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- Thank You In Advance: The Power of Expectation - January 15, 2016
- Under the Guise of Inclusion - November 20, 2015
- Therapy Dogs and Schools - October 15, 2015
- SUPERPOWER Schools - October 13, 2015
- When Life Happens While You Teach - September 22, 2015
- "I'm Her Favorite Student!" - August 31, 2015
- Good Writing vs. Great Writing: Leading the Way - April 27, 2015
"The weekends are the hardest." a young, new coworker friend of mine said, "I think I'll get another dog, it's too lonely." I remember reading somewhere that some of the loneliest people in the world are those of the newly graduated college student, and it seemed that my young, coworker friend was no different. It made sense to me as my own children were at the end of their college days and embarking on a brave new world of their career choices. My kids managed to survive this time of their lives fairly easily as they basically stayed in the general vicinity of where they grew up, and never lost touch with some of their high school or college friends. Yet for many that graduate college and move to a new town away from friends and family, it can be a desperately lonely experience. If you are a new teacher in a strange new town far away from others, take heart, there are some very real strategies that you can use to work through this difficult time of your life.
First Things First
The first thing to do if you are a new teacher in a new area is to try make friends at work. You already have something in common with the people you work with because both you have the same passion for teaching or coaching. Be aware, however, that making friends at work has its downside; it can be difficult if you are trying to break into a group of people that have already formed their own clique, you may be tempted to talk "shop" a bit too much, or some teachers may have a family to get home to and it may be difficult to find time away from work to hang out together. So, while this is a great option, it may not be your best option for being lonely when school is not in session.
Looking Outside the Workplace
Probably the best option you can find is to seek long-term relationships outside of your workplace by getting involved in your new community. Talk to someone from your local community Chamber of Commerce...they are completely in touch with the pulse of the town and they are often in charge of annual festivals that are desperately looking for volunteers and committee members. Another idea is to get out into the town and find a church that you might like to get involved in. Each church is full of members that make it their job to connect new attendees. You could also volunteer at a local food bank, community theater or homeless shelter. There you may find many new people passionate and welcoming towards a new friendship.
A Few More Tips:
There are just a few more things to remember when you're fighting the loneliness of a new move:
- Keep Fit. Any doctor will tell you that exercise (when capable) is the best medicine!
- Don't watch TV, over-eat and drown yourself in your sorrows. Get up and get out!
- Keep in contact with far away friends and family via texts, Skype, Facebook, Twitter and any other means of social communication. It'll make you remember that you're not alone.
- Don't forget what brought you to where you are! You finally landed the job you've worked so hard for. The loneliness will pass as you make new connections, but it takes time. Be patient.
While getting a dog or two might be a great way to fill the lonely moments of time, teaching in a new area, as a newly graduated student can still be one of the loneliest times of life. Just know that this will quickly pass. Be patient, don't give up, and someday you'll look back on this time and remember that the difficulties you went through made you a better person, and it was all worth it.