Here are 5 sure-fire ways to get your phone ringing for those elusive supply teaching gigs.
1) Business Cards
Having a business card is essential. Always carry a few in your pocket because you never know when you will bump into a teacher or a principal and make a connection.
Your card doesn’t need to be elaborate. All you really need is a one-colour card that lists your name, telephone numbers (both home and cell phone) , your email, and your qualifications.
I went to the local print shop and got a deal on 500 black and white cards. The good news is that they keep my card on file so I can order new ones easily if ever I should run out.
I also ordered matching letterhead. I use this letterhead for resumes but I also use it for leaving notes for the teachers I supply for.
If the teacher has a day book binder, you can leave this letterhead in their binder so next time, they need a supply teacher, they can easily flip back and find your information.
3) School Visits
The start of the school year is always a busy time. Most teachers won’t need to book a supply for the first month.
If you don’t get a call for the day, go out and visit schools. Bring a personalized cover letter with the principal’s name and the name of the school printed right on it. Don’t use a standard “To Whom It May Concern” letter.
Go in and introduce yourself to the secretary. If you have good timing, you may be able to meet the principal or vice principal. If not, leave your resume and ask the secretary to pass it along.
4) Short Lists
Some schools prefer to use the same substitute teachers on a regular basis. As such, they have a “short list.” This list may have twenty names on it and these are the people they will call for the supply teaching jobs.
Only after this short list has been exhausted will they put the job in the system for all of the supply teachers. If you can get on a few short lists, it will help you get called more often and establish yourself in a few select schools.
5) Go the Extra Mile
Mark everything you assign on those days you do teach. If you have a prep period, see if there is anything you can do to help out the teacher or another staff member of the school during that time. Volunteer to help out at recess practices. Going that extra mile may get you noticed and remembered. And that equals call backs.
I hope you find success in your teaching career and that you are able to build connections and relationships as you supply teach. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask me.
More Teaching Tips
- Teaching Tip Tuesday Archive – over 100 tips and counting
- A Day in the Life of a Supply Teacher – a great guest post
- What a Classroom Teacher Expects from a Supply Teacher – another great post from a different point of view.