Tim from Erith School – What are schools looking for in teachers?

Tim from one of our schools talks about what he is looking for and why when it comes to choosing teachers at iday.

Our support has always been a key part of helping all types of people find work, in the UK and abroad.

It’s our approach to support which starts with a free career planning session no matter your location, experience or role, we believe that quality recruitment begins with helping and understand your unique needs.

Nicola and Jacqui from North Primary School – What do headteachers look for in new staff?

Nicola and Jacqui are from one of our schools. Here’s a short clip of them at an iday event discussing what they look for when recruiting new staff for their school.

Our support has always been a key part of helping all types of people find work, in the UK and abroad.

It’s our approach to support which starts with a free career planning session no matter your location, experience or role, we believe that quality recruitment begins with helping and understand your unique needs.

Secrets to getting the best from your supply teaching
Secrets to getting the best from your supply teaching

Psssst! These are our sacred secrets to getting the best from your supply teaching.

Pre-bookings vs early morning calls – There are two types of work when you’re a supply teacher, pre-booked and non-pre booked. Pre-booked supply work means you’ll be aware of the school you’ll be going to before you go, which gives you time to get up in the morning prepared and get on your way ahead of schedule. Non-pre booked work is what it says on the tin – you’ll essentially be on call to save a school that needs help that day or week! Not up for a call at 7.30am? Make sure you tell your agency what time you want to receive calls from – if you’re not on a pre-booked day but you’ve let your agency know you’re available that day, be prepared to answer the phone early!

Give it your all – This goes without saying but giving it your all on assignment is really important. Turn up on time, turn up looking sharp and turn up with a smile on your face. An enthusiastic supply teacher gets rebooked which in turn gives you consistency in your work. Win-win.

Take work with you – In some cases, your work will be planned for you, in others, it won’t. It’s best to plan for the latter, just in case – let’s be honest, games only get you so far when you’re teaching. Think on your feet if lessons go off task, a great supply teacher is able to complete lessons on time and feedback to the classroom teacher of achievements and objectives hit by their students.

Enter the staff room – Don’t think because you’re a supply teacher that you aren’t part of the staff at a particular school – relief staff play just as important a role in a school as everyone else as they keep students on track. Spending time with the staff is important to building relationships, which makes going back to a school a positive experience and not a daunting one.

Feedback – Feedback might be your worst nightmare, but really it should be your best friend. Feedback allows you to receive praise as well as understanding where you need to improve. Supply teaching gives you the opportunity to gain continuous feedback from different headteachers and school managers, which can put you in great stead to finding more work.

Find the loos! – The best piece of advice for someone going to a new school for a supply day is to find the toilets – don’t get caught short.

Impressions – First date dos and don’ts apply when you go into a school for the first time, look sharp, smile, be friendly – it’s the trifecta of ensuring a successful day at a new school.

Teach beyond your subject – Teaching beyond your subject is a great way to not only expand your knowledge base, it ensures you get more work and shows your experience.

Stand out from the crowd

Stand out from the crowd

Whether you’re an experienced teacher or you’re newly-qualified and you’ve done lots of supply since graduating, hunting for new teaching job can be difficult. It’s times like these when you begin to assess yourself professionally and personally. Am I the right person for the role? What do I need to impress? Am I good enough?

Relationship skills

Being good at building relationships is one of the most important skills a teacher can have; a positive relationship with your students is a great way to maximise their learning potential. It’s also important to be able to build professional relationships with other staff and SLT at a school, they’re your support network, the people to get advice from and enjoy your job with.

Effective teaching and learning

Being able to foster effective teaching and learning is key. Being able to show this to a prospective employer is important when you’re looking for work. Have you raised attainment with students in your class? Are there any notable achievements that you could talk about when you’re interviewing? Did you receive Good or Outstanding feedback during a lesson observation? Talk about it! It’s all well and good having a glowing teaching CV, but backing it up with real-life examples of student success are even better. Showing your passion and positive attitude will show you care about your job and are excited about the future.


If you’re looking for a long-term or permanent position, you should be reliable. You’ll be a full-time employee of a school, and this comes with personal responsibility. Being reliable means showing up for work on time, doing all that’s expected of you in a school day, taking on activities within the school that might go above and beyond what you consider normal. For example, taking on break time or lunch cover, assemblies, being great during a parents’ evening, taking on extracurricular activities like setting up a new academic team.

