Misty over at Think, Wonder, & Teach is holding a linky party geared toward answering questions from student teachers.
Here is the question for today: How should I build relationships with my colleagues?
1. Email your cooperating teacher before your placement begins if at all possible. Usually you can look on the school website and if you know the teacher's name you might be able to email them from the staff page. Give it a try. Teachers love to communicate via email because it is quick, but we can set it aside until we are ready to read it. It takes a little of the pressure off us during the stressful times of day.
2. Hopefully your cooperating teacher will take you around the building and introduce you to the school staff, but you do walk into the office on your first day... I would advise you to get to school that day pretty early. That way you can introduce yourself to the secretaries before they are too busy to do anything but give you a visitors pass and tell you which way to get to the classroom. The school secretaries know everything! If you get there early, introduce yourself, and act professionally nice, they will report that to the principal. The principal might not be there that early, but they will ask the secretaries if they have seen the new student teacher!
3. In my experience, the principal came down to the classroom and introduced himself/herself to me on the first day. (I had 2 student teaching placements.) One was more intimidating... Just remember to be nice and say yes ma'am and no sir. :)
4. Your cooperating teacher will introduce you to the grade level team. Get to know these ladies and gentlemen. They will be a treasure trove of knowledge for you to tap into during your time at their school. Don't be afraid to ask questions! Ask if you can observe their classrooms, as well. You need to see as many teachers at work as you possibly can.
5. The dreaded lounge...
I would encourage you to sit and eat wherever your cooperating teacher sits and eats. This is just professional courtesy. Yes, people might blow off steam in there and yes, sometimes it can take a negative turn, but you need to learn how to deal with that. When you have your own teaching position, are you just going to hole up in your classroom and be the hermit teacher? You can control how you react to those negative situations.
Try this: When you are asked to weigh in on something that makes you uncomfortable just say, "I don't know what I think about that, but I was wondering..." Get their minds on something else! Ask them a question about the building, classroom decor, student behavior, strategies for hallway behavior, or a school-wide policy. Try to connect it with what they were talking about, but try to make it a positive.
6. You want to leave a positive impression on these teachers. You never know when you might work with them again. Or when you might work with their niece, sister, in-law, or friend. I have really noticed that people in the education field know each other, so be careful. Be yourself, but strive to be the best version of yourself!
I hope these answers help you! Good luck!