Thursday, 27 August 2015

Be True to Your School

Earlier this week we took the minions to visit their brand new before and after school program, where they'll be spending a great deal of their time in the coming months.  We wanted to ensure that they had some familiarity with the location, the kids and the Early Childhood Education workers who will be spending a significant amount of time with them, While Chris and I spoke with the program supervisor, they ran around giggling in excitement of what's to come in the next week and a half.  Each day, the number of questions they ask about their new life in Jr. kindergarten increases as they get ready to say goodbye to many of the friends who will either remain in daycare or will be attending different schools.
As the anticipation and nerves mount, from the kids, but mostly and mom and dad, I can't help but compare how similar starting kindergarten is to any beginning be it life at a new school, starting a new school year, or beginning a new job.  I have a recent and intimate understanding of life at a new job and hope that this experience helps me become a more understanding parent in the weeks to come, as Molly and Jack adjust to "the new normal".

Jack, reaching for the stars!

Here are 8 Secrets to Adjusting to a New Job, School or Experience

  1. You don't know what you're doing and that's okay.  Just Breathe.
    So you're the new kid?  Most people understand what it's like to be in your shoes, and good leaders and managers will be able to provide you with support, training and patience to help get you started on your way.
  2. There might be some culture shock.
    Any new situation will have distinct differences from your past. Change is a good thing and you can adapt, whether it's an adjustment from having your own office to an open concept floor plan, to a new way of holding meetings or a teacher with a unique style of explaining new concepts.
  3. It will take time to understand expectations from your teacher or supervisor.
    You probably aren't psychic (I know I'm not) and it's going to take some time to understand expectations (this isn't just about pop quizzes and new assignments - it's about everything from dress code/gym uniforms, to how to prepare a TPS report, to unspoken rules about recess/coffee breaks).  Be inquisitive, ask questions, ask for guidance and ask for feedback regularly.
  4. Sometimes you are going to feel overwhelmed.
    Change is scary and sometimes it can be downright terrifying, but without change we don't grow.  New challenges will help you master current skills and develop different ones. Who's ready to learn to read?
  5. What about the cool kids?
    Cliques are going to happen, both around the water cooler and the monkey bars.  Be pleasant, be kind and be yourself .  The people you meet or connect with on your first few days may not become your new BFFs and that's alright, you are there to work and learn.
  6. Patience is key.
    Despite what many experts say, it can take longer than 21 days or a month to form new habits and acclimatize to a new situation. A study published in The European Journal of Social Psychology found that on average it takes 66 days for a new habit to become automatic, with a range of 18-254 days for someone to form a new habit (two-eight months).  Give yourself enough time to decide if this is the right fit for you.
  7. Give it the old "college try".
    College try is an expression for a reason.  Work hard, but forgive yourself for newbie mistakes. Don't obsess.  Learn, adapt and move forward.  No one is perfect, and neither are you.  The sooner you accept that the better you'll feel about your grade on the spelling test.
  8.  Be kind to yourself.
    There are going to be good days and bad days and it's hard to keep up your confidence when you're learning so much new information.  Treat yourself to time with friends and family, a good book or a new Ariel Barbie doll or a He-man Merman figurine (these are actual things that my children want, which may be a part of our unconventional back to school shopping list) to celebrate how far you've come. 

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