And now.....a note about class placements written by Joy Warner....
Whether your child is waiting for the name of an elementary teacher, an advisor, or his/her middle school class schedule, students often face the same emotional challenges. This is the time of year when our children can begin to fret about teachers and friends in classes for the coming school year. Please read the words below and consider having conversations now to set the stage for a happy and healthy transition to the next grade/teacher/class.
As a parent of a recent college graduate and a high school graduate, I can promise you that disappointments are going to be present for every child and young adult MANY times. Let’s help our children grow into resilient young adults. Every year we get emails from parents who want us to make class changes after the lists go out because they want a certain teacher or need a certain friend in a class. We do not make these changes, and I hope that you will read this message with an open heart to consider another way to talk with your child when concerns arise about the coming year.
When our children are sad, scared, disappointed, or angry about the changes, it is perfectly normal. However, this is where we as parents have a wonderful opportunity. If we acknowledge their sadness/nervousness and share times when we have felt the same way, we are not discounting their feelings, but we are also helping them learn about resiliency and facing typical challenges that life throws our way. We can take this opportunity to share important life lessons that will make them strong and ready for life as adults. I can honestly say that for my own children, many wonderful friendships have grown in new classes that they were initially upset with the placements. I am thrilled that my own two children had the opportunity to learn this important life lesson while at CSD. When they come to me (and they do!) saying that they are mad, rather than immediately agreeing with them, I affirm their feelings and tell them that I understand. I also, however, do not give them the impression that this can be changed. Instead, I let them know that when I feel this way, I am often pleasantly surprised down the road and that I hope and believe that will be the case for them.
Remember that our children are watching us. If we appear distraught over a class placement situation, our children will certainly get the message that this situation is as terrible as they fear. Because we love our children, it can be difficult not to lose sight of things. Our initial response is a desire to "fix" their problems. I know that I find this to be true for me quite regularly! Please know that learning resilience is one of the most important gifts that we can give to our children to prepare them for life. Please remind your child that disappointments often lead to some of our best life surprises. Friendships change over time and that initial sadness felt when not placed with a best friend can end up as a blessing when they need a much-needed break down the road. As adults we often have to face many tragedies in life and we want our children to be prepared to navigate their way through these life challenges successfully down the road. Try to keep in mind that the smaller disappointments now can provide great practice for being resilient down the road. We do not have power over what happens in life, but we do have power in how we respond to it. It is critical as parents and educators that we help our children learn that the world doesn't end when something goes wrong and that we do have the power to turn something difficult into something wonderful.