An induction programme for new teachers

Ali Ezzeddine, PYP Coordinator, SEK International School Qatar, Doha

Ali Ezzeddine, Academic Advisor, SEK International School Qatar, Doha

 In this article a PYP educator of a continuum school in Qatar presents an induction plan for new teachers joining the team.

The yearly turnover of teaching staff  is one of the biggest challenges for international schools. New teachers joining the team usually come from different backgrounds, cultures and with or without the IB experience. At SEK Qatar we believe that our induction is essential in building the school community, to ensure the sustainability and the ongoing growth of the IB programmes in our school.

Our school allots 12 days of induction which may seem a very long period of time, but in reality this is an excellent amount to start the year. When new teachers arrive to a new country, they have many concerns and their basic needs need to be met before they can start thinking about the curriculum, the philosophy of the school and the students’ needs. That is why we make sure that in the first 2 days, those basic needs are met. The first days of our induction are based on four open-ended questions, inspired by the PYP transdisciplinary themes:

  1. Who we are: teachers will get to know each other through games and team building
  2. Where we are in place and time: teachers will lean about SEK and Qatar and do a field trip to the mall and the museum
  3. How we express ourselves: teachers will learn about the culture of Qatar in this session
  4. How we organize ourselves: teachers will learn about the daily life in the school and some Human Resources points

Available on the OCC at occ.ibo.org

In addition to those sessions, we have the following big ideas related to the Programme standards and practices (IBO, 2014) that we explore in our induction:

  • The IB official workshop
  • The time for collaboration
  • Time for class preparation
  • ICT support and training

Building the team

“The school promotes open communication based on understanding and respect.” Standard A6

Building the team is a key factor for a successful school. “TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More” is our key message from day one at school. Team building in an international school is not an easy task as people come from different backgrounds. We have a diverse team of teachers from more than 10 different nationalities: New Zeeland, Spain, India, Pakistan, Greece, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Nigeria, Philippines.

During the first two days, the IB coordinators facilitate team building activities for the new teachers and on the first day the returning teachers are back, a group of them facilitates this task. We are one school that offers the PYP, MYP and DP, and we have one mission statement. These kinds of activities will not happen only at the beginning of the year, but it will take place once per term, where all the teachers and the admin team participate and have fun together.

Team building activities create stronger relationships between the members of the team which creates a supportive atmosphere during collaborative planning meetings. The school also ensures that there are opportunities for social events outside the school for the whole team.

The cultural awareness

“The school promotes open communication based on understanding and respect.” Standard A6

The Arab world, Qatar as an Islamic country, the desert, teaching Islam for Muslim students, teaching Qatari studies for all students, the Hijab, the pig, the alcohol, Ramadan, the celebrations, the left-handed people, the magic… Expat teachers come with a lot of questions related to those ideas which are connected to many stereotypes and prejudices. From day one we try as much as we can to clarify those points in the session about cultural awareness.

The IB official workshop

“The school ensures that teachers receive IB-recognized professional development.” Standard B2.3

“The school participates in the IB world community.” Standard A8

The school has a professional development policy that we share with all the teachers to ensure that all our new PYP teachers are trained in a category 1 workshop. Because we believe that we are lifelong learners we offer the teachers the possibility to also attend SEK Professional Development.

The time for collaboration

“Collaborative planning and reflection takes place regularly and systematically.” Standard B2

“Collaborative planning and reflection addresses vertical and horizontal articulation.” Standard B3

During this time, teachers will have the chance to collaborate and work together as one team or as teachers of one grade level, depending on the meeting agenda. We use “OneNote” to make sure that all weekly/ daily plans are clear and accessible by all teachers.

Teachers at our school do not only collaborate on curriculum work but also through their involvement in various social committees in our school.

Time for class preparation

The physical and virtual learning environments, facilities, resources and specialized equipment support the implementation of the programme(s). Standard B2.5

The classroom preparation: this is really one of the areas that takes time from teachers and puts a lot of stress on them if their classrooms are not ready. The school makes sure that teachers get all materials needed at the beginning of the year to be able to prepare the classroom environment. We recommend to the teachers to just prepare the framework of the class and wait for the input of the students to decorate the walls and boards.