Finding the right school

As with any new job, finding the right employer is something that will make you try much harder in an interview and when you land the job. If you apply for a plethora of jobs and interview with lots, it might be counterproductive. You need to understand what you need from a school, what you want from your career and find somewhere that matches your beliefs. It’s important to think about school ethos, size, catchment and the type of schools you’re applying to. Take time to read Ofsted reports of potential schools you might want to work in, this puts you in great stead when you come to interview as it not only shows you’ve proactively researched it but that you’re interested in working there.

Interviewing Do’s and Don’ts

– Be confident

– Be engaged

– Act professional

– Talk about your achievements

– Be honest


– Underprepare

– Criticise your current employer

– Talk too much

– Dress inappropriately

– Downplay your success at a school

Let’s get practical: The Seven Principles of Teaching

Let’s get practical: The Seven Principles of Teaching

There are seven principles of teaching that aim to improve standards, teaching and learning. Think of them as your seven commandments, they’re relevant in every learning situation.

Principle one: Encourage contact between students and faculty

Now it might seem obvious but building relationships and rapport with students is important, it’s one of the main factors in ensuring students succeed. There are many ways to open up the communication channels and build relationships between students and yourself, including learning your students’ names, personalising feedback on students work, sharing personal experiences (within reason!) and talking to your students on a personal level.

Principle two: Develop reciprocity and cooperation among students

When you encourage team collaboration and learning, learning is enhanced. Group work improves thinking, collaboration skills as well as social skills. Ways to introduce this into your classroom are cooperative learning groups, encouraging students with different socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in classes and introduce the idea of peer tutoring every now and again.

Principle three: Encourage active learning
It’s quite widely believed that students can only learn so much when they sit in a class and listen to a teacher, students need to make learning a part of their life. Simple ways to introduce active learning in your classroom could be asking students to present their work to the class, using ‘what-if’ situations to make students think about something different and giving students problem-solving tasks to complete.
Principle four: Give prompt feedback

The best time to summarise lessons and give feedback on work is when a subject or lesson is still fresh in your students’ minds. Feedback enhances learning as it helps your students identify what they successfully learned, and what they need to look at again. Great ways to help students reflect and learn on lessons is to follow up lessons with a summary of what should have been learned, Q&A style sessions and returning grades/marking within one week.

Principle five: Emphasise time on task

As we all know, we’re always rushed for time. Lessons range from 40-55 minutes, which means you need to introduce a subject, explore it, set some work around it and summarize it in a short amount of time. Learning should be efficient. Simple ways to ensure tasks are completed efficiently are having realistic expectations, teaching time management skills and helping students set their own goals and timelines for learning and submitting work.

Principle six: Communicate high expectations

Students with little motivation, children unwilling to try and children that exceed all need to be set high expectations. Ways to set high standards are encouraging students to work hard in class, giving positive reinforcement throughout your lessons and working one on one with students that might be struggling to learn something. Encouraging students to focus on doing their best, instead of worrying about grades is a really important way to boost confidence and ensure high standards are set, too.

Principle seven: Respect diverse talents and ways of learning

It’s commonly understood that everyone has different learning styles, no two people learn something the same way. The best practice to ensure every student is covered in your lessons is to offer a range of activities that cover and complement learning styles. Encouraging students to speak up when they don’t understand is a good way to ensure no students are left behind.

These principles not only help you be the best teacher you can be not only for yourself but for your students.

Tips on picking an working environment that matches your needs
5 days a week.
190 days a year.
27 weeks a year.
1,045 hours teaching in a classroom.

It’s a lot of time! Now try imagining (or maybe you already live it!) picking the wrong environment to work in.

That is our focus today, what kind of environment should you look for and how to do it.


Trusting your instincts is key. If you feel something or have a read on your potential new boss of they way their teaching methodology. Trust your instinct, it’s a mass analysis computer called your unconscious mind.


How all of us humans think is visually and that is your emotional intelligence at play. The more you take experiences and imagine different scenarios, you know, literally imagining arriving every day, teaching your favourite and least favourite classes. How does it feel? Trust it.


Our moods are affected by many different things and one thing that can drive down our happiness is when negative things repeat day after day after day. Lighting can be a big part of this, it’s worth checking how clean the windows are, if the bulbs are of a decent standard, it’s your day to day life.

Taking a walk in your shoes

Before you criticise someone else, take a walk in their shoes! That way you have their shoes, can say what you want and run away and they can’t catch you. < Cheap jokes. Jokes aside, when considering a school think about walking the halls every freaking day, what kind of feeling do you get? Trust that feeling.

