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 Brendan Benson, a secondary teacher who has been working with us since 2017, to discuss how they got into teaching, what made them choose supply and how the current climate has impacted them.
What is your current role?
I’m currently teaching Drama and Theatre Studies at a performing arts school.
What made you want to work in education?
My passion for my subject.
How did you get into teaching?
I ended up working in education by accident – I had the qualifications to teach, so pursued it and realised I was actually quite good at it.
After I’d started teaching, I was offered a place at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. After this, I worked as an actor for 20 years, before returning to the classroom – where I’ve been for the last 20 years.
What do you enjoy about working as a teacher?
So many people have ideas about theatre and what it is – I enjoy freeing students of their pre-conceived notions about performing arts.
What made you want to work on supply?
I was made redundant about 4 years ago and needed employment. As an older teacher, I knew supply would be the best option for 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?
I love the flexibility and independence supply offers, which I would not get in a permanent role.
What made you choose Smart Teachers?
I was working at a school directly and spoke to their Head of Recruitment. I asked who the best agency in London were and she recommended Smart Teachers.
What’s the best thing about working for Smart Teachers?
Smart Teachers are very good at giving me the freedom to choose how and when I work.
What is the most challenging thing about your role?
Sometimes you go to a school and don’t get to engage with students or staff very much.
What have you found most challenging about working in schools during the pandemic?
Travelling on public transport – but everyone at Smart Teachers have been very accommodating. They have found me local work that I can walk or get a bus to, rather than having to take long tube journeys. They really have been fantastic.
What are your top tips for making working on supply a success?
Start as you mean to go on – supply can be challenging at times, which is why it’s so important to set your standards and have clear expectations from the start.