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My perception is that a relief teacher is substitute teacher who continues teaching in the class till the end of the term, that means the previous teacher won't certainly come back, he is too ill tocome back. But if the previous teacher is going to back, then we cannot say the current teacher, is going to be called substitute teacher rather than relief.

  • See this Wikipedia article. – Helix Quar Apr 16 '14 at 15:57
  • @helix - Thanks for the comment. But my main concern is the use of the word relief . Why do not we use it instead of substitute in many contexts. – user5036 Apr 16 '14 at 16:26
  • many contexts Can you give more examples? – Helix Quar Apr 16 '14 at 16:35
  • @helix - a relief wirk mate? Relief is about temorary replacement ? Everyday replacement? Forever replacement? – user5036 Apr 16 '14 at 16:44
  • Relief teacher is a synonym for substitute teacher. It is used in Australia and New Zealand.As for the word "relief", there are for example , "relief workers", a person or group of people who replaces another when they have finished working for the day,eg"The next crew relief comes on duty at 9:00 o'clock." "The relief drivers ", or when they are sick. – Vic Apr 16 '14 at 19:18
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The difference is mainly a regional one, not a semantic one--like "elevator" versus "lift." You need to specify which dialect you're interested in.

In idiomatic American English, any teacher taking over another teacher's class on a temporary basis is called a substitute teacher. In the UK, I believe the most common term is supply teacher (but a native speaker of that dialect should feel free to correct me). Relief teacher seems to be an Australian idiom.

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