If anybody knows about starting over at a new school, it’s me. When we leave one school to start another, it can be extremely stressful and exciting. What I like about starting over is that everyone is adjusting to a new school year. No school year is exactly the same, so in some way, everyone is starting over. When I think about it that way, I’m less nervous. If you are starting over at a new school this school year, this is your opportunity to make it your best school ever. Starting over is never easy, so I wanted to share some general tips that will help make the transition to a new school much easier!
Learn Their Way
I get you’re an experienced teacher, but when you go to someone’s house, you have to play by their rules. Yes, you would maybe do things differently, but you should not just yet. Respect, appreciate, and be okay that things are going to be different. You can’t walk in the door and try to change how your new school does things. In the beginning, you need to learn how to do it their way. I always like to see how one school/district does things differently than my last school. If you are moving to a better school/district, then you should learn a better way to get things done. Remember, you left your old school for a reason, be ready to learn!
Be Friendly, But Not Too Friendly
When we start a new school people want to get to know us, and we want to learn about them. This is perfectly fine, just remember to keep it professional. In general, my coworkers don’t know much about my personal life, and I don’t want them to. I have nothing to hide, I just like to keep my work life and personal life separate.
With that being said, my coworkers still know me. They know I love 90’s music, yoga, traveling, and I like laughing a lot. There is a way where you can be friendly without letting them know your every move outside of the building. Be careful because we know there are those coworkers who will spread your business around to everyone. A red flag is if they tell you extremely personal things about themselves within the first month or so of meeting you. If they do this, trust me, they will tell everybody your business. Until you get the lay of the land, be friendly, but limit conversations about your personal life. Most importantly, if you don’t want it repeated, don’t say it.
Be Confident, Not Cocky
You got the job because your principal felt that you were the right person for the job. Just remember, you are new and have things that you need to learn. Be confident in your abilities, but don’t be cocky. Nobody likes a know it all. Don’t think that you know more than the teachers who have been at the school for years.
When I start a new school, I like to show, not tell. I’m really good at differentiating work for my kiddos. Instead of telling everybody how good I am, I make sure that if someone comes into my room, they can quickly tell that my kiddos’ work is differentiated. You know you’re a great teacher, let your work be the messenger.
Don’t Take on Too Many Roles
I made this mistake this past school year. I was at a brand new school-district and teaching a new grade. I decided to start an afterschool club shortly after the school year started. In my head, it sounded like a great idea. But, it turned out to be a disaster. I was exhausted, and it wasn’t fun. I was soon dreading the days that I had the club because I just wanted to go home. Instead of spending some time preparing for the next day in the afternoon, I was coming in early to get stuff done. Eventually, I ended the club because it was too much. I should have gotten used to everything before adding more to my plate. I put way more stress on myself than I had to. Don’t be like me. Take it easy until you have everything figured out!
Keep it Positive
For most of us, we are making a choice to start over at a new school, so go into it with a positive mindset. Know that no school is perfect. Handle its imperfections with grace. If you see a problem, think of a solution, but don’t complain. You don’t want to be known as the new teacher with a bad attitude.
The hardest part about coming into a new school is that you will be surrounded by people who don’t know how good they have it. They will complain, let them. Don’t get sucked in that pool of negativity. I have this issue every time I change schools. There are always those teachers that complain about everything. It is annoying. They don’t get how much energy it takes to fight off the negative vibe that they bring in the building daily. I had a teacher ask me one day, why was I so happy? It was 7 am ya’ll, I was so confused. Some of us will never understand those people who make a choice to be in a bad mood. Stay strong and keep it positive.
Changing schools can be stressful at first. Be willing to learn the ropes, show your administration why they hired you, don’t take on too many roles, and stay positive. You will shine this school year if you work hard and have an open mind. Check out my FREE Back to School Guide to get prepared for this brand new year! Let me know how you adjust to a new school in the comments below!