First Day Advice
Updated: Sep 28, 2019
It was during my very first day at my new school that I sat with my Principal and he gave me the BEST advice. It was so very simple. "Get out of your office and meet people"
So I found a buddy in my guidance counselor and off we went. We grabbed our coffee and hot cocoa for her and set off to meet the staff we would work with day in and day out. We call them "Walk Abouts" and I would not start a day without them. In fact, on days when we have those early morning staff meetings, we still find time to get out and see what's happening in the school.
These walks have opened the door to building the ever important relationships with the teachers and support staff. By engaging in personal and professional conversation, even if it's just a "Good Morning" and a wave from the hall, we are letting the faculty know we are here for them and ready to help. During these walks we have heard about a new baby on the way, an ill child at home, a bad drive in and a roaring headache (I am always armed with Tylenol). We hear about the kiddo that suddenly stopped engaging in class or is spending 30 minutes in the bathroom every afternoon. These conversations give us a bird's eye view of what is going on with the children and adults we serve. Have you ever asked yourself "If I could only be a fly on the wall"? Well we are and the information in invaluable to the work we do.
As school nurses and even school counselors, we work on these small little islands. I had worked in a different school part time prior to this position and I knew no one. The teachers had no idea who I was. The students, only if they came in to see me. I did not speak to families and administration never stopped in. Now, I am part of the community, both in and out of school. I see the time spent "walking about" as a first priority. Many nurses I share this with respond "I could never get out of my office for a minute to do that" or "Not in my school, no way!" I get that! My office was also a constant stream of foot traffic. In my next installment, I will explain some changes I made to decrease my office visits and free up time to not only "walk about" but also teach lessons and play the occasional kick ball game at recess.