It is inevitable that all of us will be getting new students throughout the year. Do you just wait for this to happen or do you have a plan? For a continued smooth sailing year, it is best to have a plan!
Make New Student Bags
One of the best ideas that I saw on Pinterest years ago was to make “new student bags.” Right now you are probably busy making copies and getting things ready for each student. Do yourself a favor and make a few more.
Our school was a revolving door. Students seemed to come and go weekly! Apart from the extra few I would get the first few days of school, I could always count on getting about 3-4 new students by the end of the year. My magic number was 6 new student bags. Here is what is inside:
- your welcome packet/info packet to hand to the parent or send home in thier backpack
- school supply list
- a couple pencils
- a blank name tag/plate
- a big sticker that makes them feel welcome
- an assessment sheet (as easy access for you)
- a take home folder
- anything else important that you usually give your students on the first week of school.
Let your current students know that new students might join them
Make sure you are doing something that gives this student a warm welcome. I was a new student twice in my life and I can tell you that I absolutely hated it. I felt isolated and I remember crying because I didn’t like feeling that way and not knowing anyone. Every time a new student walked through my door, I would try to remember that feeling. Why would I ever want a new student to feel that way?
After a few weeks of school when the the rush slows down and our rosters are pretty much “set,” I take the time to talk to my students. We talk about how in the future, more friends might be joining us in our classroom. It is also a very powerful talk because I tell them about my story. I explain to them exactly how I felt and ask if they would ever like to feel that way (which of course they don’t!!). This gives them a better idea of what it might be like for the “new kid.” They all immediately can’t wait to be the best friend of a new student!!
Make your new student feel welcome
On a good day, notice would be given that we would be getting a new student. If you get notice, prepare your students a little bit. Remind them of the conversation that you had about this. Make sure your classroom greeter is ready!
When your new student arrives and the greeter welcomes him/her to your class, let them know how excited you are to have them with you. Make them feel wanted! I would always let my other students come up and say hi rather than leaving him/her in the front for everyone to stare at.
Usually after this, everyone is super eager to be his/her friend which really helps the process.
Make sure to “check in” with your student throughout the day to make sure he/she is comfortable!!
enjoy the transition
I won’t sugar-coat this. I get it… it is frustrating for teachers to get a new student. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into getting a new student. The best way to make this a positive transition is to be prepared and have a good attitude. As a teacher, this transition is inevitable. Do what you can to be organized for this. Take it all in, enjoy your new student. Enjoy how your other students show off their social skills with taking their new friend in!