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Getting to Know Faculty and Staff

You are setting up your schedule and are wondering how to best introduce yourself to the staff and faculty members at the school where you will be servicing students.  If you assume that the company you contracted with will do this for you, you have, in my experience, made an incorrect assumption.  For example, after taking an hour or two to develop a professional looking/sounding letter introducing myself, I asked if the letter could be disseminated and received an assurance that, “yes,” it would be placed in the faculty/staff mailboxes.  As the school year began, I eventually found out no one received the letter.  What can you do to ensure you are properly introduced to faculty and staff?  Let’s look at the possibilities, and you can decide if any of the suggestions might work well for you.

1. As you begin to set up “shop,” ask the office for a list of all the staff in the school (not just the teachers) along with their email addresses,

2. Ask for the list containing the teachers’: full names, room numbers, email addresses, and classroom phone numbers (if applicable).

3. Develop a professional looking and sounding letter, but avoid using professional jargon as it may make you sound aloof.

4. Individualize the letter by using the staff/faculty member’s name in the “Greeting.”  For example, “Hello Mr. Jones,” sounds warmer than “Dear Staff.”

5. Include a short paragraph about yourself, your experience (e.g., “I have worked with students for over 28 years and am excited to share my knowledge and

passion for Speech/Language Pathology with you!”), if you have children or pets in your family, and maybe even a hobby of yours.

     a. The trick is to keep it short and to the point (e.g., I have 2 teenage children that keep me busy, and I am a fan of, “Harry Potter” books),

     b. I like to include my philosophy or mantra if it is related to work (e.g., “I service each student as if s/he were my own because I want to provide the

same high-quality services I would expect for my own child”).

6. I usually include a brief explanation of what teletherapy is along with providing the link to ASHA’s video about telepractice as this makes a very nice visual

introduction of what we do- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4s20-faVI8

     a. Strongly encourage each person to watch this video as it will answer most questions staff/faculty may have.

7. I strictly keep this letter’s purpose as an introduction but will include, toward the end, a sentence explaining that I will be sending another email, to watch for,

with important information such as:

     a. Listing students in his/her class that need to be scheduled,

     b. Asking for the classroom schedule (i.e., recesses, lunch schedule, etc.),

     c. How you will be scheduling students (e.g., calling teachers, emailing),

     d. Providing them with your tele-helper’s (or e-helper’s) name, and

     e. Explaining what the tele-helper will be doing (e.g., Mr. Tim will be coming to pick up and walk back with your students at the scheduled times, stays in the

Speech Room helping and observing during teletherapy).

8. Finally, include the contact information you are comfortable giving out.  Keep in mind that the teacher may share this information with parents, so if you do not

want parents calling your cellphone number, stress to that staff member to keep your number confidential (only for the teacher’s use).

     a. Provide the “best times to contact” you, and

     b. Note that you would like to collaborate with him/her on a weekly/monthly basis by: phone? Video-conferencing?

9. Once you have constructed your letter, proofread it well because spelling and grammatical mistakes are not attractive when conversing with other teaching

professionals.

     a. Have a friend or family member proofread it as well because we do not always catch our own errors.

10.If you have access to “Outlook” email, I recommend sending the letter through that system because it can be “tagged” before being sent, so that you are notified

when the email is read by the recipient. This is very beneficial because then you know who opened the email and following up will be less confusing.

I hope this information helps you generate an introductory letter that you feel represents your professionalism.  Starting the year off on the right foot is critical because as much as we wish we could have a “do-over,” we only get one chance to make a positive, first impression.
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