The First Big Question
The very first bit of anxiety that has building all summer is, “Who will my teacher be?” Students (and parents!) sometimes have a predisposed notion of which teacher they would like based on who a friend or brother or sister had. Please trust me when I tell you hours and hours go into creating class lists for the fall. Our Leonard teachers place students based on many different variables which ultimately results in finding the best teacher/student/classmate match for your child. Reassure your child that they are in the very best place for them, even if they don’t realize it just yet!
The Second Big Question
As soon as that scary teacher question is answered, the next question is, “Will I have any friends in my class?” Sometimes a child gets upset if their very best friend from last year or their neighborhood is not in their class. Help your child see this as an opportunity to make new friends or improve on friendships that they perhaps started in previous years. You can always reassure them too, that all of third grade has the same lunch hour, and we share as many of the am/pm recesses as our schedule allows, so they will have plenty of opportunities to see their friends throughout the day. Plus, there are always those after school and weekend play date possibilities!
Wait! There is Still More to Worry About!
This is the year your child has finally made it to the “big kids” hallway and playground! While it may not seem like a big deal to an adult, this can be a big adjustment for an eight year old. For some, moving to the other side of the school may even make them feel a bit out of their comfort zone. Before school starts it would be a great idea to bring them to school to check out their new room, where their specials are located and even the restrooms (no bathrooms in the classroom anymore!) I especially love having students stop by before school even starts so I can say hello and let them know how excited I am to have them in my class. I know on the first morning of school when I go outside to meet and greet the class before the bell rings, those that I’ve met previously are always quick to wave and flash me a smile because we have already made that small personal connection.
Another thing that will put students at ease is knowing they are prepared well in advance. Label your supplies, pack that backpack and put it by the door a few days before the first day of school. There tends to be more anxiety associated with last minute preparations as students worry that they may have forgotten or don’t have something they need. If you are planning to buy the supplies off the suggested supply list but haven’t gotten to them yet, assure your child that it’s alright. I hit Target, Staples and Office Max weekly starting in July, purchasing extra supplies so no one will ever be without what they need.
Finally, in my welcome letter to the students, I asked them to write me a letter for the first day of school. If they are still feeling any anxiety, this would be a great place for them to tell me what they are nervous about or ask me a question they might be wondering (and worrying) about. Please don't let your children or yourselves feel stressed about this letter! The boys and girls should just do their best and of course you can help them out. The letter does not have to be long and I will be not be grading it! (Phew!) Instead I'll use it as a tool of communication between your child and myself. I love reading the letters and students love getting a letter back from me (probably because I give them a little treat with it!) and it is just one more way for us to make a connection early in the school year.
I am truly looking forward to spending the 2012-2013 school year together, and I hope you are as well!