In the early days of your teaching career it's totally normal to feel like an imposter at your school and can be hard to shake off that 'new person' feeling. Not only that, but your main focus is likely to be thinking about all the things that go on inside the four walls of your classroom like your pupils, lesson planning and marking. It can be easy to form a comfort zone which can then make it feel more tricky to become a part of the wider school community.
One of the best ways to really feel like you belong is by getting to know the other members of staff, especially the Senior Leadership Team. There are many reasons why building relationships with the SLT can not only benefit you in your teaching career but also sets a positive impression to the type of teacher (and person) you are.
Why is it important to build relationships with the Senior Leadership Team?
- You can learn a lot from them. SLT teachers would have been in the exact same position as you as an ECT and have worked their way up through the years to become a senior member of staff. If you'd like to find yourself in the same position one day then they can help advise you on how to get there.
- It's good for building confidence. Getting to know the SLT on a professional level will help you to feel confident when in their presence instead of intimidated or nervous. Remember there's always a chance that they could pop into your lesson to observe without notice, so having that relationship will help you to stay focused on your lesson and more relaxed.
- To feel like part of the school community. If you're finding it difficult to feel like part of the school then having a good relationship with the SLT will most definitely help you to feel settled.
How to build relationships with the Senior Leadership Team
- First impressions count. Did you know it only takes a matter of seconds to form a first impression of yourself? This doesn't mean stop every member of the SLT that you pass in the corridor for an introduction (everyone has places to be and lessons to teach) but a quick smile and hello will go a long way until you get an opportunity to properly introduce yourself.
- Share your thoughts in meetings when appropriate. Speaking up about an idea that you have in meetings will show that you're confident, you care and that you want to get involved the school community.
- Ask for their advice. There might be an area that you find you're struggling slightly with or maybe you feel inspired and would like to get to know more about how they worked their way up to a senior level.
- Show respect. This means listening to what they have to say and taking it on board. The key is if you have respect for them, then they will have respect for you back.
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