We only get one life, pick your environment based on what YOU need and you will find more of what you enjoy and less of what you don’t.

How to manage my day to day
How to manage my day to day work

Supply teaching is all about passion, organisation and timekeeping. All you have to do is let us know when you’d like to work and we’ll organise the rest. Here’s a guide to how you days might go when you work on daily supply with us!

Before school

Breakfast – a good breakfast is important whatever job you have, it gives you the energy you need to have a productive morning.

Get up and get ready – Make sure you’re good to go early in the morning so that when you get a call from your supply agency, you can get out of the door and on your way straight away.

Phonecalls – Hear your phone ringing? Answer it! It’ll be us with an assignment for the day!

Find your way to school – We’ll tell you where you’ll be working for the day and if you’re not sure where it is, we’ll help you find the best route.

Check-in – Supply staff have to check in at reception when they arrive at a school. If it’s one you’ve never taught at, you’ll be shown around and taken to your classroom to get started.

At school

Introduce yourself – It’s important to make yourself known as a new member of staff (no matter how little time you may be there). Say hi to the staff you see in the corridors and introduce yourself to teaching in neighbouring classrooms. First impressions go a long way.

Get the classroom ready – Make sure your allocated classroom is neat and tidy and ready for the students. Do you need to do anything else before you start teaching?

Inspect the lessons plans – If there are lesson plans left on the teachers’ desk, inspect them, make sure you’re super prepared and know what the students need to achieve so you keep the teacher on track.

Try to learn names – Try your best to learn a few names during your day, it’ll make it easier if and when you need to manage behaviour or report great work to the teacher.

Manage behaviour – Every supply teacher should have their own set of behaviour management rules for when misbehaviour strikes. You can always keep it the same, as long as you stick to it and it’s fair – processes like a verbal warning, then a written name on the board and as a last resort fetching the headteacher work well.

Report back to the regular classroom teacher/school – Whether you’re expected to or not, it’s always nice to report back to the regular teacher at the end of the day. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the person you covered and make yourself known.

Tidy the classroom – Before you head off for the day, tidy up the classroom ensuring everything is put away, chairs are tucked under, the computer is switched off and spare papers are filed away.

Say goodbye to staff/the headteacher – Before you leave, it’s polite to say goodbye to the headteacher/whoever you see on your way out. This is another great way to appear keen and it may help you get pre-booked at the same school again.

Submit your timesheet for the day – Don’t forget to submit your timesheet for the day, it’s kind of important getting paid for all of your hard work.

Do your homework: starting a new role

Do your homework: starting a new role

First of all, congratulations on your new job. Searching for a new job is tough but you made it! Here’s a little list to help you know what to do before and after you start your new job.

Before you start

Positive thoughts!

Make sure you start your job with a positive headspace – a ‘can-do’ attitude and a smile is the best way to hit the ground running and make a great impression.

Do your research on the role

By this point, you’ll have a good understanding of the school and it’s culture, but it’s always a good idea to make sure you research again before you start there. Check out their website, their official social media pages, their school ethos and any relevant reading material. Not only will this make you super prepared for your new role, it’ll show that you care.


Ensuring you understand the current curriculum, especially if you’re an international teacher. The UK curriculum sets out the key programmes of study that you’ll need to cover throughout the year, they differ for every Key Stage, from EYFS to Primary to Secondary.

Establish your classroom rules

It’s important to have classroom rules before you begin teaching to make sure your classes run smoothly. What can your students do to get your attention? Put their hands up and wait quietly. What can students do if they finish their work early? What happens when a student starts misbehaving? Good ideas include a verbal warning, followed by writing a students name on the board. Some schools may have their own classroom rules which they might tell you about when you begin.

After you start

Make yourself known

With any new job, it’s important to make yourself known. Introduce yourself to other staff members in the staffroom or corridors. Make sure you ask for help when you need it, too. This is a good way to build rapport but also to understand the boundaries between teachers and SLT. Peer help might be a better option sometimes.

Set your classroom up

Put your own stamp on your classroom. A basic display is a good way to introduce your teaching styles to the staff and students. Create a ‘star pupil’ display to create something your students will strive to get on, or combine a visual display with classroom rules and create a reminder of break times display.


Make sure you’re aware of the school’s schedule to create a daily plan. When are the breaks and lunchtime? What is the protocol for assembly? What do you do during a fire drill? Where can you find classroom supplies? How do you go about ordering more? These are all valid questions to ask or find out during your induction.

