Schools School induction – setting new teachers up for success
My first placement was not a disaster, but it wasn’t great. I put hours into planning and over-engineering resources, anticipating a resounding “Eureka!” from the class as they proclaimed their renewed love of education.
I thought it was going to be a lesson for the ages but, in hindsight, it was unremarkable. The students were indifferent.
My mentor, an immensely talented educator and unionist, pointed out that I was still new to them. I had not yet set expectations about the classroom culture I aimed to cultivate. The students understood the task, but not their role in making it work.
When I graduated and led my first class as a fully qualified teacher, I made time for this discussion. As a class, we clarified goals, shared our hopes and our concerns – together, we set the tone. While still no one shouted “Eureka!”, they came as close as one could expect from a bunch of Year 10s.
In the first case, I went in blind. In the second, I took the time to build a solid foundation.
As a graduate, my school also took the time to build this foundation with me. I met with my mentor and my AEU sub-branch rep. I was welcomed into the school community, building trusting relationships with my colleagues and sharing in the school’s vision. I knew what to do and where to turn.
Those first few weeks set me up for success.
It’s a good time for all schools to start considering their induction process. Induction is about introducing staff to their role, school processes and culture. This is especially important for graduates and early-career teachers – those who stand to benefit the most from the support offered by the school and by their union.
Existing teachers should meet to discuss induction; ensure that a sub-branch rep is involved so that new staff can learn about the role of their union, their right to join, and their entitlements; and think about who can meet with new staff and offer support in a way that suits your school.
Graduates, your colleagues have got your back. If you would like further support or to be part of the New Educators Network, get in touch with me at [email protected].
Ours is a profession that relies on working together towards a shared goal. Induction is where this goal is outlined and where solidarity starts. Set yourself and your colleagues up for success and we all win.