A Supply Teacher’s Toolkit – Resilience

Picture the scene: you’ve had the call, you’re off to the school on supply, you’ve heard about it. You’ve had other calls, other schools, places you’d prefer to be, but today you’re out of luck, today you’ve picked the short straw, you’d like to say no but there’s a gas bill looming and food to buy. So what do you do?

Inside your supply tool kit is probably lots of what you’d expect in the supply teacher’s pencil case of life, but perhaps the biggest thing that can get you through a difficult day, a worrying class, an end of day staff meeting is the great secret elixir of life: resilience.

Resilience is known to some people by another name; luck. This idea that some people are born lucky, do better, get it easier can be true perhaps if you were born into the family of Lord and Lady Rich from Moneyville, but if you level up the playing field and start everyone at the same line at the same time you will see how resilience plays a much greater role than we give it credit for.

When you start the race of life, some folk aim to get to the finish line quickly, and they are only interested in winning the race. Winning would mean triumph and trophies and that is it. Others know they won’t win, but perhaps they will enjoy the race, get a thrill from the chase, take on the scenery and know that they will have a marvelous cup of tea at the end of it all. Then there will be those who want to win and don’t, who proclaim themselves losers, unlucky, and show their envy like a badge.

True winners in the daily grind are those who show resilience, those who are adaptable, who face adversity and tell themselves a slightly different story than the story those who beat themselves with a stick and proclaim to be unlucky. The old adage that every cloud has a silver lining is true, but are you resilient or adaptable enough to seek your silver lining when the chips are down?

Some people say that looking on the bright side of things all of the time isn’t being realistic, but what if their reality is just a bit brighter? Resilience in difficult situations allows you to learn lessons, get perspective and move forward, with a tool kit built to manage the next difficult situation.

The Good News

The good news is resilience isn’t something you’ve either got or you haven’t, it’s something you can build. You wouldn’t enter a classroom of 5 year olds and expect them to know their times table, or take an A level, in the same way that you wouldn’t expect someone who isn’t very resilient to change over night. So here are some steps you can take so that you can build your resilience and have an effective tool kit:

  • after a tough day think about what you know now that you didn’t know before, something of use that you can use again.
  • what could you do differently to make things a bit better next time (this is a foundation of your toolkit build)
  • what went better than expected?
  • give yourself credit for doing something you found difficult.
  • most importantly you must write down one thing each day that you really enjoyed, that you are grateful for, be that kind words from a colleague, a dry day or a fantastic cup of tea!

This is not to say that you can’t acknowledge the difficult, but the sentence didn’t end there, your story is not finished. There is much to learn if you can see past the difficult to the lessons you can take away to hold for next time, because life is a constant lesson and you are the teachers, just remember to keep learning yourself.


By Resident Writer Helen Bradford