One week in to the school year at my new school, and can I just say that I am pleasantly surprised by how smooth the transition has been? I am almost afraid to write this post for fear that the proverbial other shoe will drop, but here it goes.
I promised a post on the good, the bad, and the ugly of starting over at a new school, but fortunately, I don’t have too much bad or ugly to tell you about. I suppose the most challenging aspect has been simply figuring out where the students are educationally at my new school. I’m quickly figuring out the line between too easy and too hard, and I think the students are figuring out quickly what I expect and rising to the occasion in return. I suppose another challenge is re-establishing my reputation amongst students and parents, but I find that the best way to do that is just to be honest and forthcoming, work hard, and enjoy what you do. I have also found that being honest with the students about the fact that I’m new and I’m bound to do things differently or make some mistakes in the beginning goes a long way towards getting them on board and getting them to see me as human. Finally, I think the last big hurdle is one to which many, many students can relate: finding friends – work friends, that is. I had so many great colleagues at my former job that I miss terribly at times, but I know it takes time to get to know new faces and find a circle of work friends.
I am loving my new schedule. Our school operates on a rotating schedule, so while I see all my students each day for 47 minutes, I see them at different times. It’s great because it changes things up for me and my students. The students also get an “academic prep” period in the morning (a study hall but also time to see teachers) and a help session (if they need it) at the end of the day for make-up tests/tutoring before sports and other activities. This allows students time to see teachers and really get the help they need. It’s awesome!
I also am enjoying the general policies and procedures. The students seem to know the rules and abide by them for the most part. I have yet to have issues with disrespectful behavior, etc. Now, I did have some students who failed to follow directions with an assignment, but when I explained that they would be docked some points, there was no arguing and the issue was over. (At least, I think it’s over. :))
While I think my new school and its people has a lot to do with the easy transition, I think I didn’t take into account that my previous 8 years in the classroom would make starting over much easier. I was expecting to feel like I did 6 years ago when I began teaching upper school history – lost and overwhelmed. I didn’t account for all the experience that I had under my belt. Let’s hope this easy transition continues into my second week!