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In this blog series we talk about the ins and outs of an excellent new teacher orientation programme at an international school. A new teacher orientation programme can really play a very important part of your start at your new school, in your new host country.
Must-have #2: A pick-up from the airport from administration
New international school teachers to a school probably have experienced one of these three different ways of being picked up (or not be picked up):
• The administrator’s driver comes to pick you up, and the driver doesn’t speak English very well. There are moments in the long car ride to your apartment when you start to feel insecure. You also start to second-guess everything that was discussed with you during the interview and during your email communication with the administration. You arrive at your apartment complex (or what you hope is your apartment complex) and the driver doesn’t know where to bring you as they weren’t told which apartment you were staying in and don’t have the keys. Luckily, two other staff members just so happen to be in the lobby when you arrive and were able to help you sort everything out and get you into your apartment. You could’ve been more stressed-out with this situation, but you were so jet-lagged that it fortunately didn’t phase you too much.
• No administrator, no staff member, not even a driver comes to pick you up. Even after discussing your arrival flight details via email, nobody shows up at the airport. You are carting your 3+ bags around the arrivals-lounge looking for somebody with your name on a sign or something. After looking around for 30 minutes or so (trying to keep your eyes open based on the fact that you just got off of a long, red-eye flight), you decide to use your credit card (you don’t have local currency yet or a mobile with a local sim card in it) to make a few calls. Nobody answers their phone and you decide to go to the airport information desk. They suggest a hotel to stay at and you take a taxi to get to the hotel (which cost you a lot of money!). Finally, you get in contact with the school via email once you get the wifi working in your hotel room. Luckily, the school ends up paying for the phone calls, the taxis and the three nights you stayed in the hotel, but it would have been less stressful for sure if somebody would’ve been there to pick you up and bring you to your apartment in the first place.
• The director himself comes to pick you up and is waiting clearly in the arrivals lounge as you walk out from baggage claim. You know who to look for because he is the one who has interviewed you and hired you in person. He even brings along another one of the new teachers so that you can already have a person to contact. Using his own car, he drives you to your apartment (that the school has helped you organize through another teacher at the school). The director has the keys to let you in. In the apartment he gives you a free mobile to use with a SIM card (a phone from a teacher that just left the previous school year) so that you can immediately start to be in contact with everyone just in case any emergencies arise. After making sure that you are comfortable and ok in your new apartment, he drops off a bag of “starter” groceries for you which includes some basic necessities. A nice touch to a wonderful, less stressful way to be picked-up from the airport when you first arrive.
To start things off right, it might be the most ideal if the person who hired you picks you up from the airport when you first arrive. Starting off on the right note is very important for an international school teacher, especially when you are bound to experience a bit of culture shock. One way to start off in the right way is how you get picked-up/arrive at the airport. Not having to worry about lugging your 3+ bags around trying to find a taxi can really lessen the stress and nervousness you might already be feeling, being that you have just relocated yourself to a potentially very different part of the world. Not having to worry about where you are going to stay your first night and how you are going to get there can also have a calming effect to your already tense feeling about this big move your have decided to make for yourself.
So, how were you picked-up at the airport when you first arrived? Please share your experiences!