Intro to being sub teacher in Northern Ireland

As I’ve said I have been working as a sub (supply) teacher for five years now. I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed my time subbing in different schools because there have been so many benefits to working in different places. I have made new life-long friends and met people who I know I can always come to for advice and guidance.

For those of you who don’t work in Northern Ireland or are newly qualified and aren’t too sure what to do next let me explain how it works as a sub teacher. You sign up to the teaching council and then you sign up to a site called Nistr. Once you are a member of Nistr any school throughout Northern Ireland can see you’re available to work and have access to your details (which you must record yourself) and will phone you if they want you to sub in their school.

However, it isn’t always enough to simply sign up to Nistr. It’s always a good idea to take your CV around to all your local schools so they can meet you in person. It’s my personal opinion that it’s word of mouth and who you know especially in my town as to which schools will contact you and continue to use you.

Some obvious pointers to keep you on your toes.

  1. Always arrive at school at around 8:30.
  2. Make sure you follow the lesson plan given.
  3. Make sure you actually teach what’s on the lesson plan and not merely hand out worksheets (you wouldn’t believe how many students have told me about sub teachers doing this)
  4. Don’t sit down at teachers desk while children are working – go sit with a group and help them.
  5. Mark all pieces of work that you’ve given out throughout the day.
  6. Have a chat to secretary before you leave to make sure there’s nothing else you need to do.
  7. If you are doing a longer term sub offer to help with extra curriculars in school

Some of these will seem obvious but I’ve heard a lot of stories (mainly from the secretaries – who are usually the ones who arrange the sub) about teachers who have not done these simple things.

Have you got any tips you would like me to share with others? Leave a comment below.

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