Are you a casual relief teacher or starting out as one this term? It can be a bit nerve wracking to get going but never fear Nikki Tester from Oceanview Resources has some amazing hints and tips to get you started. Nikki is such a wealth of information that I have broken up her interview into three separate posts. Here is part one.
Hi Nikki! Thanks for taking the time to share your wisdom and experience with us. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself so we can get to know you and your experience in education and as a casual relief teacher?
Hi Amy, thank you so much for inviting me to share my insights and ideas.
A little about me….
For readers who are just starting out as a casual relief teacher (CRT) What are the best ways to get work? Should teachers contact schools directly or contact the department? And what kind of documentation do you suggest they take with them in their kit?
At the start of my casual teaching I began to work voluntarily at the school my daughter attended, and that was a foot in the door for me. I was recommended to other schools in our area, and my career as a casual began. I was fortunate to have had block work which really ingrained me into the school community and I was treated the same as other full time members. As this was a coastal area, the chances of obtaining permanency were pretty remote, but I was grateful to have become the preferred casual.
I would suggest that when starting out, volunteering is a great way to go, it gives you a feel for the culture and routine of the schools you would like to work in, and the more familiar your face, the more likely you are to be offered work.
The start of any term, but particularly term 1 is quite crazy! With new staff, new enrollments and often new principals, I would not suggest that the first few weeks of school are great to go visiting. By all means, send an email, or make a call to arrange a time that will be suitable for you to drop in your resume and perhaps meet with the staff member who is responsible for bookings. When you do drop in your resume you will need to include all of your relevant documentation, tax declarations, approval numbers, working with children, CPR, anaphylaxis etc, as well as a brief documentation of your experience. 2 pages maximum!!!!
The biggest tip I can offer is to be incredibly friendly to the staff in the office. They are often the first point of call in any school, and the Principal really values their first impressions so it is best to make them good ones. Dress appropriately, make a positive comment about something at the school you have noted and a little flattery will also go a long way!!!!
What about the new apps or automated services that are available to book relief teachers? Should casual relief teachers sign up?
I definitely recommend joining Class Cover, Tracer (Qld) or other booking agencies in your state/region as this is the current trend, which I think sadly is depersonalizing the process and making it incredibly challenging for Relief staff to get work. If you are registered take that phone off silent, and take it with you everywhere in the morning!! You don’t want to miss a call.
Start each day as if you are going to work, have some lunch organized, your clothes ready and your resource kits all set to go.