Regardless of experience, taking a position in a new school can be overwhelming for any educator. In order to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible, it’s important to put measures in place to help make the new teacher feel welcome and included. Such steps could include:
Establishing a mentoring program
If you’ve got veteran teachers in the building, try having them serve as mentors to newbies who are trying to get settled. Just knowing that they have someone to turn to with questions or concerns is often a huge relief for a new educator, who may be feeling totally overwhelmed.
Don’t forget the basics
It may seem like second nature, but taking time to go over the very basics of your school (Where is the bathroom? How about the cafeteria?) can help to prevent your new hire from feeling like they’ve stepped off the plane in a foreign country without knowing the language. Talk to them about how your school handles early dismissals, and clue them in on some of the cultural quirks that exist within the institution. Is there slang that they should know? What about abbreviations or acronyms? Even these tiny details can make the transition much easier to navigate.
Keep lines of communication open
New teachers need resources, and should feel like they have a support system to lean on should they require assistance. Talk to your new hires about where they can go if they need help. Is there information online that they may find useful? How about handbooks or other materials? If you don’t have a mentoring program in place, are there certain teachers who know the ropes and would be willing to chat if necessary? Providing this kind of information can help a new teacher to feel significantly less lost.
Lastly, it’s important to check in on new teachers regularly. The school day is busy and flies by, and it’s easy to let a new hire get swept away in the rush of the day. But make it a point to check in, answer any questions that may have come up, and provide reassurance and support. This is extremely helpful, particularly for someone who may not have much experience in the field.
What do you do to help new teachers get comfortable? Let us know in the comments!