What a New Teacher Needs to Know – Effective On-Boarding Training

Taking a new teacher through the on-boarding training process remains one of the best practices adopted by most employers and schools help new teachers succeed in their new work environment. The on-boarding of any newly employed teacher should start immediately after they sign the teaching contract and provide necessary paperwork. The pre-boarding training process is a bit different from on-board training and is sometimes referred to as “teacher introduction”.  The pre-boarding gives the newly employed teachers an understanding of the school culture and work environment/requirements; thereby preventing them from being bombarded with large amounts of school information when they arrive.  On-boarding training provides them with specific learning paths and courses that will make a newly hired teacher feel supported and help to improve their teaching.

On a formal note, teacher on-boarding training simply refers to the mechanism through which newly employed teachers acquire the required teaching knowledge and skills needed to integrate faster and more successfully into their new work environment.  Taking a newly employed teacher through an on-boarding training process helps them to become better acquainted with their role as a teacher, which contributes to the higher performance and self-confidence of the newly employed teacher.  Some of the tactics used in a teacher’s on-boarding training process include:

  • One-on-One Meetings – this method requires the newly employed to sit side-by-side with a senior teacher to listen to their oral guidance in regards to their new teaching position and advice on how to accomplish affective teaching.
  • Visual Electronic Method – this is a method whereby newly employed teachers are given a video lecture on how things are done. Sometimes the video record is given in CD format or may be provided as a link to a video streaming platform such as YouTube.
  • Hard Copy Printed Materials – this method involves the institution printing some kind of document or instructional brochure that contains a few pages of well-explained instructions and rules which the newly employed teacher must adhere to.
  • Electronic/Computer-Based Methods – this is the method where newly employed teachers are briefed on their job descriptions as well as guide them through the work ethics and teaching skills needed in the teaching profession. Because we are in an IT-driven world, this method is considered the best on-boarding process. Additionally, it provides newly hired teachers with the familiarity and comfort in using instructional technology.

 

While some people call this process “training”, other countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada refer to it as “induction”.  Regardless of the terminology, there still a few mistakes new schools or institutions should avoid when taking a new teacher through the on-boarding training process. Those mistakes are:

  1. Do not flood the new teacher with too much information – those few weeks as a new teacher can really be challenging. So for an average school who hired a teacher, they should allow the new employee to get acquainted with the work environment.  Regardless, teachers should be provided with the most important information necessary to be successful in their new position.
  2. Encourage and support new teachers – the school (employer) must not make the mistake of completely leaving the new teacher to do all the work and learn everything on their own. They must continue to motivate and support them.  Take the time to check on them to see if they have any difficulty you may help with.  Never underestimate the value of listening and empathizing with being the new hire.  Be friendly because how the students accept the new teacher depends on the level of respect acceptance the school gives to them.  Making a teacher feel belonged through the on-boarding training process can go a long way in making the new teacher feel welcomed.

For new teachers to increase their professional potential, they must be given the knowledge they need to perform their job.  Schools who think they can always change a new teacher if they do not perform well in their first month should not that there is a tangible and intangible cost in finding and training a new replacement.  It is always more effective to guide new teachers through the process of the new teaching job.

It is also incumbent upon the newly hired teacher to make an effort to understand the requirements of the position and acquire the basic knowledge necessary to be a teacher. There are few things they will have to do on their own even after the on=boarding training process.  Those responsibilities are stated thus:

  • Listen to Students’ Opinions – in as much as you are the teacher, the student still has the right to respectively make their opinions and concerns known.  They are part of the learning environment as well so at very least listen to their own opinion, compare it with your own and the school needs/requirement, then fashion out the best strategy.
  • Be Friendly – now do not be the sadist here, be cheerful to your new company, get comfortable with them, only then they can be able to welcome you as someone who has come to help impact knowledge in them. And then you can begin to see the real side of your new work place, things even the on-board training procedure might not be able to show you.
  • Its OK to Adapt – some new teachers put more effort on themselves trying to be perfect by following a specific guidelines and use specific materials. Understand that it is ok to bring your own style and creativity to a classroom as long as it fits within the school culture and achieves the learning outcomes.  Be diligent in being able to explain how the new activities will help to better help students achieve the learning goals.  Bring in new materials and new activities is a great way to bond with students.
  • Don’t be an Introvert, Network – as a new teacher you don’t want to be a loner. Mingle and make friends with your coworkers, relate with your colleagues, attempt to communicate and connect with them so you got acquainted with your new workplace faster.  The point is, no matter how intense or in-depth the on-boarding training is, you can never get the kind of information you will when your network with your other colleagues.  Above all, remember to smile and that “Hello” and “Thank you” go a long way in breaking the ice.
  • Take a Break – don’t stress and don’t deprive yourself of a good sleep just because you are nervous about the new teaching job. Plan ahead so you do not feel rushed or nervous because of lack of preparedness. It is ok to have some down time during break time to accumulate enough energy to come back for the second lesson. We always advise the new teachers to be well rested because the lack of sleep will catch up with them even while they are in the middle of a class.  Being prepared also is a key to remained confident and relaxed.
  • Be Patient. Do Not Rush Their Acceptance – the students will like you eventually. It may take some time for students to get used to their new teacher.  A such, be patient with them.  During your first class with new students, take the time to introduce yourself with a nice multimedia presentation showing your family and where you come from but remember to keep it respectable (no swimsuit pictures) since you are a role model.  This helps the students to relax and relate to you but it can takes weeks for them to get really comfortable with your presence.  Throughout this process, you need to be patient so you do not end up frustrated.

New teachers must also note that no matter the formality or depth which the introduction and on-boarding training process takes, never assume that you have learned all about your new work place nor all the skills needed to succeed.   Never be afraid to ask for help or, as my graduate professor said during my thesis research “Repeat after me…Google is my friend!”

Here is a great article about teachers’ first days:  12 New-Teacher Start of School Strategies