ICT support and training

“Teaching and learning incorporates a range of resources, including information technologies.” Standard C3.11

The use of the new technology is essential in the school. We have Smart Boards in all the classes;  students bring their own laptop in MYP; there is a laptop trolley and iPad trolley in the PYP; two desktop computers in PYP classes; one computer Lab with Desktops and Mac; a 3D printer; cameras; microphone; many tools are fully integrated in the curriculum. We are a certified Lego school and to be able to meet the needs of our digital learners, we need to make sure that all our teachers are up-to-date. Our ICT curriculum coordinator organizes a mini PD session during the induction as well as provides ongoing training during the year. He participates in the planning meeting for each unit and makes sure to provide the teachers with the newest technology that helps in an inquiry-based classroom where learners take the lead and the initiative.

Conclusion

Our school’s whole induction programme model ensures that teachers’ needs are met as they transition to a new country; they are familiar with the requirements and policies of the school; and they feel that they are part of a team.

Ali Ezzeddine is a trilingual IB educator. Ali’s passion is to start new IB world schools. In the past, he was representing the IB AEM region for the PYP committee. He started writing and publishing Arabic books and spreading his love for reading and writing in schools around the world.

10 Responses to An induction programme for new teachers

  1. Mihai 30 August 2016 at 4:09 pm #

    Totally dedicated to a superior education! Thanks, Ali!

  2. Giovanna 31 August 2016 at 12:39 am #

    Dear Ali, I deeply agree that induction programmes for new teachers are an urgent task. It is every organization’s commitment to guide teachers on being aware of their new school and background of future students. By internalizing their needs and interests we will meet on the way to grow as learning communities and cooperate to construct knowledge. I congratulate the meaningful job you and your colleages do to train teachers and convey the IB philosophy, ensuring that it becomes in part of their lives, and showing coherence with their daily acts.

  3. VIncent 31 August 2016 at 3:10 pm #

    Hi Ali

    Great article and a fantastic beginning of the academic year for all involved.

    Wishing our school could “tap into” the energies that you are sharing so freely.

    Regards and best wishes for the 2017 academic year.

    Vincent, Duhok, Iraq

  4. Alana Gerrand 9 September 2016 at 4:51 am #

    Hi Ali,
    I loved hearing your ideas for induction at our jobalike. It’s a great idea to use the transdisciplinary themes as a base for teacher induction and also to have the team bonding time as a goal. I wish all schools had access to 2 weeks for induction!
    Have a great new school year!
    Alana Gerrand

  5. Maria Theresa Malini 9 September 2016 at 6:18 am #

    Hi Ali
    Its really good to read your article , its a boost for all the teachers who read this , Good job! Its so nice of you to share you thoughts with all. Wishing you all the very best for the forthcoming academic year.
    Maria Theresa Malini , Erode, Tamilnadu , India

  6. Loykie Lominé 16 September 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    Great article
    Very IB
    Very creative
    So many ideas apply to DP classes too (for example about induction)
    Thank you for this dissemination of good practice

  7. Rachel Defita 14 July 2017 at 4:45 am #

    Dear Ali,

    Great article!

    As a PYP teacher, I could feel the passion that burns within you. This kind of induction will truly guide new teachers, and refresh those who are returnees.
    I wish that PYP coordinators would read your article, to give them ideas on how to start a school year.

    I particularly find the open-ended questions based and PYP transdisciplinary theme inspired induction very creative and helpful.

    Best regards,

    Rachel, Jakarta, Indonesia

  8. Ritika 14 July 2017 at 4:45 pm #

    Thank you,Ali for sharing your induction process.
    Using Transdisciplinary Themes for induction is a great idea.
    All the best for the new academic year.

  9. Tania Doro 15 July 2017 at 2:28 am #

    Hi Ali!

    Your school is building and promoting a real IB community.
    Your teachers are living the IB philosophy since the very beginning.
    I have more than 20 years in IB schools and I ‘ve never had an induction like yours.
    Congratulations, amazing job!

  10. Mihai Catrinar 28 July 2017 at 11:38 am #

    Ali,

    Thanks for the most comprehensive professional development programme offered, implemented and sustained! Feedback is valuable, continuous and fantastic!

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