Ihatemyschool asks:

I've haven't been able to make friends at my new school

I went to a school last year that was great I'm a sophomore in high school and my mom and dad don't speak engilsh so I have to do everything myself. My parents thought it would be better to switch, so I did it under the sibling rule(I lived closer to my older school). I have some scares on my arms and everyone has been looking at them, and don't wanna be my friend. Too the point where I was the last person to be chosen for volleyball. I asked if I could move schools the district told me I cant. Ive been crying myself to sleep everyday I need your help to switch schools. I'm not saying this too move but the teachers there don't know how to teach and the school put me in classes that I'm not suppose to be in and they won't switch me out of the class and my parents don't like it.

      Thank you for your time
In Topics: Public School, Teen issues, Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago



Sep 20, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

I am so glad that you wrote, and I hope that you can find some support and guidance on this forum. It sounds like the transition to your new school has been very difficult, and I'm disappointed to hear that you have not found very much support in the teachers and personnel at your new school.

I have included a link below to a site that provides state-specific information for parents and families who are struggling to get the support they need from their school district. Just select your state in the drop-down and then look under "Organizations for Parents." Try to determine whether there is an organization in your local area that provides services in the language that your parents speak. The Parents Helping Parents organizations might be a good place to start. Ask your parents to call them and explore possible support and advice for your situation. If there isn't an organization that provides support in your parent's language, then I suggest that you ask an adult friend or relative to make a call for you. If there is no one that you can think of, go ahead and make the call yourself.

Depending upon the information and advice you get from nearby organizations, you will know your next steps, but here are some tips for surviving and thriving in your current school in the meantime:

1. I understand that it seems like your new school doesn't have anything to offer you, but sometimes when we have a few discouraging experiences, we can tend to "write-off" the whole thing. As people, we tend to think in "black and white" terms when, in reality, life has plenty of gray.

Thus, I invite you to write a list of some of the good things about your new school. Maybe, it has a great drama department or sports team that you would like to join. Perhaps there is one or two teachers that you get along with and enjoy. Once you have a few things on your list, try and think of ways that you can make the most of the positives in your school. For example, ask one of the teachers you like to sit down with you during a break to discuss your concerns about the school and get advice for navigating the system.

2. It can be hard to get to know people at a new school, but you have made friends before, and I am confident that you can do it at your new school, too. Think of one or two students at the school who you are interested in becoming friends with and make an extra effort to smile at them, share a comment with them at class, or ask them a question about homework. When you feel ready, invite one or two students to get a soda or hot chocolate after school. Let them know that you enjoy their company and want to get to know them better. People are always flattered when they are told that they are likable, and they will likely be intrigued and want to take you up on your offer.

3. Get to know your school counselor well. The school counselor holds the key to your schedule. Talk with him or her about your schedule and let them know that you need to be placed in different classes. Ask them for advice on how to make friends at the school. Finally, let him or her know that you are feeling pretty alone because your parents can't really advocate for you at school due to the language barrier. What does she suggest you do?

In summary, get some advice from outside parent organizations on your rights and options. In the meantime, do what you can to make the current school work for you. You never know, maybe there is a way that this school could be the "right" school for you.

Laura Kauffman, Ph.D.
Licensed Child Psychologist
Education.com JustAsk Expert
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