There are more ways to find relief teaching vacancies than just covering illnesses. Schools have a variety of funding sources from which they can draw. Using some of these funds can be a school based decision. Some not. Finding Relief Teaching vacancies is relevant to most schools but you need to know how to use it.
Education departments from all state have very generous leave provisions for staff. From maternity leave, paternity leave, family leave, sick leave, stress leave, leave without pay - leave for this and that.
While a staff member is on approved leave there is the expectation that a position will be available for when they return. Hence a contract or relief teaching position opens up. A relief teacher is needed - YOU (or I should say US!).
What makes this terribly unfair to the relief teacher is that sometimes a staff member can be away for an extended period of time. Take maternity leave for example. Teachers can take 7 years for maternity leave for the birth of EACH child. If sometime during the leave period, the teacher has another child the leave can be extended for another 7 years So a relief teacher is needed to fill the vacancy held for that staff member for when he/she returns.
However, the relief teacher may not be made permanent because a vacancy must be held for the teacher on leave. I am not being critical. It just is a generous leave provision. Sometimes the HR department accepts the risk and fills the vacancy. Often the person relief teaching IN THAT POSITION may be offered a permanent job.
There is normally a vacancy caused by natural attrition during that time anyway so when the teacher on leave returns there is a job available.
PD funds for schools come and go. Sometime it is a FEAST. Sometimes it is a FAMINE. The pendulum swings between those two. When PD is around there is a great demand for relief teachers. Sometimes a school might take their whole staff out. I have been in a situation where our whole district was asked to do PD at the same time. Relief teaching positions were critically short. The search was far and wide to find suitable relief teachers. Schools try to spread these out but generally there are more PD opportunities in the first half of the school year. Not always, but usually.
The government believes that you throw money at a problem to solve it. There have been many projects over the years and there will be many more in the future, such is the government mentality. So currently schools receive special funding for NAPLAN, Project 600, Learning Support, Kids in Care. Each of these projects has a staffing component so relief teaching vacancies occur. I have been lucky enough to be involved in many of these short-term projects which makes a change from days in the classroom.
You have critical decisions to determine what type of relief teacher you want to be. You can of course make no decision and just go with the flow and accept anything and everything that is offered. However, unless you keep your relief teaching resources in a semi-trailer, you probably need to decide your relief teaching parameters.
Relief Teaching is in big demand in some schools. There are many areas, like where I live, where there are simply not enough relief teachers to fill the relief teaching vacancies. So there are many relief teachers who select the school for which they will be available and reject others. If you limit your availability, there are advantages and disadvantages you need to consider. Advantages.
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