What to expect during induction week at your new international school
Are you getting ready to start working at an international school? Here’s what you can expect!
Induction week usually happens about a week before the start of a new school academic year. It’s primarily for new staff, but many international schools also use the time to induct existing staff into new policies, procedures or curriculum developments.
Generally speaking, schools handle their own induction programme and use their own staff to deliver the sessions. They are usually a combination of key elements regarding the school, the community and the country.
A good induction week programme will give new teachers key information about the school and a flavor of what to expect when the children arrive without overwhelming them. It will also allow for personal and team planning time and may also include some social events.
It can be a difficult time for new overseas teachers who are often caught in a trap of mixed priorities. They need to sort out their accommodation, their bank account and possibly buy a car, but they also know that school will start very soon and they will want to have their first week well planned.
As a new teacher, regardless of your own personal priorities, this is an important time to focus on the priorities of your school. The school wants you and all the new teachers to quickly become familiar with how things are done, and to understand its philosophy and mission. Important safety procedures need to be explained and policies understood. They may include important meetings with parents, governors and the administration team. Some induction programmes include cultural tours and basic language training which are important team-building events as well as helping you to acquire valuable local knowledge.
International schools with well thought out induction programmes may spread their induction over a few weeks or even months allowing teachers to get to know the school whilst still allowing them the forum for asking questions. They may assign a mentor to each new teacher who will be able to help with the local language and deal with accommodation or travel issues. Other mentors deal specifically with curriculum or policies.
It’s important for new teachers to go into their induction with an open mind and to expect things to be done differently. You may not agree with the way something is done but this is not the time to say it and teachers who constantly tell others that they did it differently in their previous school are quickly ostracized.
It’s equally important for schools not to try to cover too much initially and to understand that teachers have many priorities when they first arrive from overseas in a new country.
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