Blog - | Smart Teachers
Happy World Teachers' Day!

It’s no secret that supply teachers are flexible educators, able to jump into someone else’s classroom at short notice and hit the ground running. Teachers come to us from all sorts of backgrounds and for all sorts of reasons – from NQTs through to experienced senior leaders. To celebrate World Teachers’ Day, we took some time out to chat with Helen Stocks, a teacher who has been working with our sister company ABC Teachers since 2015, to discuss how she got into teaching and what made her choose supply.

What is your current role?

Teaching Business and IT, my subject specialism, on a long term placement.

What made you want to work in education?

I worked as a Careers Advisor in schools and realised that was where I wanted to be. The rewards in my previous roles were great, but nothing beats being in the classroom and have a child benefit from what you’ve taught them.   

How did you get into teaching?

I left school and didn’t have chance to go to sixth form – so I started working in construction and manufacturing. I really enjoyed it and did well financially, but when I had children I needed something different – so I got my degree and started work as a Careers Advisor in schools. I loved it and made the decision to go into teaching. I qualified in 2000 at the age of 45 and have been teaching ever since. 

What do you enjoy about working as a teacher?

I love working with children and helping them to do well. It’s also very funny –they can be hilarious at times!

What made you want to work on supply?

I was leading and department and commuting 100 miles a day and loved it, but I needed a change. The flexibility of supply really appealed to me.

What do you like best about working on supply and what are the main benefits of working on supply instead of a permanent position in one school?

Supply really suits me – it’s flexible, so I still get my holidays. I like both day-to-day and long-term placements and the chance to choose where and how I work. Now have a granddaughter, it’s really important that I have the flexibility to spend time with her.

What made you choose ABC Teachers?

I asked around and ABC Teachers came highly recommended – I went to visit my consultant and we just clicked.

What’s the best thing about working for ABC Teachers? 

I’ve worked whenever I’ve wanted to since I first started and everyone at ABC Teachers has always been very supportive.

What is the most challenging thing about your role?

Learning new systems and ways of working quickly in new schools.

What have you found most challenging about working in schools during the pandemic?

I was thrilled with the way ABC Teachers have kept my up-to date throughout the pandemic – I wasn’t expecting to be furloughed either, but they paid me throughout. The most challenging thing about working through the pandemic has to have been wearing a mask and glasses at the same times – it’s a nightmare when they steam up!

On a serious note, learning one-way systems or not being able to move around the classroom as much as I’d like has been a challenge.  However, all the schools I’ve been in I’ve felt totally secure.

What are your top tips for making working on supply a success?

Wear a smile and take your sense of humour with you. Do your best and remember to take your lunch and something to drink with you!

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