Supporting New Staff
Accepting a new job in a new country brings with it some degree of uncertainty for a teacher.
Whilst this can add to the experience and anticipation, it can also increase anxiety levels in the strongest of candidates. The period of time in-between a candidate accepting a job offer through to the start date can be lengthy. Although reassurances are put in place on both sides and a contract has often been signed, it can be easy for a teacher to become disillusioned with little communication and often poor direction. Teachers complain of a lack of support and guidance in terms of what to do next (visas/permits, accommodation, documentation etc.). This is coupled with a feeling of being somewhat left out in the cold. To ensure that a bunch of well-informed, confident, raring to go happy teachers arrive for the start of term, there are some simple yet very effective measures that you as a leader can put in place. Here are 5 of them…
Compile important information as well as questions and answers as an ongoing document. This can be in the form of a pdf which should be regularly updated and distributed during your on-going recruitment process. Questions that should be asked and added to the document include: Are teachers required to apply for a visa/permit? Do they require attested documents? Is there additional information for teachers travelling with children? Perhaps include useful websites for expats coming into country. The more information you can provide in one go, the sooner teachers can start their preparation.
A very effective way of keeping all appointees up to date is with a newsletter. This can include photographs and video links of recent events going on within the school. Whilst undergoing construction, Durham School for Girls Doha (opening August 2019) were interviewing and appointing teachers. This could have been a cause for concern for many teachers not knowing what to expect, however, they kept all their new staff up to date with information and photographs of the school in its various stages of development. This included details and pictures of their soon to be residence and much more. It gave new staff plenty of reassurance that they had made the right choice and the opportunity to picture their new life.
A super way of ensuring that your new staff are thoroughly informed is to establish a buddy system. Each newly appointed teacher is put in contact via email with a current member of staff, often with consideration to pairings. This allows new teachers to engage with future colleagues rather than feel that they are overburdening their soon to be Head. Why not pair a teacher relocating with a family with a current member of staff who had the same experience?
Email or WhatsApp Groups
Connect new staff with each other. Afterall they are sharing similar experiences and by uniting first timers with seasoned international teachers they can support each other. It can create an opportunity for some teachers to meet up in the UK for a social afternoon/evening in advance of the start of term. Those teachers who were appointed sooner in the recruitment period can share their new found expertise of obtaining visas, completing medicals etc.
This really depends on the scale of recruitment you are undergoing. An Induction Day serves well particularly if your recruitment and interviewing has been solely by Skype. Assuming that many of your new staff are either UK based or returning to the UK in the summer prior to starting their new contract, arrange an induction day in a central location (often London). This is a wonderful opportunity to meet, have lunch, break the ice, share information, ask questions and make all new staff feel very welcome and much more at ease.
The recruitment process does not end upon appointment of a teacher. What more can you be doing to support them?
Posted on 16th March 2020