Teaching Tips

5 handy dandy relief teaching tips

Special request blog created by an amazing teacher from the perspective of being a relief teacher!


Being a relief teacher is hard, we commend anyone who does it. It’s a tough gig, but it can also be lots of fun! I (Georgia) spent the majority of Term 4 of 2017 as a relief teacher. I moved around A LOT throughout the school, sometimes through many different year levels in the one day. I found this to be very exciting as I could get a taste for all the different year levels, working out which ones I liked best haha. But I also found it extremely difficult as I had to work out what I should teach for all these different year levels, while also completing all my duties for the day (now that sucked!)
Sometimes as a relief teacher you will find that the classroom teacher has left work for you to complete with the students, which is great! However with busy schedules and grubby little hands making everyone sick, that sometimes isn’t the case and you need to figure out exactly what you should teach and where they are up to. OR sometimes the lesson that was left is not really going to plan and you need a quick replacement activity FAST!
I can relate to how hard and sometimes frustrating this can be.
As I move onto having my own classroom next year, I though I’d share my top 5 tips for being a relief teacher to help you get through the day in one piece. So here they are!


1. Plan 3 main activities (1 Literacy, 1 numeracy and 1 PE) that could work or be adapted to any grade level.

I found that it was exhausting and really hard work to plan 5 solid activities for every grade level, especially as a new teacher who hasn’t quite built up a bank of activities yet. Having a set of 3 core, but adaptable, activities allowed me to use them with whatever grades I was placed with that day. Each of the activities I chose were relatable and transferrable to one another. For example, If I was doing a punctuation lesson with my students around the different punctuation marks they could use for different sentences. I could then transfer this into an art lesson, asking the students to use the punctuation marks they had learnt to create an art piece.

Take a look at our TPT page and our Pinterest to gather some resources!


Pinterest is a constant source of amazing relief teaching ideas! Having it handy helped a lot when things weren’t going to plan and at lunch time I had to quickly find a new activity. Pinterest helped me to also find other bloggers who showcased their amazing ideas and strategies. This was particularly helpful for me when I needed some behavioural strategies to have on hand.
Melinda and I have also created our own Pinterest to help out relief teachers and classroom teachers with ideas for specific learning areas. Come take a look and follow us!


3. Be flexible.
During my term as a relief teacher, things often changed with little notice. One minute I was on a Kindergarten class teaching maths and the next lesson I was in year 5 teaching PE. With this fast changing environment I had to be on my feet and constantly okay with change. This can sometimes be a hard thing to deal with, especially when you have an activity you really want to do but it isn’t catered to the year level you have been placed on.
So my advice is to be flexible. Have resources that are adaptable to different grades, but aren’t too easy that they will get them done in 5 minutes. Have a bank of resources that you can use and keep them in a binder ready for the day so you can be somewhat prepared.

4. Build your resources and keep them organised. 
As the saying goes, don’t reinvent the wheel! Most classroom teachers are happy to share their resources with you. If you see an activity you like being taught, ask if you can get a copy of it. This is an excellent way for you to build your resources with activities that are tried and tested for that year level.
Place them all together in a binder, organised into year levels so that you’ll always be ready!!
Check out our relief teacher binder specifically for YOU!

5. Behaviour management is KEY!
Just because you aren’t their usual classroom teacher doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the same level of respect! Before you go into the classroom know who are are as a teacher and DO NOT BUDGE! What do you expect from them and what can they expect from you. Have some strategies on hand too, this will help you out when (and it does happen) faced with some trying students.
Check out some of our ideas for behaviour management strategies, these can also be found on our TPT and are included in our relief teaching binder!

Mel and I have also created some resources for different grade levels to help out relief teachers, giving you some fun and engaging activities you can grab and teach on the go easily!

These resources can be found on Mel’s TPT store (P.S Don’t forget to follow):

Relief Teacher Binder

– Math Resources:


– English Resources:


Love Georgiaxx

I am a new educator in my second year of teaching. I have worked with children for five years prior to this in an after school care. I absolutely love teaching and the importance of this career. I believe that every student should be immersed in a safe, supportive, calm environment to aid them in achieving the best outcomes they possibly can!

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