How do you feel/handle getting a new student in the middle of the school year?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Em_Catz, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I feel awful saying this, but when new students come during the middle of the school year, while on the outside I smile at the child and pretend to be thrilled, inside I'm feeling a sense of dread. Not because bigger class sizes worry me, but I'm worried about this child's effect on the peaceful classroom environment.

    I've only been teaching about seven years during which I can count on one hand how many times my grade level has gotten new students who blended right in without hitch. Unfortunately, middle of the year students typically arrive at our lovely little school due to less than favorable circumstances such as -

    *being kicked out of private school for severe behavior/academic concerns

    *were about to be referred to special education, so parents remove child and cross the county line b/c the paperwork won't follow

    *trauma to the child such as abuse, parent abandonment/death, custody battle, etc


    What sorts of things do you do to try and make the transition as smooth and non-disruptive to the other children as possible?

    I usually -

    1. Try to place the newcomer near a responsible, well-behaved child hoping they'll pick up on their habits. I tell the responsible child to show the new kid around

    2. If the new kid isn't especially social, before recess I'll find one or two "nice" kids in my class and ask them to invite the new child to play (adding, Don't tell them Ms. Catz asked you to do it. Just be a good friend)

    3. Ask the new child questions about their old school

    4. Remind the other children "We need to set a good example for our new friend. If s/he sees you guys acting foolish, not listening to the teacher, then s/he will think that's how we act in Ms. Catz class."

    5. Send home the Back to School night "Welcome Packet" that we put together

    6. Send home a note to ask the parent to send me any old papers the child has from their former school so I can see what they were working on
     
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  3. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I teach in a small, rural school. I am always wary when I get a new student mid-year because it often means they are running from something. I don't know if it is coincidence or not, but every time I have gotten a new student mid-year they have been super weak academically and/or a huge behavior issue. The biggest red flags are when they come between April - June.

    I do many of the things you do to help them transition into our classroom smoothly. If I sense there are going to be behavior issues (or if there are right off the bat!) I pull the child aside and let them know my expectations. I have explicitly said to a child who told me that at his last school he only had to work when he wanted, "Welcome to our school. In my classroom we work - all day. It's not a choice. I'm not mean, I'm here to help and happy to help. But we work. All day." That quickly turned him around!
     
  4. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I introduce the child to 1-2 students and ask them with the child to include them at recess. I'll say something like, "New child, this is Tommy and Julie. They are going to take care of you at recess today. Tommy and Julie can you make sure New child knows where to play and what to do when the buzzer goes? Tommy and Julie what would you like to play with New child at recess? New child, I don't want you to worry about recess at all, so you just ask Tommy or Julie if you have a question and they'll take good care of you. Have fun outside!"
     
  5. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Jan 4, 2013

    Oh heaven help me when I get a child around that time!

    WOW! I love that! I hope you don't mind if I use something similar. The "I'm not mean" part is the icing on the cake.
     
  6. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I have gotten 3 new students so far this year. So far, so good. My class loves when we get someone new, helps me make sure we have supplies ready (example, math and social studies journals which I provide for all students) and are very welcoming.

    I usually try to talk with the student first thing and make them comfortable. I am a little concerned about my latest, because he can't tell me anything he had done in math so far this year (example, fractions, geometry).
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Phenom

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I had a girl in my class that had the craziest, worst behavior I've ever seen. I can't even describe it all. Hitting kids, throwing desks and other supplies around the room, destroying the room, running around and screaming, running out the door and screaming down the hallway multiple times per day, running into other classrooms and screaming, etc. She moved in October. I cannot imagine the poor teacher who she ended up with...maybe someone that had a nice little class and then all of the sudden this student shows up! The upside for me is now I'm the one with the nice little class!

    I haven't gotten a new student since the end of Sept. (about 6 weeks into school) and she is just wonderful. She came knowing NO English (literally didn't even know how to introduce herself) and she has made so much progress in every area. She is brilliant! She speaks as well as my native speakers now and is one of the top students in the class. I am thrilled she came before October count because I get her test scores!
     
  8. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Jan 4, 2013

    OMG:eek: that sounds EXACTLY like a little girl who showed up in my first grade class a few years back. She arrived around late April and she (for lack of a better word) was CRAZY! Her poor mother was so stressed because she and dad had gone through a divorce and whenever the child was with Dad, she was a wonderful, perfect little angel. At school and with Mom, she was a TERROR. Dad didn't believe us or Mom whenever he'd come in for conferencing. :mad:

    :thumb: Good for you! I love those rare occasions when a child comes in that actually ADDS to the classroom environment making it even more positive, rather than takes away from it. I had one little boy similar to your girl. He came in mid-September, was amazing, then left around March. I'm sure his new teacher was thrilled:)
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Virtuoso

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    Jan 4, 2013

    My school has rolling admissions, so I sometimes will have a new student every day, maybe two at once. I'm thrilled when they come with transcripts, but they usually do not. In that case, I go through the material we cover for class to check for how far behind the student may be. It takes almost as much differentiation as it does for my IEP students, but we get through the school year together.
     
