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Here's How to Make Your School Attractive to Casual Teachers - ClassCover

5 Ways to Make Your School More Attractive to Casual Teachers

With the ongoing teacher shortage coupled with a lingering flu season, many schools around Australia are struggling to find enough casual relief teachers to meet demand. If that’s you, have a read of this guide to help school leaders make their schools more attractive to casual relief teachers. 

Give Casual Teachers the Information they Need 

Incomplete booking requests are a pet peeve for casual relief teachers. How do we know that? We did the legwork. You can see how many relief teachers automatically decline a booking request that is missing information here. Spoiler alert—it’s a lot. For that reason, when you’re booking a casual teacher for work in your school, it’s important to give them as much information as possible. When you’re making a booking request on ClassCover, you’ll be prompted to include the year level, subject (if applicable) and name of the classroom teacher being covered. These details might seem small, but they matter to relief teachers and can give them a better sense of the job before they accept.  

As well as making sure the covering teacher is kept in the loop, providing as much information as possible will work in your school’s favour too. If you highlight that you need a casual teacher for a year 5 class, a teacher who is experienced teaching that age group is better able to accept the booking. When a teacher knows what class and year level they are walking into they are also able to prepare and bring suitable activities for that class, resulting in a better experience for the students.  

Here are some suggestions on information to provide to casual teachers at the time of booking: 

  • The size of the class they are covering as well as other important details like whether the class is an enrichment or lower stream class or whether there are students with specific needs 
  • Logistical information including where the casual teacher can park their car or where the nearest public transport station is can help alleviate stress in getting to your school on time 
  • Is there a school canteen available for staff? 
  • Does your school have a specific dress code? 
  • Casual teachers should also be advised if they are required to bring sneakers to teach sport or if they will be attending a special day such as a sports carnival so they can dress appropriately 

Despite the best of intentions, we know that sometimes schools have to make a booking request without having the full details. This is where Flexi-Bookings on ClassCover comes in handy.  

Provide Casuals with Support 

From a casual teacher’s perspective, one thing that separates a great school from the rest is the level of support provided by school leadership, admin staff and other teachers. For relief teachers, walking into an unfamiliar classroom in a new school can be a stressful experience. Here’s a few things your school can do to ensure casual teachers feel supported and enjoy working with you: 

  • Provide a point of contact 

One of the best ways you can provide support to the casuals working at your school is by providing a dedicated point of contact and communicating this to all relief teachers. In many schools this is one of the admin team who can be there when your casuals arrive to give them a tour of the school (if they haven’t worked there before) and be available to answer any questions they might have. 

  • Give casuals a classroom tour 

Particularly if a relief teacher is new to your school, giving them a tour of the classroom they will be working in goes a long way to helping them feel supported and ready to teach. Pointing out the location of things like first aid equipment, including EpiPens, is important, as is the availability of photocopiers and other teaching tools.  

  • Give the relief teacher an overview of students 

To help relief teachers do the best job they can, aim to provide as much information as possible about the students they will be teaching. Are there students that will require additional support with their learning? Are their students with social, emotional or behavioural issues or those on an Individual Education Plan (IEP)? Arming teachers with this information before they enter the classroom will ensure there are no surprises and help the day go smoothly.  

  • Provide necessary documents 

Many schools make a point of having a folder ready for casual teachers when they arrive at school, including lesson plans and other information they will need to get to work. Depending on the class or classes being covered, it can be helpful to provide a timetable including break times and when the school day begins and ends. Things like playground rules, your school’s behaviour management policy and steps to report an incident are also helpful for casuals.  

  • Make your expectations clear 

Every school and every classroom is different, so what a relief teacher may be used to doing at one school may not be the norm for all. If it’s your first time working with a casual teacher, make sure you take the time to set your expectations to prevent misunderstandings later on. Is the casual required to follow the work set by the classroom teacher? Would you like them to leave feedback and notes for the teacher? The start of the day is the time to make this known.  

  • Be responsive to issues  

Finally, should any issues arrise while a relief teacher is at your school the best thing you can do to ensure they feel supported is to take action as quickly as possible. This will help casuals feel valued and like your school is a safe place to work.  

Welcome Casual Teachers into the School 

For casual teachers, work can be lonely without the benefit of forming working relationships like a permanent classroom teacher would. One way you can help and ensure casual teachers want to return to your school is to make sure they feel welcomed. Make a point of saying hello and introducing yourself to any casuals that you haven’t met. Invite them to any morning teas or staff events that are happening during their time at the school and do your best to include them if you see them in the staff room. Particularly if the casual has worked with you over a longer period and formed a relationship with the school, consider inviting them to your staff Christmas party or other events. 

Beyond this, taking the steps to create a school culture where casual staff are treated with respect by students, staff and parents is the best way to ensure relief teachers feel valued and welcomed into your school community.  

Show your Appreciation 

Relief teaching by nature can be a thankless job that rarely leaves time for feedback beyond that provided by students in a boisterious classroom. If you notice a casual teacher doing a good job, let them know. As well as helping them develop their craft as a teacher, you can guarantee they will appreciate the kind words. At the same time, relief teachers are a great source of feedback to help you as a school continue to improve. Reach out and ask for feedback and you are sure to gain some insights on life as a casual in your school that will help you retain staff.

Behaviour Management 

Behaviour management has flow on effects to every part of your school community, including your ability to attract and retain casual teachers. Schools that have a reputation for misbehaving students and poor behaviour management as a whole may notice their relationships with casual teachers suffer as a result. Having a good behaviour management plan—and making your casual aware of it—will benefit your school in the long run.  

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