Sunday, August 8, 2010

New Kids on the Block

Well, only a few days until we start back - to meetings that is...This year our school will have several new teachers joining our staff. Although I don't know much about them yet, I imagine that some will be 'baby' teachers (brand new to our profession), some will be transfers from within District and others may be new to our state.

Make your newbies welcome - ask how they're doing on a regular basis, offer help when they need it, and let them know when they're doing well. Although it was a long time ago, I still remember what it was like to be the new kid on the block..."Where is the...", "How do I find...", "I can't get this to work. Can you help?" Sometimes I didn't even know enough to know what to ask! Just watch for that 'deer in the headlights' look - that's your cue to step up and lend a hand. Sometimes all they need is a shoulder to lean on or a listening ear.

If you are one of those newbies, know that we've all have been where you are now. We don't expect you to know everything. We do expect you to let us know if you need/want something. We expect you to be open to new ideas and the ways of our building. During your first year watch, listen and share. Be cautious when sharing with us how you've done something previously - by all means please share successful methods that you've used in the past but do it respectfully, not as a know-it-all.

As an art teacher, it's important to establish a relationship with each of your classroom teachers for the benefit of your students. Those teachers will be a wealth of knowledge for you when you're experiencing difficulties / successes with your kids. They should have the most recent & accurate phone numbers for Mom and Dad, particulars on the family situation (divorced, step parents, siblings, etc) and behavior techniques that you can reinforce in your room if they are not responding to your cues. Be sure and relay your concerns with them on a regular basis.

Once you've been around a while like I have, the knowledge can flow in reverse to those new teachers who don't have the life history of their kids like you do - who missed a month of school last May because of an appendectomy, whose sibling died in a car crash over the summer, or whose parent was arrested & jailed for domestic violence. Not to mention the student whose one saving grace in school is his/her art talent or musical ability or sports prowess. Those 'pieces of the puzzle' are often absent from permanent record files and are priceless bits of information to understanding the whole student.

Good luck on your first week!

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