In this excerpt, Carolyn McGown suggests questions that new teachers should ask experienced colleagues.


Every school and district have differences in curriculum, practices, and
policies. In addition, many schools, or administrators, have idiosyncratic
requirements or expectations that are not posted anywhere. No single
person and no book can adequately predict or understand all of them.

For this reason, a new teacher must reach out to more experienced staff
members or administrators for information about district-specific and/or
school-specific policies and procedures. This chapter sets forth questions
that a new teacher should ask of his/her new colleagues. The questions
are arranged alphabetically, in three groups, depending on when in the
year the information is most necessary or applicable:

• Part 1: Before the first day of school
• Part II: The first week or two of school
• Part III: The first month of school (before the first marking period)

Part I: Before the First Day of School

Arrival Procedures
What time do the students arrive?
Do teachers pick up students from a common area?
If so, what time are teachers expected to be there?
Does each class have an assigned place? What's yours?
What is the contingency line-up area in case of inclement weather?
Do the children have to line-up in a certain way (size-order, boys' and
girls' lines, etc)?
Who is the staff/faculty member in charge of Arrival/Morning Line-Up?


Attendance Procedures
How is attendance taken?
Is there more than one attendance form?
Where are these forms turned in?
Is there a time when these various forms are due?
Who is the staff/faculty member in charge of attendance forms?
Are students allowed to help with the attendance forms? (Some
attendance forms are legal documents so there may be limitations on

Bathroom Policies - Students
Is there a required procedure for bathrooming students?
Are certain bathrooms designated for certain grades?
Is there a time when no student can leave the classroom to go to the
Must students "sign out" when they are out of the classroom?


Appendix 1: Questions for Senior Teachers
Classroom Survival Page 218 Carolyn McGown