Starting your new career as a Teacher in a Primary school or Secondary school can be daunting for many Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs). As an Early Career Teacher (ECT), you are likely to face many challenges in finding a teaching job that best suits you, your lifestyle, and your experience. 

Securing a role


Once you have applied and had your interview you will potentially be offered a role which you may end up accepting even if you aren’t certain about the school, just in case it’s the only job you are offered.


If you take the job, congratulations! It is an exciting time, but it is also well documented that Early Career Teachers experience something known as “practice shock” when they first start teaching in their new school.


In a study commissioned by the DfE (Department for Education) UK Government in 2018, one ECT summarized: “When you go through your Initial Teacher Training (ITT) placements, you can’t truly understand how much work there is to do, or how much responsibility comes with the job. So, I think that kind of hit me hard in the NQT year.”

Professional development and support


Although, formal CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and ECT (Early Career Teachers) mentoring programs are recognised for their practical ways of addressing priority areas like, Behaviour management, it was also recognised that Early Career Teachers commonly report that informal conversations with colleagues in school meet their professional development needs more than formal CPD. While mentoring appears in a positive light, there is some evidence to support formal conversations with mentors are primarily evaluative, with a lesser or absent developmental function.


In many cases the report found that ECT / NQT mentors were not always Phase, Key Stage, or Subject specialists and as such the Early Career Teachers were seeking subject specific support from their peers.

School culture


New Teachers commonly experience “practice shock” when beginning to teach and need collegial support to help them adapt to the reality of work in schools. A supportive school culture is critical to the success of Early Career Teachers professional development.


Avoiding the impact of practice shock is possible when the degree of responsibility is reduced. Working as a Supply Teacher offers Early Career Teachers the perfect way to refine skills and grow in confidence without the added responsibilities of building longer term relationships with parents and pupils, let alone living up to the high standards expected from day one. If the assigned teaching job is not preferable to you for whatever reason it is possible to change schools with little notice, as a Supply Teacher. This is not possible when you are employed directly by a school.

Working with Career Teachers


Working through an agency such as Career Teachers will give you access to many types of Schools in locations you may not have considered previously, giving you the opportunity to try out a variety of teaching jobs in Primary, Secondary or Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) schools with differing ethos, structure, and numbers on roll.


We at Career Teachers get to know our partnership Schools and take regular feedback from Teachers and Support Staff, so we develop a deeper understanding of the school’s ability to support Early Career Teachers. We will only place you in schools that will offer you the best opportunity to gain confidence and valuable experience.

Supply Teaching


Apart from the flexibility that supply work offers, one of the greatest advantages of working as a Supply Teacher is that you will have support from your personal Education Consultant here at Career Teachers who will help you to deal with any situations that come up in your teaching jobs. We will act as a mediator where necessary to resolve conflicts or ask for more support from the school staff if you feel uncertain about how you will be perceived if you ask for help. Our job is to make your job as successful as it can be.


Ms McCoy, now an Assistant Head Teacher in a secondary academy was a supply teacher in 1998/99 before finding her ideal job shares:


Supply Teaching gave me an amazing opportunity to work in a wide range of schools whether that was for a day, a week or up to a full term. Working as a supply teacher helped me to recognise the right type of school for me and when I found it, I stayed in my role and progressed to a leadership position – I can’t recommend this route highly enough. You really do have the time to make the right decision, so don’t rush into a permanent teaching job just for the sake of it a year or two of supply work could help you find exactly what you are looking for to get the best start to your teaching career”.

Where next?


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