Where flexible working works - Jobs for mums

Career Focus - The World of Teaching

Supply Teacher - Tamsin Woodhead

Tamsin is Mum to Elsa and is expecting her second baby in September. She works on an ad-hoc basis as a Supply Teacher within local schools in her area of Cornwall.


The InterviewTamsin and Elsa Woodhead

Name Tamsin Woodhead

Location Penzance, Cornwall

Family Partner Matt and Elsa (2).

Job title - Supply Teacher

How did you become a Teacher? What is your background?

After completing my degree in Communication Studies at Lancaster St.Martins University I travelled extensively in Southern Africa. I spent two years working in a school in Botswana teaching International GCSE Art & Design which was a fantastic experience. When I got back to the UK I realised I wanted to carry on teaching and applied to do a PGCE in Primary education. I enrolled in the SCIT (School Centred Initial Teaching Training) through Nottingham University but was able to find a placement in London where I wanted to live.

How did you choose your subject?

I would have loved to have chosen to specialise in Art & Design as I enjoyed teaching it in Botswana..but as I didn't have a degree in Art I wasn't able to pursue this route. I liked the idea of teaching a variety of subjects so opted to specialise in primary teaching.

What training course/s did you do?

The SCIT course - this was a one year course. The best thing about it was the fact that I was actually teaching in a school from day one rather than being simply learning the theory.

How much did your training cost?

It was free.

Did you enjoy your training?

Yes - it was great, however it is the hardest year of teaching I have ever done! It was very different to teaching in Africa.

How did you find your first job after you had finished training?

I found my next job through my local education borough teaching pool. Basically you fill in an application form, then when schools are looking to employ new teachers they can review all the applications and select teachers they would like to interview. I worked in this job for the next 4 years. After that we moved to Cornwall with Elsa in tow and now I've chosen to become a supply teacher rather than a full-time teacher.

How do you find work as a Supply Teacher?

I have actually contacted local schools in my area directly and find work on an ad-hoc basis through them. However, the way most supply teachers find jobs is through a supply pool agency - a good site to look at is:www.eteach.com

How does the job fit round your family life?

It is great, I am very lucky though as I have family who I can ask to help with Elsa at a moments notice. One of the real benefits to being a supply teacher is the fact that you work 8.30-4pm and you don't have to take work home. However, jobs can come in at very short-notice, sometimes you will get a call at 8 o'clock in the morning from a school who need you to cover a teacher who is off ill..so having a good childcare solution yourself is essential if you have young children.

What is the earning potential?

I can earn £100 per day, I don't go through an agency so don't have to pay an agency fees. If you use an agency then you can expect a cut of your salary to go to them.

Is the job rewarding?

Yes! I really enjoy it.

What is the most challenging aspect of the job?

The fatc that sometimes I have a mad dash to organise my Mum into looking after Elsa at very short notice! When I have my next baby I doubt I will be doing any teaching at all for at least the first six months.

Do you think it is a job that fits in well with being a Mum?

Yes, but only if you have a good flexible childcare solution, or if you are prepared to only work strict set days. If you decide to sign up with an agency then you can specify when you want to work and you could fit this round a day when your child could be at a childminder or nursery.

Any advice for a Mum or Dad wanting to start training or looking to work as a supply teacher?

In order to be a supply teacher you have to already be a qualified teacher, so it isn't a job you would train specifically for...you would be training to be a teacher which is a full-time commitment. However, if you are a Mum or Dad who wants a flexible option to return to teaching, but on your terms then supply teaching is a great option!


Job of the Week

Cook Stars Limited

Location: UK Wide

Cook Stars offers fun cooking classes & cooking birthday parties. We teach pre-schoolers, children and teens at weekly classes how to create their very own dishes from scratch. 

Find out More

95 visitors online