Writing a CV for Relief Teaching


It's the beginning of term 1, and for some of you that will mean preparing to start your first ever teaching role. For those of you who have yet to land a position, it's time to start investigating other options for employment. Relief teaching (also known as supply/substitute teaching) is one of these options, and while it can be a less stable source of income than a full time position, there are heaps of advantages for BTs looking for work. 

Relief teaching is an invaluable way to get to know yourself as a teacher. Going to numerous schools and centres allows you to figure out what kind of place you'd like to teach in - for example, you might find you prefer to work in low decile schools, or ECE centres with a play-based philosophy. It also shows you where your strengths are - you might find you get along really well with year 7/8 students, or have a knack for working with infants. We've even had a couple of primary teachers who've discovered their passion for ECE while relieving at centres. 

It's also a fantastic way to network for future job opportunities. Many teachers have won long term roles by becoming a school or centre's favourite reliever.

Do be aware, before you go quitting your long term job to go relieving, that term 1 is typically a very dry period for relief work. Unless you're an experienced, in demand reliever, you'd be very lucky to get enough relief days to pay your rent. (The relief season picks up in April and is full swing by May/June - winter weather means lots of sick teachers!)

However, term 1 is a great time to go out and get on the relieving lists for schools or centres in your area. 

Applying to go on a school or centre's relieving list is a much more casual process than applying for a long term role. You certainly don't need to write a cover letter to go on a relieving list and many schools and centres prefer a shortened version of your CV. 

To put together a relief CV, all you need to do is cut your CV to the bare essentials. You can still use the same formatting.  

Make sure you include: 

Your name

You're probably laughing right now, but some people do forget!

A photo

The idea behind having a photo on your CV is to make a fantastic impression when handing in your CV to the relief organiser. Later on when they're looking through a pile of CVs to find a reliever for the day they'll be able to match the photo on your CV to you and remember what a great impression you made!

Your contact details

This is probably the most important part! It sounds obvious, but if you don't put down your contact details, the school or centre won't be able to get in touch to offer you relief work. Put down any phone numbers you use, and indicate which number you'd prefer to be contacted on first. Putting down your address is also useful, as it lets the school or centre know how close you are and how long it will take you to travel there. An email address is also useful for any payroll-related things. 

Teacher registration information

This shows that you are a legitimate teacher. Include your registration number and expiry date so they can reference it quickly on the Teacher's Council website if necessary. It's also a good idea to keep your registration card on you when visiting schools or centres.


Again, listing your qualifications shows that you are legitimate. Include the dates you gained these qualifications and the institution you got them from. 

A short personal statement

Keep this to a few lines and include what subjects you can teach.

Brief summary of experience

Include a brief summary of your experience on practicum. Keep this to a few lines. List the names of schools and centres, and year levels taught. 


List two references that the relief organiser can call up. It is unlikely they'll complete a full reference, but it's good to have referees there for the relief organiser's piece of mind. Make sure at least one of these referees has seen you teach in case the RO wants to ask questions about your behaviour management. 

Handing in your CV to schools and centres

Do some research on the schools or centres in your area that you'd like to relieve for - and can realistically get to in the mornings with your chosen means of transportation. You can either call ahead to make an appointment with the relief organiser, or drop in. If you're going to drop in without an appointment, don't do it at home time when it's completely hectic - around 10am is a good time. Be presentable, friendly and polite, especially to the people working at the office. See if you can hand it in to 10-20 schools or centres (within reason) - the more opportunities to make a great first impression the better!

Applying to relieve for ECE franchises, kindergartens and recruitment agencies. 

If you're wanting to relieve at at a centre that is part of a large chain, check their website as the relief organising may be done by head office rather than the centre manager. The same goes for relieving at kindergartens - you'll need to get in touch with your local Kindergarten Association to get on their relieving list. 

If you want to relieve with a recruitment agency, you should check their website to see what you need to do to register with them. Make sure you follow the instructions, as most agencies deal with hundreds of CVs a day and your CV has a better chance of being seen if you send it to the right place. Follow up with a phone call if you haven't heard back from the agency. Send your full CV - especially if you want to go on their books for long term roles as well.

Relieving is a great adventure, all the best!

Are you planning on relieving in 2016?