  10. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Go for it - it was quite effective. Our students need to know our expectations!
     
  11. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I had a child once who was part of the witness protection program! We called her Kaitlyn but it was obviously not her name. She was 6...but maybe not?

    The day she left, we were told to act like she just did not show up today. Leave her things. Could not even tell her classmates that she has moved. Leave her work on the walls. No goodbyes. So sad. I wonder about her. What she had to hold in and hide. Plus, how safe were we?
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I have 21 students...one moved right before break, only to be quickly replaced by a new enrollee...despite the fact that my grade level partner has 16 kids she's responsible for, plus 4 that leave for a majority of the day for sped services.:dizzy:Not complaining though...this kid is much better off with me.
     
  13. swansong1

    swansong1 Maven

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    Jan 4, 2013

    Our part of the state has a very transient student population...I think people coming to chase their dreams and things not working quite like they had hoped.

    So, we get and lose children all the time...no biggie...I just assess where they are and try to fill in the gaps as best as we can.
     
  14. mkbren88

    mkbren88 Comrade

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I lost 4 students right before winter break. 3 were moving back to Ireland for their parents jobs, and 1 was moved to a self-contained SPED classroom at a different school. I know that I will be getting all new students this semester since I now have the lowest class size at 23. I've never had new students come in the middle of the school year before, but I'm sure I will adjust just fine. No student can compare to the SPED student that I lost.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Jan 4, 2013

    So far, the 24 kids I had on day one are still with me.

    However, one of my kiddos moved during break (ran into the family last week) and mom isn't sure if she'll be abe to drive her kiddos across town to school each day (two working parents in the family, but dad leaves for work at 6am and doesn't return until after 5pm because he works out of town).

    The house they purchased is directly across the street from another elementary school, so I wouldn't blame them for enrolling their children there rather than arranging for morning and afternoon tranportation for their children.

    I have such an amazing class this year and I'm afraid to see who'll walk through the door if this child ends up moving to a different campus. Plus, she's such a sweetheart and I love the family (I've had the two older siblings).
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 4, 2013

    Won't the child HAVE to transfer to the new school?
     
  17. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Jan 4, 2013

    No--parents can sign a waiver to have their children finish the school year at their current school (if they provide their own transportation).
     
  18. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I have had pretty equal numbers of great kids and not so great kids. This year I got an awesome kids whose teacher must be my twin because he tells me 90% of the time that his old teacher said/did the same thing :)

    One thing I did that made it easy was to get a few large ziplocks and when I got things together for school I put a complete set of beginning of school papers for parents and extra things that I need (desk tags, labels, etc...) in it and whenever I sent home important letters I stuck an extra copy in the bags. It made things so easy when my new studen arrived :)

    I let the new student get adjusted and then if they seem comfortable I let them tell about thier own school. When they say things that are the same I say, hey we have that too, or that was a good idea, maybe out class can do that. I also try to call the parent the first day during my conference or after school to reassure them and give them a chance to tell me anything or ask questions.

    I teach near oil refineries that are a huge source of jobs, most new students are here because a parent has gotten a job there.
     
  19. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Jan 4, 2013

    How DOES that happen? I've noticed that certain teachers on my grade level never seem to get new children, whereas others the moment a child leaves, a new ones pops in to take their place.

    Does the administration favor these teachers or do they genuinely think they cannot handle more kids?
     
  20. alm111

    alm111 Rookie

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    Jan 4, 2013

    I never got new students before this year because of transfer rules in the program I taught. This year, I got one kid a few days after school began (no biggie as we were still doing intro stuff), one in October, and one in November. I also was supposed to get one in September, but he didn't show up. I lost a fabulous kid in October as well. The one I got in October has been fine. The one I got three weeks later...oh boy. He has completely uprooted my class! After knowing something was off, I was able to contact his old school in another state. His dad totally hid the behavior plan stuff, but he sure couldn't hide his son's behavior! I can only imagine how relieved his old teacher must feel. As it stands now, all the fifth grade classes have the same number of kids. One teacher hasn't gained or lost any this year, so the next new one should be hers. She can have them!
     
  21. alm111

    alm111 Rookie

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    Jan 5, 2013

    That's wild! Poor kid. The uprooting alone has to be tough on someone so young, let alone what she may have endured. I'd kind of question your safety as well. Who is supposed to see the art still hanging on the walls?!
     

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