After the busyness of first term, opportunities exist to move beyond the “nuts and bolts” issues of orientation, to a deeper induction of new staff into “why we do what we do”.
The start of a school year is a particularly frantic one for all staff in our schools. Without doubt the busyness and intensity is multiplied when a staff member is new to the community. They are experiencing a very new environment, where many things are done according to a particular structure, culture and tradition that some would say can only be fully understood by actually living the experience (“doing the hard yards”) While there is some truth in this, we also know that school leadership can’t rely on this “experiential learning” model if it leaves to chance a grounding in those essentials that allow staff to give of their best from the very start. That’s why good orientation processes will focus as a priority on what staff most need to know to feel supported from Day 1.
In a similar way Induction, which moves a step beyond the nuts and bolts issues of orientation, is a critical process in the early weeks of welcoming a new staff member. Rather than the “what we do” of orientation, induction seeks to answer the “why we do, what we do” question and serves to give newcomers an early appreciation of the values and spirit that underpins the community.
Within our EREA schools, the Core Formation Program, A Call to Mission – Galilee, is a significant part of the induction process for new staff. However, its focus is at a macro-level and exists to complement, not substitute for, the formative induction practices which are so important at the local school level. These internal induction practices differ from school to school, and given that the context of each school is different, in lots of ways it is appropriate that the induction process reflects that unique context. At the same time, there is much we can learn from each other, particularly given our common founding story, in sharing the great formative induction practices that may easily be replicated across our diverse range of schools. So, for what it’s worth, here are ten internal induction practices, in no particular order, that have attracted my attention in recent years and received positive comment from staff who, as a new community member, have experienced different ones. There may be something here that captures your interest.
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