How do I get employed as a TRT (Temporary Relief Teacher)?

At first getting a TRT job is not always easy – until you get known by schools.

For Department, Catholic and Independent Schools the obvious way is to introduce yourself to individual schools.
Send emails to introduce yourselves to schools, but keep in mind schools get lots of these emails so it is worth targeting some schools and visiting them in person. You may not get to meet the director but make sure you have introduced yourself to the front office and leave some information about yourself with them.

Schools and preschools look for people who are on time, excited about working with their students and who can manage behaviour with a new group of learners.

You might start with schools or preschool where you did your practicum placements – you will already know some people there.
For Department schools you can also join a TRT scheme which is a pool of available teachers. For Catholic Schools you can search for both TRT and contract positions on their website.

Building your professional profile

The question every preschool director and principal has when selecting a TRT is; “Why would I choose this one?”.

A number of factors come into play the main ones being:

  • Can this person control the class?
  • Can they provide some good learning and where possible continue the teacher’s program?
  • Are they prepared to take on yard duty and the other daily tasks that go with the job?
  • What differentiates this person from the others who are available?

The last one is important – what makes you stand out from the crowd when there are lots of TRTs available.
One is – build a relationship with the preschool or school, the learners and the other educators. If the leaders think you fit in well with the learners and staff, you are getting near to the front of the line.

Another is how up to date and professional are you?

It helps greatly if you are up to date with what’s happening in the preschool and school world. What are their priorities and what is important to them? What are the major curriculum initiatives they and their systems are addressing? This is all about keeping up to date.

Keep up to date

  1. Check out the preschool or school’s website before you go there. What can you tell about what’s important to them? What are their priorities for learning? What are they celebrating in their newsletters? Going into a site and being able to talk about and connect with what is important to them, is a big step in forming a longer-term relationship.
  2. Know what is happening in the world of curriculum? Don’t assume you learnt it all at Uni – the education world changes very quickly. The best way is to join one or more professional associations. Many are free or have reduced rates for TRTs and preservice teachers. Grab this opportunity while you can and you gain access to resources, networks and professional learning.


  • Have a backpack of activities that work and that learners love. Check out our resources section for lots of ideas. This backpack gets you started and is useful when you don’t know the learners and when you haven’t been left a program to teach.
  • Have a behaviour management strategy. Check out the behaviour section of the Hub for great ideas for surviving the first day.