(*The clipart was purchased from DepositPhotos.com.)
Have you ever felt alone in a new place? Did you wish that you had someone to help you get acclimated? Personally, when I started new jobs, I was not sure who I could go to to ask basic or silly questions. What time does the cafeteria close? I have my paperwork. Where should I submit it? How does the duty schedule work? Are there unspoken rules that I don’t know?
Each year new teachers are hired and have the same questions. Some are seasoned, and others are just beginning a new career. Regardless of the stage, they are in; school librarians need to get to know them. Why? Because school librarians need to change the narrative about our roles in schools. We can engage with our communities and build positive cultures.
Moreover, teachers need to know that they have a support network. Mentors can mean the difference between career success and failure. If teachers are successful and comfortable, overall, schools are more likely to be effective.
One of the most natural things that can be done to meet new teachers, besides an orientation, is asking them to complete a survey. Give them plenty of time to respond. Then you can begin to know them without invading their space. Here are some sample questions. It is not an exhaustive list.
What type of teaching experience do you have?
What did you do before you became a teacher?
What are three things that you would like to achieve this year?
What special skills do you have (i.e., drawing, writing, technology)?
How often do you collaborate with other teachers?
Have you ever collaborated with a librarian? If so, what was the project?
Was there an event or project that you saw another librarian complete that you liked? If so, what was it?
Do you have any expectations for the school library?
What type of help do you need to transition into your new position at [NAME] school?
What is the best time to meet with you?
The responses to the survey can inform the conversations that you have with them when you meet. I think of school librarians as consultants with access to a variety of skills and resources that they can share. I always think of my school community as an extended family and customers. There is an interpersonal aspect of being a school librarian that requires us to build relationships while considering our diverse clientele. Do you have questions that you would ask to connect to new teachers? If so, please share.
*The clipart in this post was purchased from DepositPhotos.com.
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