Making Positive Impressions with Schools
The moment you walk into the front gates of a school or greet the office staff, you as a casual relief teacher or integration aide are taking your first steps towards making a positive impression with schools. The benefit of making a positive impression at schools is you might be asked for more casual relief or ES work in future and create your own connections with staff members.
Here are some tips used when working with schools to make these positive impressions as a CRT/ES Staff:
1. Dressing professionally and appropriately for relief work
When casual relief teaching or as an integration aide it is important to be professional when out at schools. Which is why it is important to dress professionally when working at schools, as you are representing yourself and Free Agency. Many schools have dress codes that we must abide by such as not wearing open-toe shoes or making sure you have your shoulders covered from the sun especially during allocated yard duties. Making yourself look professional, shows you are respectful to yourself and showing you have confidence in what you are doing in the teaching career.
2. Arriving 30 minutes early
Arriving 30 minutes early is key to making your first impressions as a CRT. This not only makes you seem like a dedicated teacher, but it also makes you more prepared for the day. During this time, you can gather information on when and where your allocated yard duty is, the classroom you will be in, and lastly reading through your outline and resources for the day. This is also the key time if nothing is left to speak to staff members who can support you throughout the day.
3. Phone Etiquette
Whilst you may have messages coming through during the day for upcoming shifts or from close contacts of yours. It is not professional to be using your phone during classroom time, especially when teaching or supervising students. This presents disinterest and no duty of care. Just remember you are constantly being watched not just by students but colleagues. Try to only check your phone during recess and lunch breaks (not during yard duty) or before and after school.
4. Having recess or lunch in the Staff Room
Having recess or lunch in the staff room can be an intimidating experience, especially if you are not sure of where to sit and not knowing staff members. However, we have to build our confidence to sit with others and have a conversation with others. By having a conversation with staff members, you are building a rapport and have connections with others. Try not to have your eyes glued to mobile phones while sitting with others as it can come across you are not interested or not getting engaged in conversations.
5. Yard Duty
Yard Duty is part of the profession and it is a time to supervise students while outside or during wet day timetables. We have to remember there may be a chance of getting more than one yard duty for the day. Some schools may need you for one half of recess and the other at lunch.
6. Leaving a positive note for the replaced teacher
It is routine to make sure a note is left for the replaced teacher to communicate how the day went or notify any other important notes for the teacher to feel they haven’t missed out on anything. Leaving positive messages about the day is key to making a positive impression. This could be about the lessons taught, certain staff and students who were a great help, or even how you enjoyed your day in the classroom!
7. Leaving the classroom tidy
Making sure you leave the classroom tidy and how it was before shows you are a well organised and tidy staff member. We want to make sure the classroom is as clean as it was when you first walked in the morning. Another thing to remember is to make sure all air conditioners/heaters and lights are turned off. If windows were open make sure these are closed and the classroom door is locked at the end of your day. If you didn't get a key for the classroom, let the office or nearby teacher know the door is still open. All these reminders shows you are respecting the classroom environment and not leaving a mess for the replaced teacher to clean.
8. Signing out and saying, “Thank You!”
To leave your mark on a school when ending the day is speaking to the office staff when signing out. A smile and a “Thank you, see you next time!” are never too hard to do as it shows you are friendly and willing to come back and work at their school.
The next time you are working at a school, try out these tips as they could leave positive feedback on your teaching practise as a CRT and integration aide.