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Les Potter is currently the Assistant to the Superintendent (Educational Services Overseas Limited) in Egypt. He received his doctorate from the University of South Carolina. Les has over 45 years...
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Congratulations - You Are Just Hired!

Once you are offered the position, there are several next steps.

You should have provided vital information to the human resources department at the school district: such as a social security card, drivers license, passport, etc. You will probably be drug tested and fingerprint. HR will ask for your work experience (usually 5-10 years), all college transcripts, professional certificates, etc.

Most school districts will have orientation opportunities so you may be better informed about your benefits, medical and insurance plans, sick days, your expectations and responsibilities.

Most teachers are hired prior to the start of the new school year. This is helpful as you will hopefully have district in-service days as well as pre planning days for you to get ready for the students. If you are hired after the school year starts, you should get the HR orientation opportunities but will probably miss out on the district in-service and obviously, pre-planning days.

Learn as much as you can about your students, the community, the school itself (culture), curriculum you will be teaching, standardized tests, evaluations, beginning teacher programs, get your keys, laptop, email addresses, teacher and student handbooks, district and school policies, etc. You have a lot to learn and know in a short amount of time. Your department head or mentor will become your new best friend! When in doubt ASK.

Hopefully you should be assigned a mentor or a "buddy" to help you with your everyday tasks. If not, find a colleague to assist you. Remember the first year will be the most difficult and each year after that will become easier for you.

Do not reinvent the wheel. Beg and borrow from your colleagues. Don't be jealous that they have a lot of "stuff" and you do not. It takes years to build up resources, tests materials and supplies.

It will help you and your career if you develop a good work ethic. Teaching is not easy, it takes a lot of time and dedication. Arrive early and stay late, a first year teacher will have to. Don't take on too much, too soon in school or outside of school. Don't be the yearbook sponsor, basketball coach, after school tutor, drama sponsor and start graduate school your first year. Learn your teaching job first, that is your number one priority. Yes you are a role model. Look and behave as a professional educator. You can be friendly with the students and care about them but don't become their friend. That can get you in hot water fast. Become a lifelong learner, issues in education are always changing and you should keep up with them. Go with the flow of education, change will happen, accept it and embrace the change. Do not say or act negatively about your profession. Your administrator(s) want you to be successful, work with them. Do not get caught up in the political infighting that can take place between teacher unions and the school district. Be positive and enthusiastic in your new job. You will get discouraged at times, we all do, but if you have good support systems in place at school and at home, you will get through it and do know that all teachers go through it. If you have to go to the teachers' lounge, wear ear plugs! Do not get caught up in the school politics or rumor mills.

Always do your very best---your students deserve it!

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Dr. Les Potter
Assistant to the Superintendent
American International School West
Cairo Egypt
[email protected]