Teaching at a new school

Your first appointment at a new school as a permanent, temporary or casual teacher will provide you with some special opportunities and challenges.

As a newly-appointed permanent teacher

Your first day as a newly-appointed permanent teacher will be the first of many memorable milestones in your career.

If you are appointed permanently to a NSW public school, one of our staffing officers will advise you of the school to which you have been appointed and your entry on duty date.

You should ask the staffing officer for the name of your principal and your principal's contact telephone number.

A letter will follow, confirming the staffing officer's advice and providing you with your Employee ID number and your terms of employment.

You should make contact with your principal as soon as you can and learn what you can about your school, its community, the classes you will be teaching. See if you can arrange a visit before your first day of duty to meet the principal and other staff members. If this is not possible ask the principal to whom you can speak for some background information to assist in preparing you for your first day.

Appointment to a rural and isolated community

If you are appointed to one of our rural or remote schools, you should seek information on:

  • Availability of short and long term accommodation from a local real estate agent.
  • Availability of teacher housing. You may also contact the Teacher Housing Authority on telephone 1300 137 343.
  • Routes of travel to and from the town and transport services. Be aware of road conditions, access during wet weather, distances you need to travel and availability of fuel and general services. Facilities available in urban areas (e.g. ATMs, other banking facilities and retail outlets) may not always be available in small rural and isolated communities.
  • Your entitlement to a relocation subsidy. Where a teacher's first appointment to a school is in the western division of the State they may be entitled to a relocation subsidy when it is necessary to leave their existing residence.

During your first few days in your school you will be teaching your class(es), getting to know the skills and abilities of your students and becoming familiar with the school and its policies and routines.

Learn the names of your students as soon as you can. Advise your students of your expectations in relation to their work and behaviour. Plan activities for your students that will enable you to observe their learning styles and gain an idea of their abilities and needs. Talk to your supervisor about the appropriateness of your lesson plans and find out if there are prepared units of work specifically developed for the ability level of your students which you can use.

Collect a sample of work from your students as soon as you can. This will help you assess your students' group and individual learning needs, assist in your lesson preparation and creation of an enjoyable and stimulating classroom environment.

Talk with your supervisor to find out as much as you can about your students' previous progress and their backgrounds including any important family, medical, cultural or language issues with which you should be familiar.

Allow time to familiarise yourself with the school and find out about its history, range of extra-curricular activities and links with the local community.

During the first few weeks of teaching you should have developed processes for observing all students in individual and group situations and be matching your students' learning needs to your class activities. You will be developing effective communication skills with your students and engaging all students in class activities. You will be establishing homework procedures and assessment strategies.

If you are a primary teacher you should check that the timetable you have designed gives an appropriate balance of time and activities to all curriculum areas.

If you are a secondary teacher you should check that lessons you plan for each of your classes will enable the desired syllabus outcomes to be achieved by students.

You should also be developing effective classroom and management strategies. Base your classroom management on the concept that the school is a place of learning. Your preparation is critical in establishing sound study and work habits in your students. Time spent planning lessons are rewarded in effective classroom practice.

Seek the advice of your supervisor on particular classroom management issues.

Approach discipline issues in a consistent and firm, but friendly manner. Develop a set of classroom rules and consequences with input from the students if possible. Notice and reinforce good behaviour. Make sure that what you do is consistent with the school's welfare/discipline policy.

If you are appointed during the year find out about the established routines operating within the classroom. If these are working effectively, introduce any changes you need to make gradually. Avoid making critical comments concerning the previous teacher, their program or teaching style.

If your first day is a student free day (the first day of terms one, two or three) it's an ideal opportunity to meet staff, familiarise yourself with the school's resources and participate in school based professional learning activities.

If your first day is not a student free day you may find that you will be timetabled to teach. Familiarising yourself with school policies, routines and resources may take a little longer but it's a necessary step in becoming a member of the school community.

A member of the school executive or one of the administrative staff will ask you to complete entry on duty and staff information forms. They may also provide you with a school map, school policies, playground duty rosters and show you where you will need to sign on each morning. Check to see if you will be responsible for an attendance roll or roll monitoring and ask to whom you can speak about your responsibilities.

Your principal is responsible for your induction program and will assist you in your further professional learning during your probationary period.

Your principal will tell you who your supervisor is and may also appoint a mentor to provide additional professional support. You will also identify other people on the staff whom you will want to call upon for advice. As you meet your teaching colleagues check what resources, including specialist teachers, are available to assist with your classroom activities and how to access them. These teachers and resources can also assist in your lesson preparation.

Your supervisor or head teacher will provide you with your timetable, class list(s), teaching programs and school and faculty policies on curriculum, discipline, attendance, homework and assessment and reporting. These documents will shape your programming and the teaching and learning strategies you use in your classroom.

As a casual teacher

There are a few important things you need to do on your first day of working as a casual teacher.

On your first day as a casual teacher, you should report to the office to find out who is responsible for assisting casual teachers in the school.You will need to present the following documents to your school:

All completed forms should be scanned and forwarded by the school to EDConnect.ecpc.forms@det.nsw.edu.au for processing.

The school will be notified of your casual payroll number within two working days of receipt of all required documents.

This staff member should provide you with a school map, school policies, playground duty rosters and show you where you will need to sign on each morning. Check to see if you will be responsible for an attendance roll or roll monitoring and ask to whom you can speak about your responsibilities. Locate facilities (e.g. the staffroom, the canteen, toilets and the photocopier). Identify procedures (eg classroom keys, passwords necessary for operating the photocopier etc).

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