In my case, my homeroom class has been collapsed to make way for a new class which is opening in the school, and which I am taking over. (It's the first time in my career that reorganization is affecting me personally so drastically.)
That means all five of my math classes will now be likely taught by someone else, as I take on a brand-new "main" class of students, and one supplementary class, most of whom I've never met before.
And the five groups of students I am leaving behind will go with a strong foundation to carry them into their new classes: Together over the past weeks we've immersed ourselves in learning the basics of accountable talk, effective communication, and digital citizenship to support BYOD. We've also begun to explore a variety of problem-solving strategies and how to use them within the framework of the "G.R.A.S.P." problem-solving model. Students have been exposed to Edmodo and online learning etiquette, and I've had a chance to acclimatize to Grade 6.
But there were tears…
My old homeroom class was the hardest: After having a group chat in the circle with our principal this morning to talk about the transition, we read the book "Voices in the Park" together. Then I had students brainstorm the different perspectives relevant in our own story, following which they wrote letters to a recipient of their choice - me, or their new teacher, or a new student coming into the class.
Some of the students' tears were matched by my own as I read there and doing letters to me, and their empathetic letters to my new students.
There were tears in my incoming class as well… A kind colleague willingly covered my class so I could go down to the cafeteria this afternoon, where the students moving into the new class I am to take over had been released from their respective "old" classes.
At least two students were crying; they were as distraught about leaving their old homerooms as my own students had been this morning, and I felt for them.
After the principal made a few introductory remarks, she left them alone with my new charges, and we got to know each other a little… I began with my "two truths and a lie" stories, and left them to ponder whether each statement was true or false. We will begin next Wednesday morning by taking up these "stories", and hearing their own stories so that I can get to know them as well.
In the meantime there's plenty of behind-the-scenes work to be done: New teaching resources and materials to be pulled together (I'm no longer just a math teacher!), new class lists to be printed, new virtual classrooms to be set up on Edmodo, 50 new names to be learned, tracking sheets to put together, copies for first weeks plans to be made, unshakable 3-week cough to be kicked...
Wish us all luck!