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So, You Want to Be a Relief Teacher in New Zealand?

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Whether you’re a new graduate or an experienced teacher looking for a change of pace, relief teaching can be a great option. It’s an opportunity to work in a variety of different schools and with different students, and it can be a great way to see the country. Plus, you get all the joys of being a teacher without the pressure of having to plan lessons and manage a class all year long!


relief teacher classroom


What is a Relief Teacher?


The primary responsibility of a Relief teacher is to provide continuity of learning for students in the event that their regular teacher is absent. This means that they will need to be prepared to teach at short notice and be able to quickly adapt to different situations. Being a good relief teacher requires excellent time management skills, as well as the ability to think on your feet.

A Relief Teacher will also need to have a strong understanding of the New Zealand curriculum, as well as the relevant assessment tools. In addition, it is important that you are able to establish positive relationships with both students and staff. The better the relationships you have, the better chance you will have of providing quality teaching and learning experiences for students.


How to become a Relief Teacher


If you are interested in becoming a relief teacher, there are a few things you will need to do. First, you will need to check with your local education authority to see if they have any specific requirements for relief teachers. Once you have done this, you will need to complete an application form and submit it along with your CV.

For New Zealand, your best source on information about what sort of qualifications you’ll need to acquire before relief teaching is found on the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand’s website.

It is also worth noting that most schools will require you to complete a police check before they allow you into their classrooms. This is standard procedure in New Zealand and helps to ensure the safety of both students and staff. For more information on acquiring a police check, please check the New Zealand Ministry of Justice’ website.


What does it take to be a Relief Teacher?


relief teacher


You’ll need to be flexible.


One of the most important qualities for any relief teacher is flexibility. Things can change at the last minute, and you’ll need to be able to roll with the punches. That might mean being asked to teach a completely different subject than the one you’re prepared for, or working with a class that has very different needs than the one you had originally been assigned. Whatever the case may be, always remember that flexibility is key.


You’ll need to be organized.


Another important quality for any relief teacher is organization. Often, you’ll only have a few minutes to look over the lesson plans before taking over a class, so it’s crucial that you know where everything is and that you’re able to find it quickly. That means having a well-organized lesson plan book, as well as any materials you might need for the day’s lessons (worksheets, textbooks, etc.) close at hand.


You’ll need to be able to think on your feet.


There’s simply no getting around it—as a relief teacher, you’ll need to be able to think on your feet. Sometimes things won’t go according to plan, and you’ll need to come up with an alternative quickly. Other times, students will have questions that you didn’t expect, and you’ll need to be able to answer them confidently (even if you don’t actually know the answer!). In any case, being able to think quickly and solve problems on the fly is an essential skill for any relief teacher.


You’ll need patience…lots of patience!


If there’s one thing every relief teacher needs, it’s patience—and lots of it! Dealing with 30 rowdy kids (or more!) who are used to having a regular teacher can be trying at best and impossible at worst. But as long as you can keep your cool and maintain some semblance of order in the classroom, chances are things will go just fine. Remember, the students are just as stressed out by the situation as you are!


Gain experience while studying!


If you’re currently studying to gain your teaching qualifications, relief teaching can be both challenging and rewarding. You’ll be able to gain hands on experience in the industry by engaging in these types of relief teaching roles. Relief teaching is a fantastic CV buffer and gives you desirable first-hand experience in the industry that all potential employers will value highly.

If you are thinking of becoming a relief teacher in New Zealand, our team of education recruitment specialists can help you find an opportunity today!

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