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Relief Teacher Skills: Examples and How to Improve Them

Relief teachers provide and maintain an educational atmosphere and ensure learning continues when primary educators take some time off for personal or professional reasons. When you work as a relief teacher, it helps you prepare for a full-time teaching position.

Why are relief teacher skills important?

Relief teacher skills are important for engaging and teaching students. These skills help relief teachers impart knowledge and develop the overall personality of their students. To become a successful relief teacher, Schools prefer teachers who are excellent communicators and critical thinkers. For imparting knowledge and building a connection with students, these professionals require patience, organisation and creativity. The passion for helping students achieve success is often an integral aspect of teaching. These teachers might apply instructional techniques and behavioural management to work during the absence of the full-time teacher.

14 examples of relief teacher skills

Here are a few essential skills that can help you impart knowledge and make the learning experience more rewarding:

  1. Classroom management

Managing a classroom to ensure a productive environment is a key part of a relief teacher’s role. Effective classroom management techniques require an educator to have patience, awareness and good timing. Classroom management skill allows a teacher to keep students organised, focused, attentive, academically productive and orderly. This skill set helps relief teachers overcome workplace challenges they might face in an unfamiliar environment. The ability to set a positive expectation for students is essential for creating an environment where students can learn.

  1. Time management

As a relief teacher, you rotate between schools and year levels. Managing such a tight schedule while ensuring you don’t miss out on anything requires excellent time management skills. While you plan certain parts of the job role, you often receive work requirements the same morning or the day. With solid time management skills, you can enhance productivity and ensure you perform your duties to perfection.

  1. Organisation and planning

The ability to continue the lesson from where a full-time teacher left the classroom requires excellent organisational and planning abilities. Organised teachers have whiteboards, pens and paper in easily accessible places. Also, when working as a relief teacher, you use good planning to teach from the notes of other teachers.

  1. Confidence

A relief teacher who walks in the classroom with confidence imparts quality education. Schools prefer candidates who can lead and manage a new classroom. Showing confidence helps these reliefs gain the confidence and trust of other teachers and students. Also, confident teachers show students they can rely on the new teacher.

  1. Adaptability

As this job requires an individual to work in a new school and setting, employers prefer candidates who easily adapt to the changing work environment. The flexibility to adapt to the changing work environment and the ability to respond to chaotic situations can result in a fulfilling career.

  1. Passion

Schools prefer teachers who’re passionate and knowledgeable about the subject they’re teaching. This skill set shows students that the educator cares about the student’s success and experience. When a teacher is passionate, they show more commitment toward a student’s growth. When evaluating a potential relief teacher, employers look for teachers who show an interest in engaging students.

  1. Problem-solving

A relief teacher overcomes multiple challenges to perform their job and complete all work-related duties. Solving everyday work problems is an essential skill for a relief teacher to develop.

  1. Interpersonal skills

Being friendly with administrative staff and other teachers improves your chances of getting hired for the same relief teaching job again. For building trust among students, relief teachers use their interpersonal skills to interact with students. These professionals use their communication and active listening skills to present classroom lessons and keep students engaged. Also, employers typically prefer candidates who help students adjust to the new teaching environment.

  1. Presentation abilities

A relief teacher uses public speaking skills and presentation abilities to explain tasks to students and teach to lesson plans. The ability to speak in a clear voice using appropriate volume and maintaining eye contact helps them present their ideas to students. This skill set allows them to maintain the classroom’s attention throughout the instructional period.

  1. Commitment

Commitment is another valuable skill for a relief teacher. Even though these professionals teach for a short duration, commitment to teaching students for an extended period is essential. The ability to understand the requirement of every student and help them achieve their maximum potential requires commitment. Possessing this trait can help you become an effective relief teacher.

  1. Genuine care for students

Establishing a genuine relationship with students prepares you for an optimistic and supportive learning environment. As students learn from the teacher’s actions, showing genuine care imparts positive behaviour in students. Being kind and actively listening to students’ concerns are a few ways of imparting good behaviour. This can help in capturing students’ attention.

  1. Critical thinking skills

As you might teach students various subjects, you require excellent critical thinking skills to guide students through tasks that you might not have prior knowledge about. This skill set helps a relief teacher adapt to various lesson plans. Using their critical thinking skills, these professionals guide students on how to achieve success in their academic and personal life.

  1. Conflict resolution

Being able to handle conflicts in the classroom is one of the major responsibilities of a relief teacher. Noticing conflicts at the early stages is an essential to mitigate and stop classroom conflicts. Using this skill set, teachers create an agreement between all parties.

  1. Discipline

Learning to manage and handle disruptive students is one of the most challenging aspects of becoming a relief teacher. Having prior knowledge about the school’s code of conduct helps you maintain discipline in the classroom. You can improve this skill set with experience.


How to improve the skills of a relief teacher

To improve your skills as a relief teacher, it’s essential to stay on top of your training and keep up with the latest teaching methodologies. This could mean keeping up with the teaching techniques or taking courses to sharpen your teaching skills. Members of the IEU have access to a wide range of online and in-house professional learning at no cost.

Follow these steps to enhance your teaching skills.

  1. Practise your lesson plan

To improve your skills, practise your lesson plan regularly. Lesson plans that are flexible and adaptable ensure proper flow in the class. Focus on using the latest research methods that motivate and inspire students to learn. Regularly practising your lesson plans helps with effective classroom management and student engagement.

  1. Prepare for the day

Every day might differ from the previous day. So, prepare for the day in advance. Keep the required stationery, such as books, reading materials and stationery. Familiarise yourself with the school and the classroom.

  1. Work on your communication

Even relief teaching involves interacting and speaking with the students to impart knowledge. The ability to speak confidently helps you to explain a concept. Also, excellent communication helps you present a topic clearly and engage the students.

  1. Create a backup plan

While most full-time teachers have a plan for relief teachers to follow, there might be situations where it’s essential to come prepared with your backup plan. For instance, the teacher whose position you’re temporarily filling might not have created a lesson plan, or you might have some extra minutes to fill in the classroom. Effective relief teachers have additional activities or games planned for students to participate and engage. This enhances your confidence and ensures better classroom management.

  1. Learn to organise things

For imparting quality education, it’s essential to keep the classroom organised. So, organise your classroom such that everything is easily available when you need it. You improve your organisational skills by trying different organisational methods at home.

IEU Membership for relief teachers gives you the support you need

Given the variation of schools and classes relief teachers encounter, membership of the IEU gives you vital support not just for FREE professional learning, it enables you to contact our school Organisers to ascertain which might suit you best and to receive advice on contract and salary matters. If you have any questions contact our office: 8410 0122 or

If you know a relief teacher that is not a member of the IEU, forward this article to them and suggest they join online today




Indeed Editorial Team