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Freedom over Your Own Time – Become a Supplying Teacher!

The exciting role of a Supply Teacher, or Substitute Teacher, covers the role of a permanent Teacher. Their primary duties include carrying out the absent Teacher’s lesson plan, consulting with parents, and maintaining records of student progress.

What is a Supply Teacher?

This is a teacher who covers the role of a permanent teacher and is used on a temporary basis. Supply teachers can work within multiple schools on day-to-day assignments or provide long-term cover to a specific school and cover long-term absences, such as maternity leave.

  • You, as the supply teacher, will take the temporary teaching contract and perform responsibilities that the class teacher would normally do during the period of absence.

Since the work is on a contractual basis, you will experience different locations and schools. You will need to make yourself frequently available and be confident in different classroom situations.

  • Becoming a supply teacher is usually challenging, as you have to adapt to each setting and the schedule set by another practitioner. You also need to ensure you have the knowledge to adapt to the school’s needs.
supplying teacher

The Supplying Teacher’s Duties and Responsibilities

The class’s subject, the grade level, and how long the Supply Teacher serves in a given class may affect their duties. Here are some of their specific duties and responsibilities:

  • Collaborating with Lead Teachers, Assistant Teachers, and School Administrators to make sure students are safe
  • Promoting in-class engagement and good behaviour
  • Proctoring examinations and quizzes
  • Assigning and collecting assignments and keeping them organized for when the permanent Teacher returns
  • Leading lessons using presentations, textbooks, and other learning materials
  • Following lesson plans from the permanent Teacher
  • Supervising students in class and during recess, lunch, and detention periods

How You Become a Supply Teacher

Most schools request referrals from agencies before hiring supply teachers. Many supply teacher agencies will help you obtain a temporary position and support you through the supply teaching process.

Where will You be Needed?

Supply teachers are needed in every age range, from primary to secondary and even further. All educational institutions will need assistance filling temporary vacancies, and as a supply teacher, you have the same responsibilities as a permanent teacher.

benefits of substitute teacher

Your Duties to Your Agency

Supply agencies pay most supply teachers salaries, and schools can negotiate fees with these agencies. The department trusts schools to agree on a fair price for teachers. Supply teachers can register with multiple agencies to find the best pay and conditions for their circumstances.

  • Agency Worker Regulations provide that all workers on assignments lasting more than 12 weeks are paid on equal terms as permanent staff after the 12th week.
  • Where supply teachers are self-employed or employed by a supply agency and their services are provided under a ‘contract for services,’ they cannot participate in the TPS as no organization undertakes the employer role, which includes remitting contributions to the scheme.

Your Duties – Your Rights

  • Call regularly to update on availability.
  • Return time sheets weekly, which are signed by your school representatives.
  • Update any personal details
  • Regular communication if unable to make a booking or arriving late
  • Keep up to date on regular educational changes
  • Attend agency CPF courses, forums, and personal study.
  • Support: When you work for a supply teaching agency, you have the support of a professional team who can help you with everything from finding assignments to managing your finances and paperwork.

Working for a supply teaching agency can provide a sense of financial stability. The current shortage of teachers means you can be confident in receiving a steady stream of income as long as you are flexible and available for assignments.

The Skills You Need

  • Previous teaching or lecturing experience
  • Effective verbal and written communication
  • Strong classroom and behavior management techniques
  • Ability to positively influence others
  • Ability to react quickly and effectively in challenging situations
  • Ability to relate and build relationships easily
  • Self-motivated
  • Organized
  • Professional
  • Adaptable
  • Flexible
  • Punctual


The employer determines your salary as a supply teacher and is subject to any statutory regulations or agreements made nationally or locally. The average supply teacher earnings can vary widely between states, depending on what your agency determines your pay to be. Research also shows that you can earn up to 150 USD per day.

  • Schools, on average, will choose to hire supply work through agencies rather than individuals.

So, which is right for you? – Flexibility or a Permanent Teaching role?

The decision depends on your circumstances and preferences. If you are looking for stability and the opportunity to progress in your career, then a permanent teaching role may be the best option.

  • If you aspire to become a head teacher, the permanent role is the only way forward. But if you want the freedom to choose when and where you work, then supply teaching could be the right choice.
  • Consider what is important to you and what would suit your lifestyle best before making a decision!
  • Permanent teaching roles offer more stability and security. You will be guaranteed a regular income and the opportunity to progress in your career. 

Variety comes With Flexibility.

Perhaps the main reason thousands of teachers undertake supply work every year is that it is an excellent option for those who want the flexibility to choose when and where they work!

  • You can take on as many or as few supply teaching roles as you like, and you are not tied to any one school or location. You can work around family commitments or periods of travel, creating a satisfying work-life balance.
  • This is even a perfect opportunity to experience a variety of schools, subjects, and teaching styles to revitalize their careers. Visiting different schools allows you to meet a broad spectrum of teachers and gain broader teaching experiences than most full-time teachers.


Many teachers nearing retirement desire more control over their diaries. Giving up the life of being a teacher is one of the toughest decisions, and for those who aren’t quite ready to sign off from teaching completely, supply teaching is the best bet! Make your final years as teaching as fun and flexible as possible.

  • It can be incredibly difficult to say goodbye to a classroom. Still, supply teaching means you can always retain a strong working relationship with a school you love while experiencing other environments. You can also relocate to a different area or work overseas as a supply teacher.
  • Retired and semi-retired teachers often do not have the same financial burden as teachers of a younger age. Therefore, they do not rely on a full-time salary each month to maintain their desired standard of living.

Overall, working for a supply teaching agency can be a rewarding and flexible career option for teachers who are looking for variety and the support of a professional team. If you are considering becoming a supply teacher, working for an agency can be a great way to get started and build your experience in the field.

bill wallace author teacher retirement plans

About Author

Bill Wallace blends his academic background in Literature with his ventures in International Business and finance. His professional journey took him across Europe, especially in Spain, where his passion for writing evolved. Since then, armed with his literary finesse and investment acumen, he has been crafting financial content for teachers worldwide. More about me.

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