Reasons to become a locum/supply teacher or teaching assistant
Published on 25th November 2016
There is a huge array of reasons as to why you may be better suited to a locum teaching career rather than be a full-time permanent member of staff.
There is a huge array of reasons as to why you may be better suited to a locum teaching career rather than be a full-time permanent member of staff. Whether you want to become a locum teacher for a set period of time, to fit around other commitments or see supply teaching as a potential career move, there are opportunities for locum/supply teachers or teaching assistants across the UK.
Newly qualified teachers
Newly qualified teachers often choose to go locum following graduation to give them a good grounding in education and teach in a variety of settings before ‘settling down’ or specialising. Supply or locum teaching enables you to do just that.
Locum supply work can be appealing for teaching professionals returning from a career break after taking time out to have a family, travel or study a training course.
Moving to a new area
Professionals moving to a new geographical area that they are unsure of may prefer to become a supply teacher and take short-term contracts rather than commit completely to a new school that they know very little about. Ofsted reports can give teachers an insight into the school but not in the same way as working there and experiencing the school life every day. Therefore locum/supply work enables teachers to choose that route if they prefer to ‘shop around’ first.
Moving to a new country
Similarly professionals from overseas may prefer to sign up to a recruitment agency who are specialists in teaching and who will be able to help guide them into the areas that are right for them. Recruitment consultants can provide information, advice, guidance and ensure the transition to teaching in the UK is as seamless and stress-free as possible.
There are a number of reasons as to why professionals want or need flexibility in their working life. Teachers caring for a relative or coping with an illness in the family may need a financial income but without committing to a full-time job and supply work or short-term contracts provides the financial stability without the commitment. Teachers wanting to start their own business may wish to keep their hand in at classroom work to provide some financial security until their business is established. Similarly, teaching professionals or teaching assistants wishing to study for a degree or take other training may wish to do some supply work during their training to provide them with a steady income to support their development. Supply/locum work also means that teaching professionals are not restricted to having breaks in the school holidays and can go on holiday out of school holidays avoiding the hike in prices.
Locums across all professions frequently report that working in a variety of settings enables them to gain valuable experience, meet new people, try different methods of practice and hone frontline skills. Locum teaching enables professionals to gain a wealth of experience in a variety of settings and take new ideas from placement to placement.
Focus on classroom teaching
Most teaching professionals say that the best part of their job is the work in the classroom, teaching children and young people, helping them to learn new things, encouraging them, thinking of innovative learning methods to inspire them. Locum supply work therefore enables teaching professionals the opportunity to go into the classroom and focus on the reason they went into the profession – teaching children and young people.
Professionals across an array of occupations often want the autonomy to manage their own work-flow and feel in control of the type of work they take on and when. Contracting/freelance/locum work provides professionals wanting more autonomy a prime opportunity to take control of their working lives at different stages in their career.
Teachers approaching retirement age often feel ready to finish permanent work but are loathe to let go of teaching altogether. Locum work is a perfect opportunity for teachers to dip in and out of teaching, keeping their skills honed, keeping them abreast of developing policies and new technologies in the classroom without the full-on commitment of a full-time job.
Receive the latest interviews, features and news stories in the Teacher Today monthly email newsletter, designed and produced for locum social workers in the UK.
Type in your email address below and click Subscribe.
Published on 26 July 2017
It is inevitable that your school will need to hire a supply teacher, or teachers, and teaching assistants at some point. Even schools with the widest pools of contacts they can draw on to cover classes will at some point need to employ locum teachers to cover either a few days’ work or a longer-term contract such as a maternity cover.
Published on 25 November 2016
School leaders’ pleas for increased investment in school budgets ignored in Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement