Whether you are at the start or end of your career, supply or freelance work is always a possibility worth considering. You never know, it could actually suit your better than fixed employment!
So, what are the benefits of becoming a supply teacher/tutor or working freelance as a trainer or assessor?
The main advantage of work of this type, is the freedom to choose where and when you work. You can choose to work in certain locations, certain types of providers or services, to work part or full-time, how many hours a day to work… This means, whether you have family commitments, childcare issues, another job, or you’re studying for something, you can fit it in around them.
Another big reason to consider this line of work is the fact that most supply teachers or freelance workers often earn £100+ a day for their efforts. This can go a long way to pay for that holiday, mortgage payments, childcare, study costs and so on.
Meeting new people
Not being attached to one employer or one building will give you the opportunity to meet new people, both staff and students, to find new challenges and learn new things while still doing your job. You may find yourself with a plethora of friends and colleagues, and of favourite places to work and spend your time.
Check the fit
Working as a supply teacher especially gives you the chance to look at different employers, talk to other staff members and see how things are done. Whether you’re not sure teaching is the right job for you, or you’re not sure where you would like to work, then supply would be a great way to check where you fit, where you will be happy if you want to settle somewhere.
Keep on going
You might be nearing the end of your career, whether looking for a new challenge, something a bit different, or just getting ready for retirement. Supply or freelance as an assessor could be a great move for you. It gives you the freedom to move around and meet new people while still working in the area you enjoy, you have more freedom with your time by possibly reducing your hours without reducing your earnings, or earning that little bit more ready for the retirement pot. It also provides you with a way to pass on your knowledge and skills to a whole bevy of willing learners, including some staff members, before it’s time to put away the marking pens for good.
But are there some disadvantages too?
As with all careers, there are some downsides. Below are a few of the main ones to consider.
As a supply tutor, you won’t necessarily get to know your learners the same way you would if you saw them every week. For some this is a benefit, but for others they miss that relationship, that opportunity to see their success and confidence grow. Working as a freelance trainer or assessor shouldn’t have the same downside, as you could be visiting and working closely with the same students throughout their course, as they complete their portfolios and prove they have what it takes.
On the other hand, whether working freelance or supply, you may miss out on forming those relationships with colleagues and other members of staff. Many can end up feeling lonely or like they don’t belong. Some supply teachers have had issues with permanent staff ignoring them or being unfriendly, and freelancers can feel left out too, as everyone goes about their business around you.
At first, becoming a freelance trainer or a supply teacher could involve some upfront costs. This could take the form of registration fees with the relevant agencies, or the course fees to train to be a trainer or assessor in your chosen area. It could also be time costs, both in terms of studying to be an assessor, or registering with different agencies by filling in application forms and writing CVs and cover letters to prospective employers. You may also accrue travel costs as you to and fro to different places in your local area on a daily basis. Particularly as an assessor or trainer, as you may have lots of travel to see different learners in a variety of places.
Working freelance or supply means that you have no guarantee of work, which means no guarantee of how much you will earn weekly or monthly. For some, this risk or uncertainty is too stressful. Others figure out quickly how to work around it. Often, you need to be ready to go at a moment’s notice, especially as a supply teacher, in order to make the most of job opportunities. Before becoming a supply teacher or freelancer, it is worth looking into how much work there is in the area and how regular it is, to help you get an idea of whether it is going to be sustainable for you or not.
There are many benefits to being a supply teacher or working for yourself in a freelance capacity, but make sure you have thought about the pros and cons before you start.
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