First Time Teaching at a School Help for The Substitute Teacher
Your first day in any new environment can be confusing. That’s why in the business world many companies provide orientation sessions and assign a coworker to guide any new person through the day. Unfortunately, in education, although you may attend a sub orientation, you’ll rarely, if ever, have a mentor or coworker to help you. You arrive for your first day at a school, and you’re expected to know your way around the building, to be familiar with local rules and regulations, and to magically adapt to the idiosyncrasies of faculty and staff—a tall order to be sure!
There are, however, some concrete things you can do to avoid problems that will arise because of your unfamiliarity with a new environment. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the ways that you can make your first day easier.
Is There Anything I Can do Before My First Assignment at the School?
Most schools have websites that contain useful information about the school and its people. If you have time, be sure to visit the website. You can familiarize yourself with the school layout, get driving directions if you need them, learn the names of administrators and staff, and get a general feel for the school itself. None of this will make you an expert, but it will help you to acclimate yourself more quickly when you do arrive.
What Should I do When I Walk Through the Front Door?
Try to arrive early and introduce yourself to the contact person in the office. A cheerful demeanor is very important. You’re an outsider; it’s up to you to establish rapport.
The people in the front office can be your best allies or your worst nightmare. You may need them for assistance throughout the day, so it’s important to get them on your side. To do this, make an effort to learn each of their names, and then use their names throughout the day. Smile a lot, defer to their suggestions whenever possible, be apologetic if you ask for assistance, and never, ever project a master-servant attitude. If you plan to sub at a number of different schools, write down the names of office staff at each school and review the list before your day begins.
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