Here are 4 great questions from my principal licensure students about how we do new teacher onboarding in our schools and districts:
- Has no one asked new hires what could be done differently to make them feel more welcomed and comfortable? Why are we not spending more money on keeping the people we have hired? There have got to be other areas we can cut back to make this better. We know relationships are key. Why is our focus more on other things the first few days? Why not relationships? How can we make a shift and change in culture surrounding onboarding so that new hires do not just get the illusion of being welcomed but truly feel it, not just in the district but in the school as well?
- I wonder how principals stay in touch with the growing demands put on teachers? Many of the principals and leaders with whom I have worked have not been classroom teachers in over ten years. There is a disconnect between the reality of the day to day classroom routines and expectations for teachers today and even five and definitely ten years ago. I am starting to see that the expectations put on administrators is growing at the same rate as teacher responsibilities, however this added stress on both sides seems to create more of a divide than a shared understanding. I am wondering how administrators and evaluators can stay connected to the demands on teachers in order to properly mentor and coach them?
- I am curious to learn about ideas and strategies to best support teachers new to the district but not brand new to the profession? We want to honor their expertise and years of experience while ensuring that they are meeting our district’s expectations. In many cases but not all, it can be difficult to coach veteran teachers on best practices because of their experiences, whereas new teachers embrace feedback with open arms.
- Based on my experience in the last several years having opted to switch schools several times, it doesn’t seem that a principal is very engaged in an onboarding plan for new teachers. I wonder about a genuine, real life example of a principal who is hands on with the onboarding process. Does this mystery principal exist? I want to know that implementing a plan such as this is realistic and not just rooted in best practices that rarely get implemented.
Thoughts on any of these?