The Pros and Cons of being a supply teacher


If you are struggling to secure a permanent teaching post, there’s always the option of working as a supply teacher.  But what are the advantages and disadvantages? Find out more about the pros and cons of supply teaching below.




  • Flexibility

As a supply teacher you can pick and choose when you want to work. You are not tied down to any contract. You can work in a number of different schools and locations as it suits. It is also useful if you are still studying as well, as you can make this work around your schedule.

  • Less paperwork

As a supply teacher, you tend to not have to do marking, planning or attend extra-curricular activities. You are just in the school to fill in for the day and don’t have the full responsibility of the regular teacher.

  • Work-life balance

Supply teaching is often favoured by those trying to get their foot in the door or those teachers that have retired but don’t quite want to leave the classroom just yet. You also get to choose whether or not you want to work that day and what schools you prefer to work in.

  • It’s a learning experience

This is especially true for NQT’s who may not have had much experience teaching yet. Supply teaching will allow them time to learn and develop their skills as a teacher. It is also a great learning experience for them before NQT’s start interviewing for permanent teaching roles. Supply teachers get the chance to teach a variety of different students, from different ages, backgrounds, behaviours etc.



  • Work can be unpredictable

Supply teachers are often asked to work with very little notice. This can make it very hard to plan your week properly. It also makes it difficult to plan your finances if supply teaching is your only work as you are only paid for what you work.

  • Lack of support

As a supply teacher, you are less likely to be given as much support as permanent teachers. This may make it more difficult to progress within your career. You also miss out on in-service training and might not have access to as many resources as permanent teachers.

  • You never have a place to call your own

When you are working as a supply teacher, you are constantly moving around. Whether that is between different classes, schools or even areas. This means that you will never have a space for your supplies or a chance develop relationships with students.


Even though there may be some disadvantages to supply teaching, it is a rewarding job; whether you are newly qualified, wanting to fill some time or don’t want to leave the classroom entirely.

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