Let’s admit that most of us don’t get into relief teaching and expect to stay there permanently. Relief teaching is often a stepping stone into a more permanent role. It can help us gain experience, build contacts in schools, and pay the bills as we complete various certifications. So what can we do to increase our chances of moving into a more permanent position when the time is right?
Build a Reputation for Excellence
It goes without saying that one of the best ways to get repeated calls and consideration for future job openings is to do your best. Do you come in well-prepared? Do you accomplish lesson objectives for the day? Do you leave the classroom neat and organized at the end of the day? Do you leave copious notes for the permanent teacher upon their return? Doing all these things well can help make you stand out from the many other relief teachers coming in and out of the school on a regular basis.
There are many ways, big and small, to network at a school while relief teaching. Smiling and gabbing with the school receptionist upon entering and leaving is a great opportunity that should not be passed up. Remember, this person is the one communicating to the principal on a regular basis. When it comes time to submit your CV for an open teaching position, the receptionist can help you get it onto the principal’s desk with a warm recommendation so be friendly!
The staffroom is the absolute best place to network. Many relief teachers can shy away from the staffroom. They don’t know anybody and everyone else seems to have known each other for years. Our best advice is to be bold and strike up conversations or join groups of conversing teachers. Not only can they act as a reference for you when you apply for an opening, they can also give you tips on teaching your regular classes. It’s possible that they had been a relief teacher early in their career as well and can tell you what worked for them.
Be Friendly & Volunteer
A smile can go a long way and just smiling at other teachers and staff in the hall, even if you don’t know them, can leave a positive impression. Sometimes you can have a tough class or maybe getting a last minute phone call at 5:30 am got you off to a bad start for the day, but it’s important to shrug those things off and show staff and students your best in order to leave a good impression.
Also, volunteering to help out with little projects is another great way to get noticed. Maybe it’s helping another teacher rearrange their room between classes or helping out with buses at the end of the day. You might not necessarily be getting paid to do such activities, but the willingness to help others can really set you apart.
Even if you aren’t looking to make the move into permanent teaching quite yet, by following the above advice, you can increase your chance of getting regular calls for relief teaching. Getting enough hours can sometimes be a challenge, but these are surefire ways to get you noticed and get you more hours. Plus, it’s always nice to work at the same school as you get to know the staff and the students, so there are many benefits to building your reputation at a particular school. When you’re ready for that full-time position, you’ll have one or more schools that would be excited to have you!