Tuesday, 13 December 2011

What I want for this blog

Dear Everybody,

I spent a few hours in the last few months gathering data about my students with respect to transience or mobility.  What I found was not exactly "heartening."  A quarter of my students had moved five or more times from kindergarten to high school.
Less than ten per cent of my students had shared my experience of having one elementary school and one high school.  One student had changed schools 17 times!  I did not want to use this information as an excuse.  I want to use it to point out to my staff and the staffs of our "feeder" elementary schools that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

What I want this blog to "do" is establish a forum of ideas to help the students that move several times throughout their educational careers.  Although I have ideas of my own, I know that the more people who put their minds to this issue, the better the chance that we'll find solutions that will work, not only for "my" students, but for students around the country.

As I see it, there are at least three ways that transience can affect students:  academically, socially, and emotionally.  It is important to deal with all three to improve the situation for a transient student. 

Examples of solutions are: 1) academically - a family of schools can arrange courses so that topics are taught in the same order.  When a student moves, for whatever reason, from one school to another school in the same family, they will not be missing much in the way of material being covered at school; 2) socially - the receiving school can act in the same manner as "Welcome Wagon," providing families with information about the neighbourhood they've moved in to, such as who their Member of Parliament is, who their councillor is, who their trustee is, etc.  It could also provide information about local restaurants and grocery stores, along with coupons for these institutions.  It could also provide an application for library cards; and 3) the receiving school could provide a mentor or "buddy" for the student to help them adjust to the new building.

I have many more ideas, but I'd like to hear from you.

1 comment:

  1. Re: Academic issues

    It would certainly have helped me to be able to pick up the same subjects exactly where I left them. In most cases I was able to catch up fairly quickly in a new subject, especially with help from involved teachers who put in extra time to help me. I'm sure switching to a new subject is difficult for a lot of kids--usually the first two weeks or so were a frustrating time for me.

    Mostly, I moved during breaks in the school year, so what I really hated was that I often had to take the same subject several times, only because that's what the kids my age were scheduled to learn that particular year. I cannot tell you how many times I've taken American History/Government (and consequently developed such a dislike for the subject that I've blocked useful information from memory). So many years I wanted to take ancient history, mythology, European history, geography, anything! Just not the Articles of Confederation again! But I wasn't allowed to. This was prior to high school--I would eventually have more freedom in my class choices, although still limited due to different prerequisite requirements in different schools.

    I'm sure I would have appreciated (1) more flexibility in class choices, such as sitting in on a different grade's history class, and (2)more consideration from high school counselors, who were sticklers for exact prerequisites, and who sometimes dismissed credits I took because the class didn't "fit in" with my new school's curriculum. (How do you categorize a trimester of German when you only teach semesters of Spanish?) I know that these things seem rather complicated to arrange, and it's easier not to apply special rules to special cases, but I think a little less bureaucratic rigidity would have helped me into the courses in which I would learn the most effectively.