Summer time for teachers signals the end of one year and the beginning of another. Perhaps you've decided to transfer or shift to another position in your current school. What a fantastic leap of faith you've made, congratulations! You are about to experience a new normal and anxiety could be your new best friend. Let's take a look at how, with a few guidelines, you can enter the unknown with happy anticipation.
Give yourself time to become part of the established department or school faculty.
Give yourself time to get to know the people in your new group-set and more importantly, give time for your new co-workers to get to know you! As Covey says, “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Unless you were hired to be a disruptor, be mindful of the written and unwritten norms of the school and know that there are responsibilities, roles, and a pecking order within the group(s). Eventually, you will learn the norms and quite possibly contribute to them. A small tip to newbies- try to refrain from the words, “In my last school we . . .” This immediately puts people on the defensive because you are suggesting your previous school was better at something and while this may be true, people will turn you off. Instead, at the appropriate time say something like, “Hey, I have an idea! What if we . . .?” Give it a try!
Give yourself permission to be the newbie on the faculty.
Although teaching in itself is standard, things like schedules, duties and responsibilities, housekeeping, tutoring, faculty meetings, etc. will most likely be different. Adjustment is necessary because you have entered into a new position and by accepting the job, you are tacitly agreeing to these differences. Be open and willing to adjust and be easy on yourself when you do not meet expectations. Remember, there’s a lot to learn and most principals give a year for the new hire to adopt to the new practices.
Give yourself an attitude check each and every day.
You moved to a new position for reasons only you can explain. Were you running away or were you embarking on a challenge? The answer to this is profound because, generally speaking, those who are running away from “a bad school, principal, department chair, and/or co-workers” usually find the same type of people at the next school and the next. Attitude checks can help you from seeing only the faults in co-workers. For those who are looking for a challenge, attitude checks can strengthen your inner resolve, even when things are not going well.
In my experiences, these three things have helped me adjust to a new position within education. What would you add as a guideline? Comment below.
Alison Thetford, M.Ed