I wish I could say that I think that we have always welcomed new employeees with the warmth and enthusiasm that I’ve received from ISD. I could, but I would not be being very truthful.
It’s not even March, we are moving in August and I already have a great ‘buddy’ at school who shares information about work and everyday living, an e-mail address at the new school which also allows me to receive staff information for this year and access their online materials, and there is a New Hire web-bulletin board with all kinds of information about classrooms, school, daily life, etc. They have a welcoming committee.
As I talked about with a friend this week, we determined it’s certainly in the school’s best interest to be welcoming and helpful and my new school has certainly made us newbies feel like very welcome additions to their faculty. By providing information, it allows me time to process, digest, ask questions and continue to get excited. All before I am even being paid by them. What school wouldn’t want that?
Even though our school has always had an orientation in August (a one day affair usually focused on getting paperwork filled out), things like getting new employees ID badges, e-mail accounts, staff directories or keys to their classroom, much less curricular materials could be an agonizingly slow process. My first year there weren’t desks and chairs OR math textbooks until well into the third week of school. I know this is not particular to one school district. I’ve had friends in other districts tell me they cried on the way home everyday their first year because no one would really interact with them. That’s just crazy!
I’m not writing this as a critical piece, but more as a reflection on how perhaps we should be more intentional about the welcoming of new staff (not that we will probably have any for several years with the way the state education budget is). Teaching is a hard job and it’s especially hard your first year in a new district, new grade level, new building, etc. There are things like mentors and such built into most districts and now Resident Educator program is a requirement for all entering teachers as part of the licensing program. That is a good step in the right direction, but I’m talking about more than just the newbie’s mentor who has their own classroom as well. Why don’t we hand over the curriculum as soon as we hire the new teachers so they can spend the summer familiarizing themselves with it? Why haven’t we had a welcoming committee?
What are some things your school does to welcome new staff members?
What are some things you wish your school did to welcome or support new staff members?