Advice for Parents of Students Changing Teachers in the Spring

Sometimes with the change of the seasons and the start of the New Year teachers change work assignments, change schools, or even move on to different things.  Sometimes parents move to a different town, or parents might simply chose a different school for their children.  Changing teachers, classrooms or schools is not uncommon even in the middle of the school year.  My son for instance will be changing schools this year in December.

Students who have an unfamiliar teacher or even a new class in the middle of the school year are naturally anxious about the change.  Working with a new teacher in an unfamiliar setting can present unique challenges. Sometimes these challenges can overwhelm a child and prevent them learning, but also these challenges can be a new learning experience unto itself.

You can help your child adjust by having a conversation about how the new teacher may have very different expectations.  Make sure your child understands that a new teacher means new rules, new expectations, and a different structure than what they might be familiar with.

Help your child deal with these differences by giving them the opportunity to process any frustrations over new rules.  Possibly the new teacher does not allow gum in class, or pens are not allowed.  Discuss the possible reasons for this and help your child cope with the changes.

Reassuring your child at the end of the day and offering positive feedback on their accomplishments is always a good idea.  If you utilize a behavioral contract with your child, specific behaviors necessary in the new classroom can be identified, tracked, and rewarded.

Put Your Student's Mind at Ease

Let your child know that the new teacher will want to do things differently.  Remind your child that the way things were done in their last class may not work in his new class. It might be helpful to explain that no two people do things the same way.  For example one parent might have different rules than the other parent, or do things differently.  This might be a good metaphor to present to the child to help them understand that people will have individual differences.

Most of all you can let your child know that whatever the new teacher expects them to do you will be there for support.