Welcome back to this week’s segment of After School Tea Time! Get your tea cups ready because we have more to spill this week! Keep your questions coming because you could be helping someone who has similar questions!
Question from Fairfield County- There are a few students in our program who do not favor one of our staff members. These students get along with our other staff members, but not with this one particular staff member. The staff member is also fairly new to our program so maybe that might have something to do with it. This has caused some issues in our program. What can we do about this?
Hey Fairfield, thank you for asking this question. Having new staff members in a program can be difficult especially if students have already developed relationships with older staff from the beginning. The new staff member and students both have to adjust to the situation. Relationships with new staff can be difficult, especially if the children already have their “favorites”. New staff coming in have to try to fit in with the existing staff and flow of the program and at the same time build a positive relationship with the children while learning the ropes of the job. One strategy that has worked well in helping to avoid this is to establish a buddy system for new staff. This involves pairing them with more seasoned staff to learn from and since they have an established relationship with the children, they can help break down barriers in getting to know the new person.
The additional benefit of this strategy is that staff that are mentoring new hires are also getting leadership experience that can help them advance in your program and the field. I would also suggest incorporating some sort of welcome event for this new staff member. Introduce them to the students and have the staff member speak about themselves and what they are looking forward to in the program. A formal introduction can help put some of the students at ease. They won’t feel like a random stranger just showed up in their program and they’ll be able to learn about the new staff member as well. Also, have the new staff member talk about their interests and hobbies. This will also help the students connect to the staff member if there are any similarities. Here is an article on how staff members can build trust within their programs. We hope this helps!
We’ll see you next week for another segment of After School Tea Time! Don’t forget to submit your anonymous questions here.