January, a time for fresh starts, resolutions and all things new. But not usually for teachers, January is an odd time of year to be changing schools. Just one term into the year but not into the manic term that is the summer. Students have got used to their teachers and settled into their ways of working,they know what's what and who is who. Even the year 7 aren't really new anymore. Then you walk in, the newbie in the school, in fact, the only new teacher starting in January. What should you expect?
1) As the only new member of staff there may well be no formal induction. You will have to glean what information you can from your department and the computer system, if you're lucky enough to be able to get onto the relevant parts and have all the right logins.
2) There will be all sorts of things going on that you will be expected to know about and deal with like mock exams and assessments. These will stop you getting to know your classes as quickly as you would've liked and mean you may get off to an odd start with some.
3) You'll need to pick up where someone else has started, this might entail a few cries of 'Miss, we did this last term' but if you're lucky these won't be too frequent.
4) You'll have so many names to learn and there will be a fair few people giving you strange looks as they try to work out who you are and what you're doing there. When you teach 4 classes of year 8 girls they will all start to look the same and the names will roll into one... You'll get there.
5) You'll need to slot yourself into a department that has probably learned to cope being understaffed or has been left at an odd time of year. It might be hard but they'll really appreciate it.
As you will have gathered, I started a new school this month. The school is quite a contrast from my last, an all girls grammar school, and I've got a little journey in the mornings but it's not too bad. I'm getting used to different expectations from the students, different ways of planning, getting more efficient at my marking and generally taking every day as it comes. Every day I'm finding out something new, being given another document I need to take in or meeting another student that has been absent for whatever reason.
I've been very lucky to have landed myself in a department with lovely staff who are so helpful and kids who are (on the most part, as ever) happy and enthusiastic to learn. I've got a way to go until I work the place out and really know what I'm doing, who knows if we ever really manage that?! But, so far, so good!
Next challenge: work out what on earth I'm doing this dissertation on and get on with it!