Recently, my husband, two children, and I just moved into our new house. Talk about a hectic past few months! Nothing seemed to go the way it was supposed to. Every time we thought we were keeping up with deadlines, we were told a document was missing. The couple buying our house was so demanding. How frustrating! At least I could control the packing. My husband and I were diligent packers, starting over six weeks ahead of our “target close date.” We were ready to move on the day we had our final walk through of our new house, only to see that they had packed NOTHING. Okay, maybe a few pictures were taken off the walls. It was so exasperating, but what could we do? Our lawyers said there was nothing we could do. We couldn’t control how and when other people decided to pack. When we finally got our finalized date, it was the day before we moved! No matter. It was finally happening! The morning of the move, when we had half of the moving truck packed, we found out the family we were purchasing from “needed another day.” AHHHHH!!!! We were homeless for one day, so had to call up family and stay with them. When we finally moved in the next day, there were still issues. It’s almost three weeks later, and we still don’t have a couch! There is always something, but each time some new “emergency” occurred, we had to remember why we moved in the first place. We got what we wanted, and we truly are happy here.
At the same time, my new 9th graders were moving into my classroom. These students were between the ages of 13 and 15, and all of them were entering high school. There were new expectations, new requirements, and of course, new teachers. When they came in on day one, some were already avid readers, others told me “I hate to read.” I wanted to make their transition into their new “house” much easier than mine was. I patiently began as I always do: a reading history survey, book talks, read alouds, book passes, and showing them my overflowing classroom library. It takes time to become comfortable in new surroundings. Very soon, some students started feeling more at ease, acclimating themselves to their new ELA classroom. I’d find some checking out the books displayed next to them, or raising their hands to see if they could read the book discussed. Sure there were still issues. I caught a student “fake reading,” and a few late registers entered their new ELA residence determined to shake things up a bit. It was frustrating at times. Yeah, I had those classes where I needed a breather right afterward, but I knew this was normal. I had to remind myself that I can’t change 100 percent of them overnight.
Today, November 1st, begins my third month with my students. Many more students are creating new, positive reading habits. They are recommending books to others, flying through a book that would have been “too difficult” one month ago, and even venturing outside of the comfortable genres they were used to. Others are showing signs they want to conform, but are still a little resistant. That’s okay. Everyone takes a different amount of time to become comfortable in new home. It’s my job to simply smile, encourage, and set a great example.