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A Warm Welcome

As we prepare to head back to teaching, Cate Knight reflects on what helped her.

A smile and a friendly greeting can go a long way.

Cate Welcome

Many of my friends and family are preparing for the return to school in the next few weeks. There is a flurry of activity on Twitter in regards to resources, classrooms & new roles.

Anxious tweeters stepping into their first job or back into their old job, excited promotees ready to take on new challenges.

I think about what made things easier for me. The tips and tricks, the teacher hacks.

All I can think is….. it was good to feel welcome.

So many people reached out to help, to say “hi”. My placement school was warm and embracing toward its trainees.

We all want to feel part of something, to feel purposeful, needed and wanted. It’s a basic human desire. If we strip away the arguments about pedagogy and science and get down to basic wants and needs, “belonging” is intrinsic.

So, as we step forward into whatever the autumn brings us maybe it is time to think about how we can open hearts, minds and arms to everyone in our communities: teachers, learners, staff, parents and all those in our close proximity. Let us draw people in. Knit together the bits that are harmonious and, for the sake of belonging, set aside some differences to acknowledge the strong bonds that we share as humans. The need for security, love, purpose and belonging.

I was criticised once by an ex for talking to strangers in queues. “People think you’re weird” he said. He may have been right but to connect with another human is a wonderful thing and one we can all manage.

I may have been the only friendly voice they heard that day. Mine might have been the “hello” that lifted them enough to keep fighting. We do not know the full impact of our actions but if we strive for “togetherness” and unity in all we do then hopefully the positive repercussions will ripple outward.

Let us remember this as we return to our routines. Let us try to reach out a little more. Just because. Not for any other significance than because we can. Because belonging is good. Being welcomed is wonderful.

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The author

Cate has been a teacher for 20 years. She has worked internationally and across all key stages in the UK. Her secondary specialism is Performing Arts with a keen interest in PSHE/RSE. Cate is recently married with two cats who keep her busy and an allotment that requires more time than she can give it!

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