Being the New Kid

Posted: 20th March 2016 by kkeerybi in Uncategorized

‘Twas the night before the final term (because no matter what the report cards say, we all measure terms by Christmas break, March break and Summer break, right?) and all through the house all the school kids were moaning:

  • “I don’t want to get up early tomorrow.  I just can’t do it!”
  • “I think I forget EVERYTHING about functions.  How is that possible?”
  • “How am I going to watch Tiny Houses in my pjs in the morning with hot chocolate and whipped cream if I have to go back to school?” (that, actually, is my ten year old. She’s kind of addicted to Tiny Houses.  I think she’s going to be an architect.)
  • “I don’t know what I’m doing – going to a new school.  What are the routines?  Will they get my juvenile and yet also sarcastic sense of humour?  How am I going to handle meeting that many new people all at once?  I don’t even know where the bathroom is!”

It wouldn’t take much investigating to learn that the final thought listed above is my own.  Tomorrow, I move to a new school in a new position.  I like new experiences and have jumped jobs at least every three years for my whole life so I get used to change fairly quickly.  Still, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get the butterflies and feelings of self doubt that are pretty common night-before-the-first-day-of-school for students and educators alike.  I do.  Um.  A lot.

It has me thinking, though, about our students.  Change is constant in education.  Whether it is new schools, new teachers, new classrooms, new friends, new ways of learning, new tools for learning or just new challenges in learning, we ask students to change constantly.  As I learn more and more about the importance of maintaining a person’s mental health and well being before learning can occur, it makes me wonder if there are things we can do to prepare students better for the constant changes they face when they come to school each day.

This is the first time I’ve gone through a job change where I’ve been actively thinking about this.  So I’m going to keep an eye out and reflect on my own experiences in the next few weeks and let you know.  In the meantime, if you have some tips, I would be happy to hear them.

By the way, I have Tiny Houses set on the PVR.  We have a hot chocolate and whipped cream date tomorrow night after school.

  1. Aviva says:

    First of all, have a wonderful first day at your new school tomorrow! I hope that despite the hecticness of it, you get an opportunity to enjoy the great firsts too. When I blogged a couple of years ago about my fear of change, you gave me some great advice to “connect with the kids.” Kristi, you’re a natural at this, and if things get overwhelming tomorrow, I hope that the chance to build new relationships with kids, makes things better.

    I also believe in preparing kids for changes in routine. Maybe it’s my many years of working with kids with ASD that make me think this way. Sometimes I prepare with a verbal reminder (eg, Tomorrow, you’re going to have a supply teacher.). Sometimes it’s with picture cues. As I told a friend the other night, I often Google a new supply teacher’s name to see if I can find a photograph online. Often just seeing a picture of whom to expect makes the children feel better. This is why I like visual schedules in the classroom. We usually flip ours at the end of the day with the children, so that they can see what to expect the next day. Routines make people feel calmer. I’m learning this in my self-regulation course as well. Even as an adult, I love the big week at a glance schedule we have in the staff room to prepare us for changes in routine. Our online calendar does this too.

    I’d be very curious to hear what others think about this!
    Aviva

    P.S. Enjoy your hot chocolate date tomorrow night. Sounds yummy! I wouldn’t mind a splash of coffee in mine. 🙂