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Dr. Les Potter has over 53 years in education in the US and Egypt with 45 years in school and university administration. Currently Les is retired from full time employment but is a consultant at Core...
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Welcome Back to School! Freeing Teachers To Work In Their Rooms

It is the most exciting time of the year as teachers start returning back to school. Teachers and administrators are looking forward to the new school year. Many administrators think that this is a time for team building and professional development in the short time before students  arrive. As a former principal, I learned that teachers are anxious to get into their classrooms and prepare for school to start.

What I was told was that our teachers appreciated how I approached the three day pre-service time. We had a breakfast on the first day in the cafeteria, usually sponsored by the PTO, where we introduced our new employees. At our welcome back breakfast we included everyone: teachers, assistants, secretaries, custodians, administrators, etc. We believe that all employees are important to the smooth function of the school.

After the breakfast, introductions of new folks, giving of small gifts, we would hand out updated teacher handbooks and other forms and notebooks. We would only go over any changes that they needed to know. We would not waste the teachers time reviewing the same materials they used last year. Then teachers would go to their rooms to prepare.

The next day their might be subject and grade meetings (I would meet with new teachers to review handbooks, explain the culture and climate of the school and answer questions). The rest of the day the teachers work in their rooms. The last day of pre-service we would meet to go over the first day of school. Then teachers are back in their rooms. After lunch, students and parents would be on campus to pick up their class schedules, lock, lockers, free and reduced lunch forms, bus schedules, etc.

The point of our three days prior to the students arriving was not to team build, motivate, speakers,  have professional development, etc which are all important but we felt this was not the time for it. Teachers are much more concerned about being ready for their students. We also allowed teachers to come to school prior to pre-service and the weekend before school starts.

My point is that I feel that teachers want this days to be ready for school. Although other activities are important but for another day!

Good luck to you and I hope you have a safe and wonderful school year!


Les Potter, Ed.D.

Retired educator 

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