In today’s uncertain economic times, many of us face a new or withdrawing student on a regular basis. Homes are being foreclosed upon, renters are moving in and out, and it seems like everyone is struggling financially.
I can remember moving across the country as a third-grader and starting at a new school mid-year. What a scary time for me, especially as a very quiet, shy 8-year-old (nothing like my boisterous personality now).
But some of the things my new teacher, Mr. Morgan, did as well as some of my own ides will help your new student feel more at ease:
- Be prepared. Have at least one set of new materials ready and on-hand, including textbooks, workbooks, a sharpened pencil, and desk if possible. Also have a complete set of beginning-of-the-year paperwork put together, ready to send home with your new student on his first day. I keep my materials ready in a two-pocket folder that transitions into a homework folder for my students.
- Have a helper. Select a student or two to serve as a guide during a new student’s first days. Be sure to train your helper ahead of time so she knows what to do.
- Make introductions. Instructional time is priceless, but you will do a disservice to your new student if you don’t take five to ten minutes to introduce him to the class. Allow each child to introduce herself to the new student as well and tell something about herself.
- Notify other staff. Have a system in place to notify other staff members, such as special area teachers and the counselor, about your new student. Whether it’s a note in their mailbox or an e-mail, don’t surprise other teachers with your new arrival.
While we don’t particularly care to acquire new students mid-year, it’s a fact of life. Be ready to face this challenge head-on and make sure you make your new students feel welcome. What are some strategies you use in your classroom to make this challenge easier to face? Please share!