Changing Schools: How Moving Schools Can Be a Scary Time For You?

Group of kids in school uniform sits on the bench outdoors together near the education building.

Changing schools can be a scary time for you. You might feel excited about new things to see and learn, but a bit scared about having to get to know new teachers and make new friends. You will probably be sad about the friends and places you had to leave behind.

Children Change Schools for Many Reasons

– Maybe your family has moved to another part in town.
– Maybe your family has moved to another town.
– Your parents might have split up, and you have moved away with your mum or dad.
– You may have gone to live in another country (that could be really scary, especially if they speak a different language).
– Maybe you didn’t like your first school, and you are making a new start at a new school.
– Maybe you’re going to go to high school.
– Maybe your family moves around a lot because of work.

Whatever reasons there are for you changing schools, this can be a stressful time.

What Some Children Said About Changing Schools

“The scariest thing about changing schools is not knowing anyone.”
“There could be a subject where you don’t know what to do, and everyone else does.”
“When I came here from Germany I didn’t know anyone. It was like walking into a stranger’s house. When I came here, I didn’t know a lot of English.”
“I remember when I changed schools from Ireland to Australia, I was really scared on my first day. I did not know anyone at all. I still remember it.”
“When my mum went to Africa I had to change to another school because I stayed with my Auntie. I was very lonely.”
“I have lived in 5 different countries because of my dad’s work. I have learnt a lot about how people live in different parts of the world, I communicate by talking with my friends on the internet.”
“I didn’t like changing schools because I had to move away from all my friends.”
“When I went to a new school, my sister went too. As the first days went by I got to know things around the school better as well as the people.”
“Some of the kids welcomed me into their class, and some of them have become good friends.”

Thoughtful girl sitting at desk in school

Making Friends in A New School

– “Be nice to everyone.
– “Ask to play with people.”
– “Help people in the classroom and in the playground.”
– “Be your own friend, care for yourself and stand up for yourself.”
– “When you have a nice friend always play with them.”
– “I feel really shy when I am meeting new friends. I say “hello” then they say “hello” back and then I keep talking so that they won’t think I’m shy.”
– “It’s easy if you just get to know one person. It’s hard to go into a big group.”
– “Talk to the person who sits next to you.”
– “If you feel lonely or you want to make some friends the worst thing to do is to keep to yourself or be shy because then people will probably not notice you.
– “The best thing to do is to answer questions and make suggestions in class and be a happy person to have around, then people might want to be your friend.”
– “Smile at people, and they will want to be your friend.”
– “Don’t try to show off; just be yourself.”
– “Don’t go on about how good your last school was as people may think you don’t like them or the school.”

Changing schools is not easy, and you will feel a bit strange at first, but just go slowly getting to know people, and join in groups or clubs inside and outside the school.
If you don’t understand all the work, tell your teacher that you learnt different things at your other school.
Your teacher and the other kids will help you if you ask – and it’s an excellent way to get to know others.
Talk with your parents or carers and ask them to help you make friends by coming to the school, finding out about clubs and activities that other kids belong to, and getting to know other parents in the school community.
They will probably be feeling a bit lonely too.

Two best friends from school desk

When English is Not Your First Language

Maybe someone you know is starting school and learning to speak English at the same time.
Usually, kids who come to Australia will be able to go into a special program at a nearby school where they can learn to read, write and speak the English language before they join a regular class. There may still be special classes or extra lessons from an expert teacher to learners of English as a second language (ESL) after they have joined a regular class.
Imagine how hard it is for some kids who may never have been to school before, or who have come from somewhere unsafe, having to cope with a new life, a new language and a new school.
He or she will need friends to help them settle in.
– Friends do not tease people who are struggling to learn the language.
– They do not teach them to say ‘bad’ words.
– Friends help, support and play with each other and understand that beginning or changing schools is a lot easier if their new classmates are kind and welcoming.

Changing schools can be a bit scary, but it can be exciting.  It is always a good idea to think about what you want when you are starting something new.

Remember that you get to make a fresh start. If you had a few problems at your last school, you could leave them behind. You can get a new start at a new school!