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New Belonging in a New Year

Orianne is a Canadian teacher working through Protocol Education Bristol branch. Coming to the end of the year often makes us reflect on the past year and the year ahead. While wishing us a Happy New Year, Orianne shares her reflections with us, the search for belonging and poses a challenge for 2014. 

New Belonging in a New Year

Happy New Year, one and all!

With the close of 2013 and the dawn of 2014, it is time for us teachers to take stock of our past experiences, and use these reflections to make ourselves better teachers.

One experience that I share with many supply teachers is having worked with students new to the U.K., who belong to either migrant working families, or refugee families.  They are still learning the language, the manners and the expectations of this new country, and still searching for a sense of belonging in a community that they were not born into.   A few jokes told with only noise and facial expressions, an attempt to say a few words in their language, or a bit of extra time spent going over the lesson with them using pictures from Google Images can garner a sunny smile for the rest of the day, or even create your new #1 fan for the rest of the year.

For those of us working as international supplies, we can empathize with the experience of being a migrant worker in the U.K., for that is exactly what we are.  The experience of being a migrant worker is one that we share with millions of people worldwide, and thousands in the U.K., many of whom are our students’ families.  All the joys and frustrations we may have encountered in moving and working in a new country, along with our coping strategies, are experiences which may serve to illuminate some of what our students and their families may be dealing with here in England.

So what does this have to do with the New Year?  In this, the beginning of 2014, we have all made the U.K. our home (be it temporary or permanent).  We have all formed support communities that have made this our home away from home.  This year, make a resolution to allow the way you teach to provide a link of belonging to your migrant students as well.  In schools that are rushed and under-funded, use your friendliness and creativity to make the kids feel important both as individuals and as a part of the class community.  But don’t let it stop there.  A smile and a kind word to a migrant parent at the end of the day may come as welcome encouragement to someone who might be feeling even more socially isolated than their child.

My New Years toast / challenge to you: as global workers, let’s commit to fostering global community and belonging everywhere we go.


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Tags: Orianne, Canadian-trained, Protocol Education, Teacher, new-year, reflections, belonging, overseas, Canadian-trained-teacher,

Category: Australian Teachers

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