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A Guide to Starting New Assignments in the Back-to-School Season

August 23, 2023

As summer winds down and the back-to-school season approaches, agency workers in the education field may find themselves facing unique challenges.

Whether you’re a paraprofessional, special education teacher, 1:1 nurse, school nurse, counselor, SLP, PT, OT, or any other role, preparing for a new assignment involves a different set of considerations compared to a permanent role as a district employee. This guide is here to provide valuable insights and practical strategies to confidently navigate the back-to-school season & get the most out of your assignment!

Create a Routine

In agency work, adaptability is your strength. Navigating the demands of assignments alongside your personal life calls for a high degree of flexibility. Craft a routine that not only caters to your work commitments but also offers space for necessary adjustments. This approach also enables you to seamlessly integrate self-care and wellness practices into your daily life. By doing so, you’re taking proactive steps to ward off burnout, rather than reacting to it once it’s already taken hold. Remember, maintaining your own well-being is paramount. Keep your cup full!

Practice Effective Communication

Open communication is key in a new assignment. Introduce yourself to colleagues, administrators, and staff members. Establishing connections and showing your willingness to collaborate in your first few encounters will set you up for a much more rewarding experience and enable you to do your job better with access to resources. Plus, one of the invaluable benefits of agency work is the ability to network with those you meet while on assignment. Craft professional relationships that could help you get the most out of your career during these times!

Understand School Policies

In addition to federal and state policies, every school has its own policies and procedures, even some unspoken norms you will learn in your first week. Take time to familiarize yourself with these guidelines, from health protocols to emergency plans to the school’s culture and norms so you and your students are set up for success under your guidance.

Stay Updated on Industry Trends

As an expert, your knowledge of education, healthcare, and staffing trends positions you as a valuable source of information. You can impress colleagues with your input to build professional relationships and network while helping to make a positive, evidence-backed difference in your time there.

Share Your Expertise

As a seasoned professional, your insights matter. Whether you’re a paraprofessional, nurse, counselor, or therapist, collaborate with colleagues to implement effective strategies. Your contribution enriches the school community!

What to Expect: Healthcare vs. Education Roles

Healthcare Roles

For 1:1 nurses, school nurses, SLPs, PTs, OTs, and other healthcare roles in schools, the back-to-school season brings increased demands for medical and therapeutic support. Be prepared for health assessments, specialized interventions, and collaborating closely with educators and families. They rely on your expertise to support the children how they need to be supported, so being prepared here is key.

Education Roles

As a paraprofessional, your role in supporting teachers and students becomes crucial. Expect diverse tasks, from classroom assistance to one-on-one support. Flexibility and adaptability are required to enable you to contribute to a positive learning environment, as no two students’ needs are the same and no two days are the same when supporting in learning environments.


As the back-to-school season unfolds, remember your role’s significance in educational institutions. Embrace the transition, communicate effectively, prioritize self-care, and leverage your expertise. With dedication, you’ll be sure to enrich your career and have a dynamic, rewarding shared experience with those you assist in your role. GHR is here to support you on this journey of growth and impact.

Interested in taking on a contract role for the school year?

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