Many teachers will be taking their first step into the exciting and unpredictable world of casual relief teaching this year. Initially it can be a daunting experience and you should expect the unexpected but there are things that you can do to prepare that will make your life a lot easier until casual relief teaching becomes the norm.  

Pack a bag the night before!
You never know what time you may get a call in the morning. Some schools won’t know about an absence until 8am or later and you’ll need to move quickly. Have a bag prepared the night before that caters for everything!
Suggested contents:

Pens – have some different coloured pens you can use to mark work as well as write on the board

USB Stick – this can have resources loaded that you can use as well as links to videos that you can show to your different classes

Resource folder – have some worksheets printed off that can be used for literacy and maths that can be used or differentiated for any age group

Cards, games, balls – these resources can be used to get to know names, reward students and break up the day

Book – have a book that you know inside out that you can read to the students. You can then create age-appropriate tasks from a passage of the book

Hat – if you’re working a primary school, you’ll need one of these for your yard duty in terms one and four

Research the school

If you are booked in advance or have extra time to prepare, look up the school’s website or on . This will give you extra information about the school that you can use to better prepare you for the day.

Arrive at the school early

If you have the opportunity, arrive as early as you can. This will give you time to find a parking space as well as familiarising yourself with the layout of the school. Any questions you may have, can be answered and you’ll be ready for the children you’ll be teaching. Getting there early also gives you a chance to thoroughly understand the lesson plan. Every teachers wants the replacement educator to follow this and it’s imperative that you do that as their plans for the next days will follow-on from this.

Be confident in your behaviour management strategies.

You need to know your strategies and be thorough with them. If a school has a policy of their own, we suggest using that for consistency, but if not, ensure you set expectations early and stick to these throughout the day. You could even have these written on a large piece of paper that you stick to the wall of the classroom and you can refer back to this. For more behaviour management tips check out this in-depth Behaviour Management Guide.

Be flexible!

You may be expecting to teach a grade 2 class, but anything can happen in schools. You may suddenly be required to teach a performing arts lesson, so ensure you are adaptable and go into the school in a positive frame of mind and be prepared for anything!

Show initiative

Sometimes the lesson plan may have gaps or there may be work you cannot access. You can use the main contact at the school as a resource but they will often be extremely busy so think on your feet and adapt the lesson plan accordingly.


You’ll be a natural at casual relief teaching in no time and you won’t even think twice about going into a new school and teaching a year level you’ve never taught before, but by being prepared initially you will give yourself the best chance of success. If you have any other ideas that you use to prepare for CRT, please let us know in the comments section below.