This assembly looks at the feelings of children and teachers as they start the new school year

All over Britain, schools start back this week. Most children will be starting in a new class with a new teacher and many will be starting at a new school.

Resources
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Introduction
Well, it’s the start of another new year at school. It’s lovely to see all the old, familiar faces and lots of new ones, too. For some of you this is your first year in our school – for others, it’s your last. We also have several new members of staff [introduce them, if appropriate].

We’re all starting new classes and will be learning new things this year – and I include teachers in this, too. We never stop learning throughout our teaching lives and, I hope, you’ll never stop learning throughout your lives, too.

Of course the first week of school is also a nervous time. We all have new routines to settle into, and there are people new to the school who need help finding their classroom or the playground or the toilets or the staffroom. But I’m sure everyone here will be helpful and patient with the newest members of our school.

I’m sure you can all remember what it feels like to be the new boy or the new girl: whether you’re worried about getting lost, being late, or doing or saying the wrong thing. What did you most worry about when you were new? [Take suggestions]

Yes, we’ve all had those worries! What were the things that took all your fears away? Was it something someone said or something someone did or was it just realising that there was nothing to worry about? [Take suggestions]

Today’s story is about someone’s first day at a new school – her name is Jenny.

Story: Jenny’s First Day
Jenny checked her pencil case for what must have been the millionth time – and for the millionth time she could see that she had two blue pens, two black pens and two red pens, six pencils, a fistful of coloured pencils, a packet of highlighters (blue, yellow, green and pink), a set of felt-tip pens, two rubbers, two rulers and a pair of scissors that folded neatly.

Of course then she also had to check the rest of her school bag: notebooks, folders and writing paper.

‘Right, I’m off then, mum!’ she called up the stairs.

‘Are you going now?’ said her mum. ‘It’s a bit early.’

‘I just don’t want to be late on my first day,’ said Jenny.

Her mum gave her a big hug. ‘I’m sure it will all be fine. They seem like a friendly lot.’

Jenny nodded. ‘Yes, they were all really nice when the head showed me ‘round. There was another new girl, too, so I won’t be the only one.’

She tugged on her new coat and headed for the front door.

‘Have you got your lunchbox?’ called her mum.

‘Oh no!’ said Jenny. ‘I’ve left it in the fridge.’

She dashed to get it.

‘And your bottle of water?’ said her mum, trying not to smile.

Jenny dashed back to the fridge for a second time and scooped up a bottle of water. It slipped through her fingers and bounced on the floor. The lid exploded sending a fountain of water across Jenny’s new skirt.

‘Oh no! I’ll have to go and change! I’ll be late for sure!’

‘It’s just water,’ said her mum reassuringly. ‘It’ll have dried by the time you get to school. No-one will notice.’

Jenny wasn’t sure but a glance at the clock convinced her that her mum was right.
She gave her a quick hug and ran out of the door.

‘Your bag!’ yelled her mum after her.

Jenny ran back in, picked up her school bag and hurtled back out of the door.

She arrived at school red-faced and hot.

Her hands were sweaty and shaking ever so slightly and she had a nervous tummy that was doing loop-the-loops like an Olympic gymnast.

Mrs Adams, the headteacher, saw her arrive.

‘Hello, Jenny! How nice to see you again. We’re really looking forward to having you here in our school. I hope you’ll be very happy here.’

‘Thanks, Mrs Adams,’ said Jenny. ‘I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’m just a bit nervous – first day nerves and all that.’

‘I remember my first day,’ said Mrs Adams. ‘The heating broke down; then there was a fire drill and I didn’t know what to do. I lost half my class for nearly a quarter of an hour. I got a right telling off from my headteacher, Mr Pierce. He should have been called ‘Mr Fierce’. After such a terrible start nothing could be so bad ever again – and it wasn’t. We haven’t got any fire drills scheduled for today so I’m sure you’ll be fine. Let me show you to your classroom.’

Jenny wasn’t at all reassured by Mrs Adams’ story – if anything she felt even more nervous. A fire drill! She hadn’t even thought about that. She looked around her, wondering where the exit was.

It was as if Mrs Adams could read her thoughts.

‘Of course, if there is a fire drill, the nearest exit is just over there,’ she said pointing. ‘And I’m sure you’ll remember from your visit last term that the toilets are just next to the staffroom and the dining room is behind the hall. If you get lost, just ask one of the children – we’re all very friendly here.’

‘Thanks, Mrs Adams,’ said Jenny.

‘Right then,’ said Mrs Adams. ‘Ready to meet your class?’

Jenny nodded and tried to smile. Then she took a deep breath and opened the door into her new classroom.

The happy chatter stopped and all the children stared at her.

‘Good morning, everyone,’ said Jenny. ‘I’m Miss Brady and I’m going to be your teacher this year. It’s very nice to meet you all…’

Conclusion
Did the ending to that story surprise you? Yes, it was all about a new teacher on her first day at her new school. She had all the same worries that all of you have on starting in a new class or in a new school. No matter how long someone has been a teacher, it’s still exciting and a bit nerve-wracking when we meet our new class for the first time.

The important thing to remember if you’re feeling a bit nervous is that most people feel the same as you do. But we’re a very friendly school and if you’re a bit unsure about something the best thing is to just ask. If you stay quiet when you’ve got a problem, no-one will know that you have one. Ask one of your classmates or a member of staff so they can help you. And within a few days you’ll feel right at home – just as Jenny Brady will do with her new class.

PrayerDear Father,

Thank you for all the kind people who are here in this school to help me if I feel a bit nervous. Help me to remember what it’s like to be the new person and to be helpful and friendly to new people when they start school. Amen.

Reflection
All of us have been the new boy or new girl at some time in our lives. It’s important to remember how that feels so we can reassure a new person starting at our school and help them to feel comfortable as quickly as possible.

Further information
What can you do to make a new person feel comfortable at our school? [Take suggestions]

  • Smile – a smile goes a long way to make people feel welcome
  • Give directions – help people if they get a bit lost/show them around
  • Talk – talk to people who might feel a bit lonely because they don’t know anyone in the school
  • Be a good friend – how would you like to be treated if you were new at school?

This e-bulletin issue was first published in September 2009

About the author: Jane A. C. West

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