Return to teaching: our top tips

If you’re looking to return to teaching you may be wondering where to start. No matter what stage you’re at, supply teaching can be a great way to regain confidence in the classroom.

Perhaps you’re a qualified teacher who took a few years out to go travelling, or maybe you took a longer hiatus to pursue other career avenues before realising teaching is where your passion lies.

Whatever your reason for leaving teaching, one thing’s for sure: the industry will welcome you back with open arms.

Schools are crying out for more teachers, especially teachers with experience already behind them so, if that’s you and you’re wondering where to turn next, we’ve got some top tips to help you return to teaching.

How to return to teaching

Every year thousands of trained teachers leave the profession, be that to retire or change career.

Whatever a teacher’s reason for leaving a school, if you’ve got a burning desire to get back into teaching, there are a few things that will help you.

Play catch up

Whether you’ve been out of teaching for one year or 10, things change quickly, as with any industry but especially in teaching, so the first thing to do is brush up on your knowledge.

Make sure you’re up to date with the latest version of the National Curriculum or your local syllabuses, whichever applies to you.

In addition, update yourself with any recent changes in education by registering for Department for Education newsletters, as well as reviewing the latest teachers’ standards.

Not only does this this help your professional knowledge when you return to the classroom but it also helps you feel more confident when applying for new roles.

Finally, it’s well worth speaking to fellow teachers to find out their experiences of what’s changed since you’ve been away. Perhaps you’re still in touch with an ex-colleague or have other friends who are teachers – speak to them to see what they think you should be swotting up on, and use them as a sounding board for any concerns you may have.

Treat your break as experience

Take time to think about the skills, experience and knowledge you may have gained since leaving teaching, and how you could apply this in a new role.

As well as this, be open and honest about why you left teaching, and why you want to return now. Explain your reasoning, and why your passion for teaching has led you back to the industry.

Don’t feel that, because you’ve had a break, you’re starting from scratch. Remember the successes you had as a teacher previously, including any projects you worked on at your last school and why they worked so well.

All this helps to regain the confidence you had as a teacher previously, and go into a new role feeling energised and refreshed.

Consider a refresher course

If you’ve done all the above and still feel like you’re lacking a little confidence, you could consider doing a refresher course before looking for a teaching role.

There are some great resources on the Get Into Teaching site which may help steer you in the right direction.

Supply roles for people looking to return to teaching

Here at Exeter Supply Partnership, we find many people looking to return to teaching opt for supply roles as they offer greater flexibility and a good way of easing yourself back in after a break.

Supply teaching is the perfect way to dip your toe back into the world of teaching, especially if one of the reasons you left was wanting more time for yourself or to spend with your family.

Opting for a supply role allows you to choose more varied positions as you move from school to school, as well as have greater control over your career.

By signing up with a supply agency like Exeter Supply Partnership you’ll be taking the first step towards your return to teaching.

We offer:

  • Great links with primary schools in Exeter, Okehampton, East Devon, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Tiverton and Cullompton
  • Excellent rates of pay
  • A CPD programme offering professional development
  • A well-established path into permanent contracts, should you wish to go down this route in future
  • An experienced team behind you at all times

If you think supply teaching could be for you, we’d love you to join our supply team. Simply reach out to us either by filling out the form on our website, or email us at for more information.