For many, the new term means a change of school. This also includes many teachers across the globe. The reasons can be varied: a promotion; family circumstances; or whether it’s just time for a change. But the move can be daunting for all concerned. In this article, from the August 2014 edition of UKEdMagazine, Andy Knill shares tips on how to cope with such a change, concluding that preparation is key.
The dilemma of moving schools. How should I prepare? What needs to be done? When should it be done? Simply, there is no one solution and many of us will tackle this in many different ways. For me, September 2014 will see me move to my 5th full time post in a career spanning 26 years so far. Do I have a set routine? No, but also, I am more relaxed about it because the process of change is one I have gone through before.
I have seen colleagues this year moving on for the first time and for whom it is a different experience. So what advice can I give to make the transition as smooth as possible?
Saying your goodbyes
For most this will have happened at the end of term before you read this article. You will have chosen who and how you wish to say goodbye. It is a personal decision, similar to when you announced that you were moving on in the first place. Some will return for the August results days when you are still employed, yet feel disengaged from planning and talk of “In September …”
Decide for yourself when that “formal” handover takes place in your own mind as the new post will require your focus.
If you had your own main teaching room, there may have been end of year regulations and expectations that you adhered to. Do you take any of your own property home at the start of the holidays or wait until the end of your contract? This can also depend on when you were asked to hand in keys, passes, school laptops and so on. My clearing out was completed as far as I could by the end of term. Results day will be about the Year 11s and their GCSE results – I am there as an interested supporter having seen them go through 5 years at the school.
What needs to stay? Is there anything that is mine? When will it go? Where will I store it? Should I just leave it where it is?
Visits pre September
You are entitled to a one day visit to your new school. I was lucky that my new post is not far to travel and so I was able to pop in a few times before the end of the summer term after my school day commitments were completed. Schools policies and culture vary about being in buildings during the holiday period. I will try to mirror what has become an annual winding back up ritual for me, where I spend some of the final week of the holiday getting my room and mind ready for the start of the new term. That is my personal routine and the new schools may have expressed preferences. Plus there are other considerations – your holiday commitments for childcare or holidays away.
If the new building is complex, you have display expectations that you need to do before term starts do you know when access is available? Ring the school if there is a site team extension – they will know when the building is open to staff, and importantly, they have the keys – Always an important factor!
How much you can prepare will depend on how much information you have been provided with. I have been very fortunate this time to have a working school email address and web portal access already, so that I can review documentation before my arrival. Others may have been given this information in paper format or have been told to wait until September.
You have a summer holiday / break, REST because you are going to be teaching, learning new names of staff and pupils and whole new systems in addition to national changes with the National Curriculum requirements.
Some are better at resting than others – I am not a good example in some ways as I continue to run education based Twitter networks, blogs and write articles such as this, but it is a personal choice. Be honest with yourself. How tired were you by July break up?
September – Your first formal day
Your first day at your new school will probably consist of an INSET day for most of us. Do not be late on your first day – plan your new route carefully, be aware of traffic / transport issues. Some of us will have full details of the programme. If you are unsure where to go, report in at the school office, as you may not have school ID yet to show who you are to other site users.
Strike a balance – you are new, ease yourself in as you want to be perceived. Remember first impressions will count – one of the reasons I go in early is to learn a few faces and personalities before I start. Be realistic – you are going to be facing information overload. Have some form of note taking sorted before you arrive. You are going to have many questions of your own. Record them beforehand.
I could probably write many more headings. REMEMBER they appointed you for this post. Be prepared …
Click Here to continue reading the full version of this article in the August 2014 Edition of UKEdMagazine
Andy Knill is moving across the London Borough of Havering to be a Head of Geography at The Albany School, Hornchurch. He tweets at @aknill and blogs at mishmashlearning.wordpress.com.
Image source: Via blog.chestertonhumberts.com, with thanks.
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