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Teacher Letters Are in the Mail and the Mailboxes

Students compare notes on what to expect.

After weeks of waiting, the "teacher letters" have arrived for most elementary students in South Orange and Maplewood. Letters addressed to students and their guardians indicate the name of the teacher for the 2012-13 school year and often include a list of required supplies. Younger students are likely to receive a letter from the teacher, as well.

Then the phone calls and, increasingly, texts and e-mails begin. While the youngest children in the district may find their parents asking questions, students as young as second grade make their own phone calls. Jason, a rising South Orange second grader, found out the name of his teacher and asked his brother what to expect from her. Then he called friends to find out their class assignments. "It seems pretty much okay," he told Patch. "I heard she's [the teacher] is pretty nice."

Erica, who lives in Maplewood told Patch, "I want to know who's in my class before I get there." To find out, she and a friend made calls and lists, trying to determine which fourth grade girls are in what class. This is a technique she learned from an older sister, she explains.

Middle school students check lists posted on the school doors. From that information, they may try to determine whether they're on Team A or Team B. Schedules are distributed on the first day of school.

Columbia High School students receive schedules in the mail, and some admit to comparing classes and finding out about teachers online.

With several teachers on the schedule, and dozens of classmates to consider, middle and high school students have a lot to ponder at this time of year. It may, at least in memory, seem simpler to be younger. Fifth grader Ian of South Orange received his assignment and had only one question. "When does school start again?" he asked. Reassured that he is expected at Jefferson on Thursday, he's ready for school to begin.

JCC September 12, 2012 at 04:32 PM
It would be helpful, particularly for the younger elementary students, to receive the teacher assignments more than 5 days before the start of school. Younger children have different anxieties about going back to school than older kids. Having a teacher name and perhaps some familiar names of classmates would help to assuage the transition into school

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