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How can I be accepted as part of the school staff?

Number one on the list is to look and act like a professional teacher. Dress smartly. Buy some new shirts. Make sure you are clean-shaven and get a hair cut. For female teachers, dress conservatively. Skirts below the knees and arms covered or partly covered. No bare shoulders. Shower and smell nice. The number of times, over the years, I've heard complaints from students about smelly teachers! Carry some spare deodorant in your school bag. We all know how hot it can get in Asia.

Walk with an air of confidence no matter how you feel inside. Smile and say hello to anyone who engages in eye contact. This will command a certain level of respect.

An important element of being a successful teacher is to feel a sense of belonging at a school. You want to maintain your individuality but you must also try to blend in with the rest of the staff. New teachers are often incredibly enthusiastic and are desperate to throw themselves at the job full on. This can be too much for many of your new colleagues. Remember they may have taught at the school for years and years. They will possibly have staunch opinions about their co-teachers, the management, students and parents. Do not let them influence you but do calm down a little. Pay close attention to how much of your conversations with them are about you. If you spend all your time convincing people how well qualified and experienced you are for the job you will only fall harder at the first stumbling block. There always is one!

New teachers work at their best with some kind of support system. Identify colleagues with whom you can develop a close, open relationship. Teaching really should be a team effort.

Remember you belong in the school as much as anyone else.


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