues that may have arisen – or huge successes you’ve had!  If you are back tomorrow, spend some time looking over the lesson plans so you don’t stress overnight. It’s always worth being organised, as it makes the day go much easier second time around. Then head home and relax for the evening, or enjoy some of the amazing entertainment and sights London has to offer.

Ready to be a supply teacher in London? Get in touch and we’ll fix you up with London schools looking for the best teachers – and now!

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