Behaviour for supply teachers and cover lessons – PP19

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

Our topic of the week is Behaviour for supply teachers and cover lessons.

When a supply teacher (substitute teacher) or cover teacher enters a classroom for the first time, pupils can take it as an opportunity to play up.

One of the most important factors is the school’s expectations of supply teachers.

Paul tells a story from his own early supply teaching where he spent a productive and rewarding day with a class tidying, cleaning, making displays of the classes work and developing activity corners after a string of supply teachers had clearly not bothered with children they assumed were disruptive and unworthy of attention. The headteacher was shocked – her expectation was that Paul would come in and simply look after the children and make sure nothing terrible happened. Paul, however, treated the day with as much care and attention as if he was the regular class teacher. Unfortunately, the headteacher’s expectations of supply teachers were so low that she was attracting very poor quality practitioners.

Paul makes the comparison with locum doctors – great supply teachers work to the same standards as the full-time class teacher, in the same way that we would all expect locum doctors to behave. This won’t happen unless the school’s expectations are high…

Read the rest of the show notes on the Pivotal Education site.

What would you like to hear covered in forthcoming episodes? Let us know by emailing


  • Subscribe to the podcast
  • Listen for free every week
  • Send in your comments or questions
  • Get involved!