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  • Writer's picturejordenpearce

Relief teaching – Pros & Cons

In April 2023, I decided I needed a break from the commitments of a full-time teacher. I wasn’t quite sure where to go or what to do with myself so I decided to give casual teaching a shot. I applied for State, Catholic and also offered my services to the Independent school I already worked at full time. I was accepted within all settings.

So here are a few pros and cons for those curious beings…



1.       No additional workload – afternoons and weekends are yours.

2.       A 6 hour working day – short and sweet!

3.       Great pay rate (I was sitting at $93-$95 an hour – this is dependent on your experience and where you sit in levels and bands).

4.       Minimal marking – I still marked everything we did in the day but didn’t stay back if I didn’t get it finished – I would leave a note for the teacher explaining this.

5.       Planning is done for you! Most schools (catholic and independent particularly) had a thorough plan with hyperlinks to PowerPoints, worksheets, videos, etc ready to go, as well as detailed explanations of lesson outcomes and the procedure.

6.       You get to have fun with the students – no external stress factors in terms of getting assessment done, getting running records finished, catching up absent students.

7.       No stress to get the work finished – you do what you can do to the best of your ability of course but if there are things stopping this from being achieved and you leave a note to the teacher explaining this, they are very understanding.

8.       The students are excited to see you, as you are considered ‘fun’ in comparison to their poor stressed out teachers (we have all been there).

9.       The work you complete is usually revision work or busy work so it is quite ‘light’.

10.   There is PLENTY of work – I got called every day – I was knocking back work from schools regularly because at times I was receiving texts and calls from 4-5 schools.

11.   There are now platforms for both catholic and state systems so you can put in your availability and avoid unwanted calls – myHR (state) and Tap for Teacher (catholic). The catholic platform is brand new and wasn’t around until later last year, which is why I was receiving so many messages when I first started.

12.   You can choose which schools you would like to receive bookings from through the platforms utilised by the school systems.



1.       Your expectations may not be met – For me one of the hardest parts was walking into a room and having to accept work that I would not accept from my own students. Taking into account age-appropriate work samples of course, I know students were not completing their work to the best of their ability at times. You are limited to what you can say or do due to the fact you don’t have a relationship or knowledge of the students, their needs and their capabilities.

2.       Behaviour challenges – This one is quite well known! Students will ALWAYS test the boundaries when they see a relief teacher walking in. I am a firm and fair teacher, so I never had many problems. I also did a lot of work within one school so I started to form relationships with the students across the school which was helpful. It is very hard to manage a class when you don’t even know their names.

3.       Uncertainty of where you will be – I am a routine girl! I found it somewhat challenging on the days where I was not pre-booked and didn’t know where I would be going the next day. I was fortunate to have been pre-booked most of the time.

4.       No holiday pay – this was probably another one of the most challenging  parts for me. As you know, the more money you make, the more money you spend. On top of that, I brought a house with my partner and most of my savings went towards a house deposit during this time. Not being paid over the holidays was quite stressful; however, if you did it right and saved more during the term, it is definitely manageable.

5.       PD opportunities – You do not have access to doing professional development with your colleagues on pupil free days as a relief teacher which can make it that little more challenging to get those 20 hours up to maintain registration. Through the catholic system, you get paid to do the mandatory training online. You are paid for 5/6 hours which is a great incentive to start! Further, if you find yourself forming a relationship with one school in particular, you can always ask leadership if you could join them on their pupil free days or their staff meetings. There are also free PD opportunities which you can access if you sign up to certain platforms. There is a QLD relief teaching page on Facebook and I am sure these exist for other states, where teachers may also post some free PD opportunities.


I hope this is helpful for those considering relief teaching. It is truly worth a try if you are struggling with the workload involved in full time teaching. It promotes a balanced lifestyle, whilst still giving you the opportunity to do what you love. I can’t explain what a relief it was to be able to walk in at 8.10am and walk out at 3pm (depending on what time the school I was working at finished) and not have a care in the world about any further work-related responsibilities.


Much love,


Jords xx  

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