6 Easy Ways to Welcome New Teachers and Support Staff

Hint: It’s the little things that make the biggest impact

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With the new school year here, a round of new teachers and support staff are likely joining your students for their very first day. It’s essential that you prioritize welcoming new teachers and support staff. This goes beyond their paperwork. Y Make sure they know they’re just as valued, just as important and just as essential to the team as those who have been at your school for decades.

Your goal is for every new teacher and support staff member to go home after their first week feeling excited, energized and ready to jump in without hesitation. Making new employees feel welcome is the key to loyalty and retention–so, here are five easy ideas you can implement right away:

1. Touch base a week before they start

When you’re interviewing and ultimately hiring someone for a job, you’re in constant communication. But after you offer the job and they accept, things can go radio silent until their first day. That lull can make any new hire anxious. An easy fix? Pick up the phone the week before their start date and officially welcome them aboard. Offer clear instructions on where they should go after they arrive on their first day plus fill them in on new initiatives and events coming up at school. It’s an easy way to boost your new employee’s confidence and get them in the know right away.

2. Block off 1:1 time on your calendar

Even if it means coming in 20 minutes early or staying a little late–give every new employee a solid 15 minutes. Use that time to express your goals for the upcoming school year and what they can do to support your mission. Ask them to express the professional goals they wish to reach and what they need from you to achieve them. But most of all, ask about their life outside of school. If they love a particular sports team, it goes a long way when you congratulate them the morning after a big win.

3. Have a mentor or buddy system in place

The most overwhelming and frustrating part of starting a new job is feeling in the dark when it comes to the basics. Where’s the bathroom? Who do you call if you need a sub? Where’s the teacher’s lounge? Which copier is the most temperamental? How do you reach IT during class? Longstanding employees take that knowledge for granted but new employees feel insecure and out of place when they don’t. An easy fix is to create a list of your school’s “must knows.” You can even update it a few times a year to keep the list up to date. Then, set up every new employee with an experienced member of your team to go over it all thoroughly. Have that person become their go to when more questions, concerns or insecure moments of panic arise!

4. Create welcome traditions

Ask your team what they think really speaks to the vibe and energy of your school and how you can shower new employees with it on their first day. From a “welcome breakfast” to presenting a box of “school spirit” goodies–the sky is the limit. A personalized welcome makes new staff members feel ready to jump right in and having existing team members take part just strengthens the feeling of community at your school.

5. Get them involved

Find ways to get your new hires in the mix right away. Need help at PTA meetings? Looking to start new after-school clubs? Want a liaison for PD opportunities? Make sure your new hires know these opportunities are available and get them involved right away. They will get immersed in the culture of your school and get to know the staff, students and parents that much faster.

6. Ask for their feedback

You know how you gave your new hires 1:1 time on their first day? Set aside time on your calendar to check in with them after their first two weeks. Find out how they are liking their time at your school so far and what lingering questions or concerns they may have. Ask them what the highs and lows of their first few weeks have been–and most of all–how you can support them!

Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal

Posted by Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal

Lauren West-Rosenthal is a senior editor at WeAreTeachers. In the fourth grade, she started writing "bonus chapters" to her favorite books. Her teacher was impressed -- and encouraging -- and a vast writing career was born!