What is in your bag? Being prepared for your day (KS1 – KS2)

Coloured pens – schools often have a marking policy and using a particular colour – often they also want supply teachers to use a different colour completely

Reward stickers, stampers and certificates – you may only be with this class once, so building relationships is difficult. Rewards focus the children onto your approach to behaviour and expectations.

Time fillers – generally if this is a planned supply day, you will have work prepared for you, however, a series of time filler activities can be useful. For KS1 a couple of new story books, children are always interested in new books and sharing a story can fill those 10 minutes before break time. For KS2 a Quiz is always a great idea, split the class into teams and test their general knowledge. Other time fillers for Maths, Literacy and other foundations subjects can easily be stored on a USB stick and printed out or photocopied if you need them.

Teaching resources & planning – if this is an unplanned supply day, it is useful to be organised in advance. Have stored a folder for each year group you teach, fill it with basic plans for numeracy, literacy, science and foundation subject lessons. That way if you get a call, you can just grab the relevant folder as you are heading out the door. If you also have interactive whiteboard lessons planned, grab your USB stick too.

A mug, packed lunch, water etc – this way you are prepared for your day, you don’t have to leave the school at lunch time and you will feel less stressed. Nothing worse than entering a staff room, grabbing a “best teacher” mug to find a member of staff glaring at you for taking their mug!

Starter lesson – children can be easily upset by changes to their routine, introduce yourself, write your name on the board etc. Have a short warm up activity to do whilst everyone is arriving and sitting down. This can be helpful if you need time to discuss the day’s activities with a TA or other staff member, or simply get organised.

Activities can include: 1) How many words can you make from my name/animal name or even supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! 2) If you have images or an interactive whiteboard – put up two well-known fairy tale characters – ask the children to write a conversation between the 2 characters, less able children will re-tell the story, more able will create an entirely random conversation. 3) A quick acrostics poem, write Winter/Spring etc. on the board, ask the children to write a quick poem about the season (W – Whistling wind coming across the playground, I – Igloos built in the snow.) This can be a solo activity or in pairs for younger groups.