Initial contact

When a beginning teacher is advised they've been appointed to a school, they are expected to telephone the principal of their school, or a nominated staff member, to make contact and introduce themselves.

Beginning teachers should prepare thoroughly before making this initial call.

Ideally, the beginning teacher has a list of questions and certain topics to focus on before calling, so they can gain all the practical information they need before starting.

Since first impressions count, it's vital to prepare well for this initial call with the school principal. Ensure you:

  • know which questions you want to ask
  • have a notepad and pen handy to record all answers
  • are calm and composed.

It's vital that you make this initial contact but don't expect to have a long conversation. Principals are very busy people and may not be able to discuss your appointment in detail when you call. You may be asked to make an appointment to ring the principal, or delegated staff member nominated by the principal, at another set time.

Example of an initial call structure

Here is an example of the structure of an initial contact call:

  1. Introduce yourself and provide some brief background information about yourself:
    1. where you are from
    2. where you trained as a teacher
    3. your particular interests and expertise.
  2. Explain that your purpose for the call is to find out some school information before you start.
  3. Ask these questions to prepare you for your arrival at the school:
    1. Does the school have an orientation day or meeting?
    2. Which class/ stage will you will be teaching (primary teachers), which classes will you be teaching and which faculties will you will be working in (secondary teachers)?
    3. How many staff teach and work at the school?
    4. What are the school times - arrival, class commencement, morning tea, lunch and departure?
    5. How best to get to the school by public transport, or by car/ any parking facilities?
    6. Is there any information or paperwork you will need to provide to the school?

If you have been appointed to a rural or remote school, you will need additional information.

Housing availability

During the initial phone conversation, ask about the availability of teacher housing - you can also contact the Teacher Housing Authority NSW and ask about rental accommodation availability - both short and long-term, and the location's proximity to larger towns for accommodation.

Travel and facilities

Find out how to travel to the location by bus, train or plane and any other transport services. Or ask about the best route for car travel to and from the town. Ask about the distances involved, the usual road conditions and the availability of access during wet weather.

Ask about the availability of fuel and general services. Note that facilities available in urban areas - such as ATMs, other banking facilities, internet access and retail outlets - may not be readily available in small rural and remote communities.

Find out who to contact when you arrive in the town, and if entitlement to a relocation subsidy is available. When a teacher's first appointment to a school is in the western division of NSW, a relocation subsidy may be entitled if the beginning teacher must leave their existing residence.

Driving in the bush

If you are travelling to your new rural or remote school in your own vehicle, ensure:

  • you always carry water
  • your car is in good order and was recently serviced
  • you have all equipment needed to change a tyre and you can do this on your own (or consider joining a road service organisation such as the NRMA).

Avoid travelling at dusk and at night as the risk of hitting wildlife on the roads at dusk or in the dark is high. If you do need to drive at night on isolated roads, always drive slowly and cautiously.

Bus, plane or train

If you are travelling to your new rural/ remote school by bus, train or plane, book in advance to ensure you get a seat, enquire about connecting services and find out about travelling with heavy luggage or items such as bicycles (these items may need to be transported at a different time), and how to contact the principal of the school on arrival.

The local community

If you have been appointed to a rural or remote school and will be moving out of the city for the first time there are some important things to be mindful of:

  • You are also living in the community so your professional obligations may extend beyond the school.
  • Community perceptions of teachers, based on their behaviour in social situations, can impact your professional life.

Professional Conduct

In regard to your professional conduct in a rural or remote community, you must ensure that:

  • You maintain confidentiality about school matters.
  • You put aside personal relationships, or those developed in a social situation with students or parents when discharging your professional responsibilities.
  • You don't use personal information in the classroom.
  • You maintain a standard of behaviour in public that is consistent with your professional role in the town.
  • You seek advice before accepting invitations from families.

Incentive benefits for rural and remote positions

There is a wide range of incentive benefits for teachers who accept positions in many rural or remote areas. Benefits vary from school to school and may be substantial, and can include the following:

  • additional training and development days
  • rental subsidies may apply
  • eligibility to apply for incentive transfer with special provisions, for example after serving a required number of years in a rural or remote school, there may be a provision of a priority appointment to a vacancy at another school in an agreed location
  • compassionate transfer status for your teaching partner, if you are appointed to or moving out of some rural and remote schools
  • a number of locality allowances, such as a climatic allowance, isolation from goods and services allowance, vacation travel expenses, an allowance for dependents, and reimbursement of certain expenses related to medical or dental treatment
  • one week of additional summer vacation for schools in NSW's western areas
  • a potential recruitment bonus for positions in certain rural and remote schools 
  • other possible incentive benefits.

Access Benefits of teaching in rural and remote NSW for more information on teaching in rural or remote areas.

Visit the department's Beginning Teacher information hub

Join the department's Beginning Teacher Support Network on Yammer

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