Why Staff Orientation
In the new session one sees the induction of a fair amount of new staff both in the academic and the administrative wing of the school. Immense amount of effort and time is invested in training and integrating them into the school system. Emotional attachment to the institution has to be encouraged, and this will happen only if the staff members feel that they are equal stakeholders in the progress of the institution.
Getting to Know Others
It helps if schools set a date for a staff orientation before the commencement of a new session. Entering a new place can be equally daunting for the new staff as it is for the students. The setting need not be formal, but it can be an occasion for the new teachers to be welcomed officially, as part of the school. The old and the new, both get the opportunity to interact closely. At the very onset of the session therefore, one sets in motion a process of bonding and being made to feel comfortable in the new environment.
One is normally aware of the position that one has applied and been selected for. However, every institution has its own style of functioning. It is helpful if the new-comers are given information about school functioning and expectations. The Head of the school should use the opportunity to familiarise them with the school policies, its philosophy, vision and mission. A well planned staff orientation ensures healthier and improved relations between co-workers.
Orientation Activities - an Informal Session
An orientation is more effective if it is broken up into 2-3 sessions. An icebreaker session to begin with is effective for introduction. Giving basic school information helps the new staff understand the school culture, its organisation and structure, school working, its goals and beliefs. A school tour where the staff gets to see the school facilities and gets to know their way about school helps at this stage.
Getting Down to Business - Learning the Ropes
The schools should have their handouts ready for distribution. Well-written instructions can be a ready reference for the staff, in case of confusion or doubt. The Orientation-in-Charge must go through the list with the new staff, patiently explaining the school’s work ethos. This leads to fewer mistakes being made while on the job and also helps open lines of communication.
Understanding that the teacher is the role model within the school is extremely important. Our body language, facial expression, attitude and non-verbal gestures can communicate volumes without our knowledge. Teachers perform the role of a guide, mentor and a friend and as such should be impartial in their dealings.
The Children Come First
Our main focus is to teach well and to ensure that all those placed in our charge are given a safe, secure and fun environment to encourage their personal growth. Every teacher is expected to know their priorities and should be completely prepared for class every day. Ideally, a session on classroom handling should be inbuilt into the staff orientation. Group discussions can include topics such as student discipline and motivation, encouraging self-esteem and worth of the children, inciting imagination and creativity in the classroom, class conduct and etiquette. Focus should be on ensuring that all children under our care gain the most out of being in our institution.