I feel like changing grade levels is the story of my life. In the 5 years I've been teaching (including this coming year), I've changed grade levels 4 times. Blah. Here's my table right now, as I'm trying to get ready...
As I'm sitting here, slightly stressing, I'm trying to tell myself all the positives of changing grade levels. So I came up with 4 positives and 4 negatives of switching. We'll start with the bad first, that way we end on a good note. :)
1. Changing your mindset. As teachers, we have to try to think like the kids we teach. Even though I'm only moving down one grade, I still have to start thinking like a first grader. They're just coming out of kindergarten! It's actually a bigger change than one might think.
2. Materials: Oh. my. goodness. This is what has me stressing. I have to completely create appropriate materials all over again. My to-do list of things I have to get ready is m-i-l-e-s long. It feels like I'll never complete it! It has taken me hours. Days. Weeks. Even months to create stuff. And I'm still not done. Thank goodness for Teachers Pay Teachers. Honestly. I can find so many things so that I don't have to create everything.
3. Arranging your classroom: I went from 1st to 3rd to 2nd to 1st. That's a lot of height changes on tables, desks, mailboxes, etc...
4. Getting into the groove with a new team: I adore all the people I work with. Each team has been WONDERFUL. But they're all a little different in how they do things. So getting used to that is another change.
1. It keeps me on my toes!: There's no time to get complacent when you're doing everything for the first time.
2. You get to see how it all fits together: This is the coolest thing to me. Seeing the developmental levels of all the kiddos and how they change from one grade to the next - it's quite amazing! And I have a much better understanding of the puzzle, if you will. I know where they've been, what they need to know, where they come from, and where they need to end.
3. Thinking of new ways to reach my students: With every grade level comes new interests, new abilities, new creativity, new personalities...it's kinda fun to think of ways to teach them that will really reach where they are.
4. It makes me a better teacher: I get this burst of innovation every time I switch grade levels. My mind starts swarming with new things. It CAN be refreshing. Getting the overall picture, working with students on foundations that need to be built at each level...it's truly invigorating.
So how about you? Have you ever switched grade levels? How big of a jump did you have to make? What is one thing you like about it and one thing that you don't like? The first person to comment (including their e-mail address) will receive a copy of my latest...September Math Centers! They are geared towards K, 1, 2. I'm teaching 1st next year, so that's who I have in mind as I am working on it. I'd still love to hear from you even if you don't teach the primary grades. Maybe you can give it to someone you work with? :) I'm still working on it, but it should be done in a few days. I will e-mail it to you as soon as it's done.
Looking forward to hearing from all of you! :)
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