Foreign Service children move with their families every two, three, or four years. They change schools, they make new friends, keep some of their old friends, and lose touch with others. They experience foreign cultures, learn foreign languages, and cope with transitions. Parents, while guiding children through each phase of this mobile lifestyle, need to be strong advocates for their children with school administrators, teachers, and other adults involved in their education.
Talking to Teachers: When and What
As for any new student, the first day of school and first impressions can have a significant impact on their attitude toward their new circumstances. Here are some tips about whento talk to teachers and what to talk about to make that first impression and the rest of the school year positive for both your child and your child's teachers.
Ask the teacher if it is possible to give your child seating toward the front of the room. When they are new, this helps them feel more a part of the group instead of marginalized toward the back of the room.
If the child is returning to the area and has previously attended a school, ask if the child can be placed in a class with a previous friend. This could be extremely beneficial.
Tell the teacher about your child. Provide the teacher with information about the child's background and prior experiences. Teachers will hopefully note that Foreign Service children and the experiences they have to tell serve to enrich classroom instruction. One student wrote that she was watching "Lawrence of Arabia" as part of her World Geography class, and saw the scene where the army raced its camels across the desert for a prolonged period of time. Having lived and camped in the remote deserts of Arabia, this student knew a thing or two about camels and wanted to interject that if they didn't slow down, both the army and the camels would die! This presented an opportunity for the teacher to draw out such information and allow the student to validate her experience.
For additional help, contact FLO's Education and Youth Team.