Working in education can be a very rewarding, but it is a role that takes a lot of dedication, effort and patience. There are various routes into teaching ranging from a year to four years of qualifying; the decision to make the leap into a new workforce is not to be taken lightly. Starting out completely new can be a daunting experience, so what is the best way to be sure that teaching is the role for you?
Before embarking on any teacher training, consider doing some voluntary work at your local primary or secondary school. After volunteering, if working in education seems like the career for you why not try your hand at being a Cover Supervisor.
In simple terms, a cover supervisor is employed to supervise the cover work that has been set, therefore will manage class behaviour, answer questions when you can, keep the classes on track with their tasks, collect all the work completed through the day and report back to the cover manager.
This may sound like a fairly simple role, but gaining classroom experience beforehand is essential. To experience different schools, how they manage their behaviour, the systems and policies for each school and to have a general knowledge of how a school is run, will make the transition into teaching that much easier.
Being a cover supervisor will give you an insight in to what schools are really like, the challenges faced by teachers and staff on a daily basis, the type of character it takes to work with young people and whether this is something you want to commit to.
So where to start with becoming a cover supervisor? Having asked schools on numerous occasions what they look for in a cover supervisor, the main quality is always good behaviour management skills. Being organised, punctual, prepared for any situation and having a presence in the classroom are all vital, but the main quality schools look for is, to repeat, good behaviour management. This combined with at least 3 months UK classroom experience, will put you in good stead for a cover supervisor role.
Some schools look for educational backgrounds, such as having studied a degree in education which can then be used within the classroom, but this is not always necessary. The role of a cover supervisor is to cover the classes with as little fuss and hassle as possible, ensuring the cover manager can get on with their day and the other ten or so roles that they are doing! You are there to support the school and in doing so will gain fantastic experience in a classroom environment, which may then lead to something bigger and brighter, such as a role in teaching.
Trying lots of new schools as a cover supervisor through a supply teacher agency will also give you the benefit of being offered a way into teaching – some schools run teaching qualification courses whereby you can train and be paid at the same time. If a school recognises potential in the individual, they may even offer this whilst on supply. As the individual has already spent some time within the school, this will then make their decision easier and enable them to make a balanced decision.
If you’re thinking about becoming a cover supervisor and would like more information on how to get started initially perhaps through simply volunteering, please contact a good supply teacher agency whose consultants will be happy to give you as much advice as you need. You can also send us your details by registering on the form below: