Relief Teaching in New Zealand

Top tips from experienced relievers

Tips and sage advice for beginning relief teachers.  Some words of wisdom have been collated here, but do use the forum on this site to ask questions and share your knowledge with others.

Hold your head high and be yourself.  A sense of humour and lots of praise will go a long way.  If you need to discipline - do but also remember that your time with the students is usually brief and you are a novelty.  

Classroom management

You only have a small window to set the tone for the day! Keep the rules to a minimum, but lay them out clearly at the start of the day.  Resources such as the Kohia Teachers Centre books, What a relief! books have lots of great ideas for ground rules and creating a positive classroom environment.  These are listed on the Resources page along with other useful titles.
Try and use the teachers existing reward system, rather than implementing a new one.  The more that you can keep consistent for the students the easier it will be for them (and you!).  Group points are effective, if you do need to use your own system.  The points can be for their own sake, or for things like the night off homework, or a small prize.  Some students will play up no matter what.  Be clear and consistant.  Sending a pupil to a permanent member of staff is a last resort. 

During the day, use the students as leaders and helpers.  Don't expect to the class to complete every task you have prepared.  Be flexible, if they are enjoying something, let them continue.  The flow chart below has some practical steps you can take to get the day started.  Your own positivity and enthusiasm will be key.

Getting started

At the end of the day, leave the classroom tidy and return any equipment that has been used to where it belongs. If there is a computer available, or better still, interactive whiteboard, have a go with this Tidy Up Time Timer - its musical!

Mark the work that you have set and leave a note for the class teacher.  Include with this some feed back on the day.  There is an example of a feedback sheet below with the other downloads.  This one serves the dual purpose of providing feedback and helping create a positive classroom environment.  You would prepare an A3 sheet with all the students names on it before the start of class and add to it throughout the day.

See the principal before you leave, be positive and thank them for the opportunity.

Below are some downloadable files to use in the classroom
Use this certificate to award to a whole class.
File Size: 848 kb
File Type: jpg
Download File

Use this certificate to award individual students.
File Size: 155 kb
File Type: docx
Download File

Here is an example of an idea from the Kohia Teachers Centre for leaving feedback for the classroom teacher from the students and the relief teacher.
File Size: 682 kb
File Type: jpg
Download File