Career Tips for School Professionals
If you walk into a school today, the classrooms may look the same on the outside, but the focus within and around the world of education has changed dramatically. The schools that you grew up in are very different than those that people work in today. It is often a battle to keep up on the latest educational buzz words. As a school professional, it is important to remember some items in keys areas along the way.
When hired by a school district or school, you must familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations for professionals working within their buildings. You can never assume that even two schools within a district have the same policies. First, you need to know the individual that you will report to and how frequently to do so. When working within a school, introduce yourself to the principal. Ask if there are specifics you should know about related to your responsibilities. Be sure to inquire about staff e-mails or updates so you receive them.
As individuals that work directly with children, you are a mandated reporter. Should you notice something that worries you about a student that you work with, know how the school handles these situations. Do not automatically call authorities or parents/guardians. The school may already have a file they are working on. You may need to connect with the school social worker, psychologist, classroom teacher, and/or principal.
Confidentiality is Key
If you work with students directly, you will often be privy to confidential information. This may include 504 Plans, IEPs, and/or testing scores. While you are able to read them, it is not for you to discuss publicly with other people in the school. If you need to talk to a classroom teacher or other school professional, schedule a meeting to be done in a private manner. It is often easy to slip and discuss a student in the hall or the back of the classroom. As a school professional, you need to remember to protect the rights of children and their families.
Most schools and districts will require continuing education credits for professionals working in their buildings. Make sure to check the requirements and see how they match up with any licensing mandates. In addition to items that you may be able to do within the work environment, be sure to subscribe to online journals, list servs, forums, or other professional resources that will keep you up to date in your area of expertise.
In addition to your own area, keep up on educational news within your state. Laws are constantly changing and you should be aware of these. It is also a good idea to keep up on areas that are not directly related to your field. Research how to work with special needs individuals, locate enrichment ideas for students that may need it, and be aware of how to recognize bullying.
The world of education is changing by the minute. As a professional working in this field, you may be proactive in keeping up in these areas and others throughout your career.