Friday, September 17, 2010

School, By Breann Barnes, Age 11

Being in a military family is not ordinary. You have to move around from city to city, school to school and house to house. Many different things happen when you are in a military family and changing schools is only one of those things. I go to school overseas in Sigonella, Italy. School overseas has its ups and downs, but knowing that you can say I lived in Italy or Guam or Japan is a once and a lifetime chance. The military schools overseas are great. They have nice teachers, nice looking classrooms, and a lot of the time, good students attend them.

I truly do not have a hard time making friends, but it is different for everyone. Sometimes it can take people three weeks or two days to make and meet new friends. Sometimes leaving the friends you made is hard, too. If you become best friends with someone and he or she has to leave, you feel emotional. One thing you learn being a military child is that friends come and go all the time. Now we have new ways to keep in touch such as email, Internet and telephone. Sometimes it can be easy or hard to leave or make new friends, but you just have to be flexible.

Teachers overseas are very nice and helpful and understand what it is like being in a school overseas. Coming to Italy and attending middle school was hard for me because it was my first time having different periods in the day. We also have an A day and B day schedule and many people have favorite days. Each school has its advantages. Being a military kid, I feel we go through troubles that may seem easy to a non-military kid like getting lost in the school or having different teachers and having to switch subjects and learn new material in classes. But I don't want you to think it is all a downer living overseas, because it is not. For example, when you live overseas, it is a once in a life time chance because if you think about it, not many kids can live overseas. We are the lucky ones because our mom or dad got this opportunity and it opened new doors for all families; doors to an overseas education that will be remembered forever.

The hardest adjustment is that certain schools teach different materials and have a different focus. In California, for example, reading was very important. In Washington, it was not as important. Math was the hardest adjustment of all because I started in California and when I went to Washington, the math was totally different. My grade in math kept going down lower and lower each day. The teachers would tell me that I should know what we were doing because I should have learned it the years before. I was not there so I did not learn it. They would try to explain and they would believe me, but they can't do too much except teach me.

Overseas some schools will go on field trips and so you could be living in Europe to explore Europe. How many kids can say that they went to school in Europe and they went on a field trip in Europe? Military kids learn a lot in school, but because they do have to move a lot, they learn about courage, responsibility and much more. Kids that are not in the military learn about that as well, but we have the chance to learn it faster and more often.

School is really different overseas because I never had pep rallies or football games when I lived in the United States. Overseas, we have a running club, football, baseball, and soccer teams. There are a lot more school activities and class choices for students to choose from. You can choose to play band, or learn Italian or another foreign language. The schools overseas are a lot smaller compared to when I lived in California. In California, I had over 1,000 kids in my grade school alone. Now there are about 300 kids in grades K-12 so that is a big difference.

Since the school is so small, my classes are smaller and teachers pay more attention to the students. The teachers get to know you and your personality so their expectations are high. Most of the kids at the school are well-behaved, because the teachers know the students well. That is a great advantage for the teachers.

School is difficult, but every time I come across a bump in the road, I always will remind myself living here is a once and a lifetime chance.

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Julie Rahm

Mindset means everything. And no one knows this better than Julie Rahm, aka America's Mindset Mechanic. A former naval physicist, Julie applies physics to the energy of human thought and the results thoughts create. As a military daughter, spouse and mother-in-law she has experienced the challenges of deployment separations, frequent moves and telecommuting careers while remaining happy and achieving her dreams. With her passion and people-loving style, Julie has provided the metaphorical tools for thousands of people to bridge the gap between their thoughts and their lives. Julie Rahm, M.S., is a certified Frame of Mind Coach who has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including The Phil Knight Show and ABC affiliates. She hosts The Mindset Mechanic LIVE on Saturdays and Sundays on FM107.1 WTKF and AM1240 WJNC in Eastern NC. Her weekly column The Mindset Mechanic appears in The Pamlico News. She has been quoted in numerous newspapers, and on the web at and Julie is an inspirational keynote speaker conveying life lessons through a blend of intuitive success strategies, enlightened wisdom, humor and fun. She is the Champion of Military Kids around the World. Julie's latest book is Volume I of Military Kids Speak.

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