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.

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 for 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 breaktime 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

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 thing 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 you 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 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.

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.

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.

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!

Boosting Your CPD (Continuous Professional Development)

Imagine a world where you are helped socially, financially, personally and supported as you are integrated into a new life in a new country.

That’s what we do and if that’s not enough we also help with a personal career plan, what does that mean?

A personal plan, so what?

Your career is just like you, it’s unique and what you need differs from what I need and what that dude over their needs and on and on it goes. With this in mind, we believe your career deserves a personalized plan. When it comes to teaching there are many skills your student life does not cover, what others call life skills. Here is a list of our most recent CPD courses:

That was a selection of our professional development courses, we also run courses on integrating to the UK, life skills, STEM, SEN and specifics for Primary schools.

All of the CPD work we do is aligned to you the individual, it’s all free and we do this to help you find the career you deserve.

How we help teachers with life

How we help teachers with life

We created iday and launch it in 2010, the purpose was to help people like you experience the UK, meet schools and just make sure it was right for all parties. As a company we have helped 99,702 teachers find work, it has been a great success and as we move forward into 2018 we strive to keep listening and responding to your needs.

We always encourage our teachers to feedback on their journey with us and what became clear in 2017 was the need to support the next generation of teachers on the life side more. We already covered parts of this but have increased the options, the insight and added a dedicated support number.

Here is all you would receive – before you read think about what it would be like – your first week in a new country:

Getting set up

We sort the airport pickup – No getting lost here.
Help you set up a bank account – Amazing how handy getting paid is.
Show you the bits and pieces of the Visa process – Minimize the anxiety.
Sourcing your National Insurance number – You need one to be a legit UK resident.

Essentials help

A welcome pack so you know the score.
Help finding accommodation and introductions before you even get here.
Internet! Imagine a new home with no internet, no way.
A dedicated support number, not sure about something, got a question, give us a call!

Social perks

Organised social events to help meet other teachers like you!
A private Facebook group for related insights.
Discounts and insights for shopping and entertainment.
Exclusive holiday offers and trips, see Europe or the rest of the UK, it’s your call.

We care about the happiness of our teachers and your ability to have a successful career and to enjoy what you do begins with your home life.

As we look towards the future we wanted to make sure we are as positively disruptive as we were in 2010 and the only people who know that is you!