Continue learning

Keep up to date with education updates in order to ensure your teaching remains relevant. Take advantage of CPD offerings that your school or agency might have. Professional development opens doors and enhances your career prospects.

Essential teacher life skills

Essential teacher life skills

Life skills are something which carry through to every aspect of your life. When you teach, there are a few obvious life skills you need in order to do it well; time management, problem solving, presentation skills and conflict resolution. But have you considered the other types of life skills that might also be pertinent in a teaching role?

Integration and friendship

It’s important to integrate yourself in any new situation well, whether you’re an international teacher whose relocated to England to teach, or if you’ve just taken the plunge and found a job in a new school. Making friends is the key to ensuring a happy and successful time in a job, after all, you spend a lot of your time at work! It’s also important to make sure you have a support network outside of work, too.

Being empathetic

Empathy is an important part of teaching. You need to be able to read people and react accordingly and understand that pupils are human. For example, if one of your students isn’t working very hard one day, maybe look past this and find out why. Recognising that someone is upset or down is a good way to show them you care and it shows them that they can trust you.


Did you know there are 37 types of special educational needs which you should at a minimum be aware of? Recognising and identifying behaviours associated with a special educational needs is vital when dealing with your students. You may experience students with EBD, BESD, ASD, HI/VI, PMLD and SEMH and these should all be dealt with differently. For example, children with Autism generally respond better to schedules and consistency. Children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties could respond better to humour or “planned ignoring”. There are lots of resources on the internet to help, or you can take advantage of our free SEN courses. You should also take into consideration children’s learning styles when teaching, too. With 7 types of learning styles, it’s always important to note that some children may react differently to topics or activities. One pupil may not enjoy or actively take part in a kinesthetic activity because they learn in a more visual way.


Finally, being flexible in your role is key! You need to be able to adapt yourself to each situation, whether that be child meltdowns, troubles with peers or changes in approach. Fearing change can hinder you both short and long-term, it’s inevitable.

Secrets of teaching: The personal relationship between you and each pupil

What they don’t tell you when you are training is the personal relationship between you and each pupil.

You could be the most knowledgeable teacher in the world but it doesn’t matter a jot if you don’t earn the attention of your classes.

The fundamentals of teaching a class are just like the psychology of communication when it comes to human to human interaction, the number of people you are interacting with or indeed their age does not matter as humans learn and need the same things to switch them onto the person interacting with them.

Here are some tips to enrich your engagement:

Eye Safety

When we are born the first thing a baby does is look for faces, it is one of our pre-programmed innate intelligence and the phrase ‘the eyes are a window to the soul’ is very true. The way it works is simple, our emotions and feelings are built around our eyes, not just our pupils but the eyebrows and our laughter lines are great storytellers. Whether we mean this or not it is hard to hide so tip one is to always be aware of how you feel and what you are conveying to your pupils as it can make or break your lessons.

Nonverbal communication

It is not just our eyes, 70% of how we communicate is nonverbal. You know when you go on a date or have a meeting and your friend asks ‘How was it?’
You reply ‘It was good but there is just something not quite right so I won’t pursue it’
We are instinctive creatures and have a lot of depth to our instincts for a very good reason, our instincts keep us safe and they also sniff out opportunity, weakness and danger. You want your classes to not just feel safe but also to feel engaged, watched and aware of your presence. To accomplish this you need to have awareness of your body language, to stand with open arms, to invite people in to contribute not push them away or make them fear responding to you.

Your Voice

Our tone of voice tells the truth even when our word does not. Being aware of how you say things is just as important as what you have to say. 50% of the world, like me, will be affected more by the tone you speak in that the words you say and 50% will take onboard the words you say more than how you say it. In the middle is the energy of your classroom, be aware of your tone and consider what makes you, you. As an example for me my tone tends to be friendly, helpful and assured and when I need to make a point or am frustrated then it will become more direct. The tip here is not to think you have to be super friendly and OTT positive all the time it’s more about being aware of your general tone and making sure your voice is not pulling down the quality of a great potential lesson.

Psychology teaches us all sorts of life skills, true life skills. One of the keys to succeeding as a teacher is how you take your pupils along the journey of learning which starts and ends with how much they are bought into you as a guide.

We help all our teachers – and those considering becoming one – with life planning, professional planning and making sure they aren’t the cause of holding themselves back!