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Stage 4 – Arrival

… teachers know within the first six months if they will stay beyond their two-year contract.

Staff Arrival

It can not be stressed enough but what is so crucial here is that a member of leadership meets the new recruit at the airport, even if they have to arrive early morning! The new member of your team, and potentially their young children, have arrived in a foreign place. The least you can do is meet them at the airport and what this will do is give you an instant snap-shot on how they are doing and what level of support they may need during their induction. 

Remember – induction is not a one size fits all approach. Each individual/family needs different levels of support and information! 

Be mindful, however, when you meet a member of staff they may be exhausted and not want a long chat all the way from the airport. 

Many teachers reported being given some local currency in their hand upon arrival at the airport which made them feel really valued and thought-about. 

Arrival Pack

To be given to staff either at the airport or waiting for them in their accommodation upon arrival. 

Things to include are:

Business Card of residence in local language for taxi drivers and deliveries

Simple vocabulary (survival language)

Key contacts

SIM card with credit

Small amount of local currency

Contracts

Food in cupboards for first few day

How to make a bill payment, transfer money

Location of malls, hospitals, doctors, grocery, bars, nurseries for children, banks, gym, 

Induction Booklet / Welcome to (school) and (city)

School t-shirts, mugs, hat, water bottle etc. 

Arrival at Staff Accommodation

When the new member of your team arrives at their hotel/accommodation from the airport, in addition to the above welcome pack, there should be food in their fridge for the next few days. Your welcome survey will highlight if they have any dietary needs, can drink alcohol, have children etc. A bottle of wine, or something of the like, on the table saying welcome to the team goes a long way. 

Also, a hand-written note from the headmaster is also a very powerful message to say welcome to the team! 

Can you arrange a care-hire company to contact them or have a car ready as getting around is very important when arriving in a new city. Or, can you get a metro or bus pass for a week? 

If there is no Internet at their accommodation you need to plan for this. Communication with their family is of great importance so ensure it happens. 

Arrival at School (Induction Weeks)

One of the biggest pieces of advice here is you are going to spend money on induction on just one thing, make it childcare! When families arrive at school you want their full attention, them to settle really well. If they are worrying about who will look after their children when they arrive then this will not happen. Yes, next year they can arrange their own childcare during the induction week as they have been at your school for a year. But when they have just stepped off the plane, or moved into a new house, take this stress away and provide childcare at school. 

Things to consider during your induction: 

Pace and spread of topics (mix of academic, admin and personal)

Very few lectures! No information dump! – make it creative and fun

Include support staff

Academic: iSams, register, Google Drive, planning, setting up classroom

Admin: visa, work permit, driving licence, (all of these the school should be assisting with)

Personal: Settling in, family time, accomodation, social (this is their only social for some)

Key staff info and how to contact them e.g. IT support, maintenance, photocopier/media support,

Here are some examples of typical induction weeks. 

Meet Ups/Social Events

From arranging staff meals where staff pay for themselves but you at least arrange it, to going on three-day safari’s all expense paid – the social events I found from research vary wildly. 

The main thing here is that you put people who have been ‘in the same boat’ at your school with the new members of staff to help them settle. 

You also need to ensure that the new staff get to meet up, as well as the new and existing staff. 

Arrange a department, year-group, leadership social event where the new staff can meet the team they are working with outside of school. 

A word of warning – one induction I went to at a school was very ‘alcohol-heavy’ and this is not a great first impression if you do not drink alcohol. Also, it can set up new staff to fail if they have a little too much to drink and embarrass themselves – not a great start of them! 

An important consideration here is the mix between family events and non-family events. Here you will want to have events that cater for families, events that cater for staff without children, and events that are for staff only so they can bond without their families. 

One of the best arrivals I ever had was an Amazing Race style event around Singapore. We were put into teams from all over the school and given the first clue at school which then took us on a race all around Singapore doing different challenges and tasks as a team. Not only was this an amazing afternoon but it made us get a good feel for where things were in the city and make some really close connections. We finished this with a staff BBQ at the end of the race. When I led the induction in the UAE we had a similar type of event which was very successful apart from one team locking the headmaster in the car!