ep.education's Amy Whiting and Zaf Burns know a thing or two about relief teaching (CRT/substitute/supply). Here they explain just some ways that relief teaching benefits your teaching career and can help you land your dream teaching role.
1. Exposure to schools or centres
Whether you’ve just graduated or you’re an experienced educator who is looking for the next step in your teaching career, relief teaching across New Zealand schools or centres allows you exposure to different teaching environments.
Schools and centres often have a variety of pedagogy and structures. Relief teachers have the chance to speak to the permanent staff to see how they teach, plan, and assess. This will help keep your teaching style broad and ensure that you’re open to new ideas.
As a relief teacher, you’ll be able to use this exposure to work out what types of schools or centres you do and don’t like, which will help you narrow down where you’d like to work on an ongoing basis.
2. The chance to teach across different age groups
In New Zealand, different teaching qualifications allow you to teach both the age you specialise in, alongside, at times, age groups above or below that you studied. An example of this is when teachers who have an ECE qualification can teach in primary or primary-specialised teachers teach in ECE*.
The chance to teach across age groups as a reliever opens your understanding of the curriculum beyond what you studied, alongside the experience of educating different ages of children, which may impact the age you want to work with permanently.
*This depends on your NZQA outcome. For further information, see here.
3. Return to teaching
To have the best chance of securing your dream teaching role, up to date school experience is essential. Relief teaching can be a great way to update your curriculum knowledge and current teaching pedagogy. It allows you to ensure that returning to the classroom is the right decision without ongoing commitment.
The Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand currently offers a Teacher Education Refresh (TER) to support this transition. The TER is flexible in length, with fees presently covered by the Government. Once you have completed your TER, you can engage with a recruitment agency to support you in finding relief teaching work as you return to the classroom.
4. Try before you buy
Relieving at a school or centre advertising a long-term position can be a powerful way to showcase your value to them. Relief provides you with inside information about the school/centre and an opportunity to showcase your practical skills on the floor.
In addition to positioning yourself well for a teaching position you might vie for, it also allows you to learn what you may be getting yourself into if you were successful in your application. Even if there are no long-term prospects at a school/centre you are relieving at, as a great reliever, you will be front-of-mind for future positions that arise.
5. Scaling up and down
Relief teaching allows you to reduce or increase your teaching workload to suit your situation. The control you have over the work you accept means deciding the volume of work you do and how much time you have to focus on other things.
Need a break from working for a week so you can interview for other positions? Simply accept less relief teaching opportunities. Have a part-time job and looking to supplement your income? Relief teaching is flexible and pays well. Experienced teacher but looking to work less? As a relief teacher, you decide when you work and there is no take-home work.
Do you want to give relief teaching a try? Get in touch with us! When you relief teach through ep.education, we take care of everything for you. You can update your availability on our simple app, so we only offer you work on days you're available, and we're always just a phone call away.