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Saturday, February 27, 2016

When a Student Moves Away

Do you remember when your friend moved away in grade school?  Or maybe YOU were the one that moved away during those elementary school years.  I can still remember the names of my classmates that moved away: Linda, MaryBeth, Martha and that was many decades ago. Do you remember how you felt...sad, confused, hurt, nervous, heartbroken or a combination of these? 

Well, yesterday our class had to say good bye to one of our own.  Not only was this hard on the student who was leaving, but for many of the classmates. 

Fortunately, the school knew in advance that the child was leaving which gave us the opportunity to make some preparations for his departure.  (When Martha left we had no idea - she just wasn't in school the next day!) Informing the class ahead of time (when the student was out of the room) and answering their questions made a difference in how students would deal with the change.  Speaking privately to the student moving allowed him to share his thoughts and feelings.  A deep sense of loss was shared by many.

Luckily, we live in a day where technology can help us stay connected.  (When Linda moved away we lost touch until we recently found each other on Facebook).  Now we have so many ways to contact with those that move.  Hopefully, this student's new class will be willing to Skype with us. 

On the last day we were able to present the child with some gifts.  Students each made a page for a book.  "A Day In Our School Without Our Friend is Like..."  an Xbox without games; a banana split without bananas or ice cream; a hotdog without the dog; the stars on a lonely night.  Along with these were sentiments of how and why the student would be missed and a picture of the page's author.  A school tee-shirt was signed by all the classmates and some other small gifts were shared.
It's never easy to say good-bye but as educators we can help all involved cope with the change.  Here are some resources that might be of assistance.

7 Great Children's Books About Moving 
Education World - Student Mobility: Helping Children Cope with a Moving Experience
We Are Teachers: 5 Ways to Say Goodbye to a Moving Student



  1. What a sad and scary thing to move away from your friends and sad for the friends who are left behind. This sounds like a great idea for when you know a student is leaving. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It is so much better if we have time to prepare those involved. Thank you for taking the time to comment Dawna.

  2. Helping students with their feelings is not something that we usually think teachers do. Moving is such a traumatic event for everyone, especially children. Recognizing the sense of loss that their friends feel and taking steps to help with that speaks to how amazing your school community is. High 5 Nancy Carroll and Boyden Elementary!

    1. Teachers do what they can to make all involved feel as comfortable with the situation as possible. You have witnessed first hand, in your line of work the anxiety that moving can cause adults so you can really imagine what it would be like for a 10 year old! Thanks for taking the time to comment and thank you for your "high 5"!

  3. Elementary school years are some of the most important years for children. They learn so much there, find friends, play together, share food and hangout together and when we have to bid a good bye to any one of them we often feel sad for days. But that's how it is at end of the day. My little ones just started going to Williamsburg Northside elementary school and i can relate to what i used to be like when i was of theie age.

  4. Thanks for sharing this! One of my students is possibly moving and it's heartbreaking. I think this will help me and my students tremendously.
    Meagan Davis


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