New Year, New Start

Starting a new school year can be daunting, even for the most experienced of teachers. The transition from the end of the previous year to the beginning of the next is more than just starting a new school year – it is an opportunity to try something different. This is the chance for teachers to teach with even more enthusiasm and dedication.

Leadership is essential at the start of a new school year – staff members need to know that their leaders have a clear vision of what they want students and staff to achieve. Leadership provides inspiration for everyone involved in a school, from parents and students right through to teachers and support staff. Leadership is key not only at the beginning of the year but throughout its duration because it establishes consistent priorities which can be upheld throughout the year.

This means schools should outline expectations for student learning prior to the commencement of classes so all staff members are on board with what student learning outcomes will be achieved during each lesson/unit/topic etc. Leadership also makes sure that there is communication between different groups within a school community so that all concerns are met by strategizing

A new school year brings with it many changes and new opportunities for students, staff, and parents. One of the most important opportunities during a new school year is induction for teachers. Induction allows new teachers to learn about their profession and become comfortable in their specific setting. It also provides an opportunity for experienced teachers to learn from new teachers and become connected with their school community.

Before the students arrive, induction for new teachers (and refreshers for continuing teachers) should be a priority. Making sure that teachers understand their roles and responsibilities is key to making sure that student learning is not disrupted or affected by gaps in what they are expected to do as part of the job role. This is where a well thought out induction plan is needed.

An induction program should include several components for both new and experienced teachers: workshops, time to meet colleagues and form relationships, and an opportunity to visit the different areas of the school. Teachers should also receive a detailed schedule of expectations from their principal and senior leaders. This program should provide teachers with a sense of belonging to their school community and outline ways for teachers to connect with parents and students through events held outside of class time.

For new teachers, it is essential that the induction program is flexible. Some teachers might not be ready to take on all the responsibilities of teaching because it is their first time in a classroom setting. Instead, they may need smaller activities which allow them opportunities to meet students and staff members while also doing some preparation work before school begins. This is not a sign that the teacher is not ready to start their career as a teacher, it just means they have a different experience!

Experience teachers also need opportunities to learn from new teachers and become comfortable with their specific school community. It does not matter how long someone works in education, every teacher learns something new each year. This is important for all staff members to feel valued and appreciated by their school leaders because everyone has the capacity to teach and share experiences.

After all, school is a community where people can learn from one another!

Author: Dr Jake Madden

Jake Madden (Dip Teach; B.Ed; Grad Dip: Leadership; M. Ed: Leadership; EdD; FACEL; MACE) Dr. Jake Madden is currently the Principal, St Edward’s Primary School, Tamworth. He has enjoyed a successful teaching and principal leadership career over the last thirty years building teacher capacity through the development of learning in the contemporary world, the promotion of flexible learning spaces to meet the needs of the 21st century learner and curriculum for global mindedness. Jake is a leader in the notion of teacher-as-researcher and is widely published in this area, authoring and co-authoring books and a number of journal articles showcasing his experiences and research into leading educational change.

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