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Dont forget to welcome newbies
cafeteria pix copy
Among the Manteca Unified Nutrition Services staff helloing feed students this year. - photo by MONICA CANE/Bulletin correspondent

All of the Nutrition Services Department staff for Manteca Unified School District participated in a two-day staff development training earlier this week in order to provide the best service for students. 
 The training was well organized and had many breakout sessions that covered topics such as food safety, menu planning, communication, budgets and more.
 One particular breakout session was considered exceptionally fun and thought provoking as participants were broken up in teams and required to act out skits demonstrating how to best welcome a new employee.
The activity caused class members to reflect back on when they were the “newbie” and what it was that made them feel welcomed on their first day as well as how they can do better at welcoming the next new hire when the opportunity arises.
As I sat in on this particular breakout session where the presenter discussed the importance of everyone getting involved when it comes to making a “newbie” feel welcomed, I recalled a major welcoming faux-pas that I did last year. 
 A new substitute came to help us in the cafeteria for the day.  We were very busy and her help was much needed.  I was in the midst of a task when she walked into the kitchen so I didn’t approach her right away, instead, I kept on working but made a mental note to say hello and welcome her when I was done.   Unfortunately, I never got to it.
 After completing my initial task, I went onto the next one, then the next and the next after that.  I completely forgot about welcoming the new person as I was lost in my “getter-done” mindset.   It wasn’t until hours later when she approached me and introduced herself on our lunch break that I realized I had made no effort at making this new person feel comfortable.
 Like most people, I know firsthand how being new to the group is not easy and so I apologized for being inconsiderate, in which the “newbie” received my apology graciously. The new sub was a lovely lady and we ended up talking non-stop through lunch and found that we had a lot in common.
I was reminded while sitting in the breakout session, that while the sub did not get her feelings hurt by my lack of welcoming concern, how much nicer it would have been had I greeted her and welcomed the moment she arrived.  
 Just as a new employee appreciates someone taking that first step to welcome them when they are the “newbie” on the job, a new student at a new school appreciates it just as much if not more. 
 As school starts this week, if your kids are returning students, remind them to keep an eye out for those “newbies.”  Share with them that stepping up to say hello to a new student not only helps them feel comfortable but just might open the door for a great new friendship.
 A few tips for welcome new students to school:
Be the first to say hello.
Learn a little about him/her by asking questions. 
Share a little about yourself and find out what you both have in common.
Show him/her around.  Point out where the library, lockers, restrooms, classrooms are, and of course don’t forget the very cool lunchroom. 
Invite him/her to sit with you at lunch so they won’t have to sit alone on their first day.
Introduce him/her to your friends and to others in your class. 
 Whether you are on the job on in the classroom, welcoming “newbies” only takes a few moments and can make a world of difference.