The second year of teaching is so much better than the first

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Classroom pre-students

One of my co-workers last year remarked that the second year of teaching is so much easier than the first. Not only do you have a new workplace, but also learning the ins and outs of teaching without having a supervising teacher in the room. There’s nothing more isolating than those few weeks in your classroom when you suddenly realise it’s just you and your students.

This year I know where everything is, I’m back in the same classroom and half of the students in my class are joining me again for 2013.  The goodie buckets and video went down well and I think I’ll keep those traditions in mind for next year with my students.

Random thoughts for the week.

Why do teachers not stay with classes for multiple years? Even for the ‘older’ kids consistency is a good thing. I feel that the class will be able to get down to learning a lot quicker as half the kids in the class know how things run and more importantly I know half the kids really well and they know me.  Yes that means I can’t recycle resources from last year, but really should teachers be teaching the same thing year after year?

Why do teachers start  each year with a huge batch of new students? The highlight of my week was watching my year 8s go off and teach the new students in the class how to comment on the blog. It’s a lot easier doing ICT related stuff when half the class know how to do things like sign into google accounts and comment on a blog vastly increasing the number of trouble shooters in the class.

Daily 5 rocks the house. Even on the first day of school my students were asking when we were going to restart the Daily 5.  For me that makes this classroom management system a winner, the kids are asking about it.

The answer being soon.

Lets get to know each other better first…

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About Stephanie

Stephanie is a teacher of a fabulous class of year 7/8 students (11-13 year olds). She bakes, goes to the gym and geeks out in Wellington, New Zealand.

Posted on February 3, 2013, in RTC, RTC 12 - Teaching as Inquiry, RTC 2 - Well-being, RTC 7 - Learning Environment, RTC 8 - Akonga learning, RTC 9 -Student Diversity and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’ve seen a couple teachers “loop”, meaning a teacher taught a grade one year, took the class up to the next grade level in the subsequent year, then returned to the original grade in the third year.

    If you can find another teacher who wants to do that, I’m not sure too may administrators would object. I took one second grade class to grade 3 and loved it. It took me a full year to build a relationship with a student who was autistic. We made SO much progress the second year.

    • Hi Janet
      I think New Zealand teachers tend to be a bit more flexible in the grades they teach. It’s common for there to be multi-level classes and for teachers to move around what level they teach.

      But yes more continuity = good.

      Stephanie

  2. The Daily 5? Details please!

  3. Maybe the reasoning behind getting a new class every year is so that the teacher is able to teach what they know how to teach? Certainly, you can re-use lesson plans and modify them based on what worked the previous year. In this way, a teacher for a particular year level becomes an expert, who is best equipped to deal with children of that age and stage. Is it about keeping a teacher within a comfort zone? Or providing children with an experienced guide through their educational year? If it would be more beneficial for the students to move along with them then perhaps it’s something that should be considered.
    However, I spoke to a teacher at my practicum school who said that often a teacher will unknowingly bias class activities towards their area of passion (e.g. maths) at the cost of other areas of the curriculum. Her perspective was that this was not problematic, because students received influences from a number of different teachers which are likely to balance each other out throughout a child’s schooling.
    There is also the issue of difficult relationships that can develop between a student and a teacher. While the teacher is ultimately responsible for repairing any issues that have developed, in a case where such a relationship exists it is likely to be more positive for both teacher and child for the child to move on to a new teacher. Within their new environment a positive relationship can develop and the child may be happier and more productive.
    What are your thoughts on those issues?

    • Hi
      I’m not sure I would want to re-use lesson plans year after year. For a start it would make teaching rather boring, secondly the world changes so much and so do the kids. Each class has its own personality and quirks. Even with half the kids remaining with me a second year the class has changed from last year.

      Students can sometimes be looped out, however the bonus of looping also means that instead of thinking of problem children as someone else’s problem come new year it really forces teachers to find out how to reach that student.

      Quality planning should iron out the problems of curriculum coverage. I think developing relationships with the student and their family particularly with younger kids is really important and something overlooked by the system as it stands.

      Stephanie

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