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New Kid in Town

With my father in the Air Force when I was growing up, I attended many different schools. Two kindergartens, two second grades, two thirds….you get the idea. So I know a little about trying to fit in, figuring out “the rules”, and finding friends.

Tomorrow I have another first. After twelve years at Stafford Middle School in Plattsburgh, NY, I accepted a teaching position in North Carolina. Soon I will teach 7th grade students in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School District at Culbreth Middle School.

Last Thursday, the other new teachers and I started school early and received such a warm welcome. From the opening gathering with the superintendent to lunch with the principal; from the custodians helping us prepare our rooms to the organized binder filled with information; from the box of supplies prepared for each of us to the gathering with our mentors at the principal’s home, we have been made to feel valued and welcomed.

In the morning, I’ll drive to my new school and meet the entire faculty and staff. Once again I’ll put into practice my “new kid” survival techniques. If you know a new kid or are going to be one yourself this fall, here’s how I do it.

1) Smile – I keep a smile on my face even when I feel nervous, scared, or lonely. It is much easier for others to talk to me if I look approachable.

2) Learn Names – I borrow a yearbook from the previous year, write down names when I’m in meetings, and study the nametags on doors. Then when I talk to people I try to use their name in conversation, as well as use little pneumonic devices to help me.

3) Be Kind – Is there someone who needs help? Appreciate what others do for you.
Give honest compliments. Positive energy is the best kind.

4) Be Open - Let others get to know you. Go outside your comfort zone. Volunteer. Raise your hand. Participate in conversations. Talk.

5) Listen – Pay attention to what other people say. Learn what you can about their lives and hobbies. Take an honest interest in them.

For those of you who are in the same situation as me: Have a great time with your new beginning! I love to explore new places, make new friends, and learn about new ideas. Throw your arms wide open ~ live your life with joy.




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