By Michael Iannini, Education Management Consultant and CIS Affiliated Consultant
CIS has talked a lot over the past few years about the well-being and support for students transitioning between schools and from secondary school to higher education.
Now, let’s talk about the transitions of educators between teams, departments, schools and beyond. I’ve outlined some ways school leaders can support them.
Transitions care was something I became acutely aware of and passionate about after attending a workshop facilitated by Dr Douglas Ota, author of Safe Passage: How mobility affects people & what international schools should do about it.
I have since not only continued to advocate for transitions care for faculty but was honored to be invited to serve on the Governing Board of Safe Passage Across Networks (SPAN).
The well-being of transitioning educators is most likely to be taken for granted, as they may be seen as leavers and, therefore, requiring less attention.
However, they deserve to leave the school just as they entered it—with the same degree of attention and consideration.
More importantly, we must acknowledge that the leavers are already in transition—trying to leave the school with a feeling of accomplishment and some dignity, while at the same time processing the move that awaits them.
SPAN will focus on sharing ideas that worked for leavers in their May 5th episode of ‘The Nest’.
In addition, there are also the ‘stayers’, the colleagues and students who have grown attachments to the leavers.
Attachment research indicates that the stayers will be impacted as much (if not more) by the transition of the leavers.
SPAN believes that in a shrinking world where internationalization is accepted and international schools are expanding, we bear a responsibility for the positive transition care of students, families, and educators.
SPAN believes that upholding standards for transition support and equipping and refreshing educators will help all of us fulfil some of our highest hopes for healthy students and families in our communities.
We have a responsibility to and for each other to ensure all students, not just the ones in our class or school, get the best of us as educators.
The danger of not attending to the emotional well-being of leavers, and stayers alike, is that they develop scars that will impact future collegial relationships.
Those scars will act as barriers to forming secure attachments with future team members, which is the foundation for transformative collaboration.
Transformative collaboration can only happen when there are secure attachments and trusting relationships, founded in shared beliefs and goals.
This type of collaboration drives innovation in teaching and learning.
I’ve outlined some ways we can support those educators and staff below. This post also provides guidance on how middle-level leaders in their team setting can support the leaver and the stayers to find peace of mind as they approach the transition.
Five ways to support educators and school staff
- Acknowledge staff are leaving and that this will affect members of the school community, especially those that have formed secure attachments to the leavers.
- Give the leavers and stayers a chance to be heard about how transition is affecting them personally and professionally.
- Take action to support staff affected by transition.
- Create opportunities for staff to connect during the transition and encourage them to stay connected beyond the transition.
- Select a meaningful parting symbolic of the leavers relationship to the school and give it at a goodbye party.
Learn more about the support available from SPAN, the newest CIS Supporting Member. If you would like to experience how we provision transition-care first hand, join SPAN for one of it’s monthly Nest sessions.