Children change schools for a few common reasons. Parents may move for a job or divorce, which necessitates the move to a new school. In other cases, parents elect to have their kids switch schools for personal, social, academic or athletic reasons. Whatever the motive, school changes can have negative consequences.
Peer relationships are important for the confidence and academic success of students at various ages. When a child switches schools, he may leave an environment where he knows most of his peers and has several strong relationships. At the new school, he doesn’t known anyone initially and may feel isolated. This puts pressure on parents, the student, the new teacher and school to help the child quickly adjust and engage in social activities.
The majority of kids change schools at some point, according to a July 2009 Phys.org article. This reality not only affects individual students, but classrooms as well. Teachers have to take time away from normal schedules and academic routines to assimilate new kids into their classrooms. While the entering student has to adjust socially, the other students also have to adjust to the presence of another personality.
Students face a variety of academic challenges from switching schools. First, grade-level curriculum can vary from one school district to the next. Thus, a student may change to a school where his competencies or experiences fall short of, or exceed those of peers. Within the school year, different teachers and classrooms move at different paces, so a student may come in ahead of, or behind the new school’s schedule. Teachers also have different teaching styles and methods, which may involve a learning curve for the new student.
Success in school is often built on strong collaboration between the school administration, teachers and parents. Students who periodically or constantly change schools make it challenging for all parties involved to build strong relationships. Teachers may need time to assess a student’s abilities to properly place him in reading, math or science groups, or work teams. Schools also rely on transfers of educational and personal records to assimilate the student, which can take time, especially with multiple, fast moves.