Advice from those who teach the same students year-over-year

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pi-R-Squared, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Devotee

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    Jun 12, 2018

    In my short 5 year career as a math teacher, this upcoming year will be the 1st time where I get back some students from last year. Here are the specifics.

    7th grade will be a new group.
    8th grade was last year's 7th grade. (I had them.)
    9th grade Alg IA will be last year's lower level 8th grade. (I had them.)
    10th grade Geom will come from last year's upper level 9th grade Alg I. (From other teacher)
    11th grade Geom will come from last year's lower level 10th grade Alg IB. (From other teacher)
    12th grade will come from last year's 11th grade Geom. (I had them.)

    Who has had experience with teaching the same students over multiple years and are there advantages/disadvantages to this?
     
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Fanatic

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    Jun 12, 2018

    I've had the same students in an elementary special education classroom. It was a positive experience because both they and I knew what to expect from the other. We were able to hit the ground running because we already knew each other. This coming year, I will loop with my class from last year. Although I haven't experienced it yet, I expect it to be positive again. I already know what I'm dealing with, so I can start to make student-specific plans already, if I want to. I think it's also helpful to go into it knowing about the parents and their needs/desires.

    I'm sure it's slightly different in high school than it is at elementary, but I would imagine that it can still be a very positive experience.
     
  4. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Devotee

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    Jun 12, 2018

    Pros: You already know their abilities, watching them grow academically, they know your rules so they can help you with the other/new students.
    Cons: If they're a hard student to deal with, you're stuck with them for another year.

    I've only dealt with this in preschool so the longest I had a student was for 2 years.
    So I don't know how different it'd be at the secondary level.
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jun 12, 2018

    I also have the same students from year to year in my sped position. We have a fairly transient population, so I don't typically have them as long as I "should," but at least 2 years is common. This past year I did have 2 third graders I'd had since Kindergarten.

    I agree with the pros that the others listed. As for the cons, I find that there is a point where kids simply get "too comfortable" with having the same teacher year after year. I see it as a positive when they finally move on to the other sped teacher in 4th grade. Another issue is that it's harder to make changes to how you run your classroom if kids are already used to one thing.

    This was a bigger issue when I was a new teacher and still really figuring things out. For example, my first year I had kids fill in sticker charts to show progress towards goals, and also let them choose from a prize box every time I progress monitored and they improved their score (we did this in my student teaching). I came to realize that the kids really were just as excited to put their sticker on showing they beat their score, and of course that's more intrinsic motivation than the prize. It was hard to take away the prize box though when kids had become accustomed to it. Currently, we almost never mix grade levels in my group so if I make changes I can always fall back on, "You're in 3rd grade now, so this is how we'll be doing things." In my first position, my groups were often mixed grade levels so it was harder to pull off.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 12, 2018

    I don't have the same students every year, but I have about 50 % of them and new students mixed in. Can't really add anything to what everyone else has said, and I overall think it's a positive thing. You already know the good, the bad and the ugly, and they know you.
     
  7. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 13, 2018

    I teach science to grades 3 to 6 so I have my kiddos for 4 years. It's amazing to see them grow up over that time and I'm able to continue to work on specific skills with them each year. I know which ones need more support with writing or need to go over their work with me and I know which ones need more of a challenge in my class. I know which ones need to be out of their seat moving around or at least standing at their spot and which ones I need to "sit on" when it comes to behavior. (On the other hand, 4 years with a kid who I don't get along with - as best as I can try - can lead to quite a few headaches.)

    Grades 3/4 are one level and 5/6 are another so they get mostly new teachers moving up from 4th to 5th - I'm able to share their talents and areas of growth. A few times 5th grade teachers will complain about how slow or behind a student is and I'm able to sing that child's praises knowing how much they have grown in the 2 years I've had them.
     
  8. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Habitué

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    Jun 13, 2018

    I have taught the same students for more than one year before and it's been good,, but your situation is ridiculous. It seems like you will teach the students at least 4 years. That' will become stale real fast, and diminishes the opportunity for a "fresh start". I understand limitations when there aren't many teachers in your school, but it sucks.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jun 13, 2018

    This year I teach Grade 7 and next year I'll have a split Grade 7/8 class. I'll have about 6 of my current students next year as well. It will mean that there are certain units and activities that I can't use again next year, but change is always good.
     
  10. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Devotee

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    Thanks for all your input! I see advantages in that I will know the strengths/weaknesses of the students except for the incoming 7th graders. I think my troublesome classes will be 8th, 11th, and 12th. The 12th grade bunch will consist of the previous year's 11th grade boys who kicked and punched each other. Sad to say but just a gathering who just act like fools. My incoming 11th grade bunch, from what I hear, complain a lot and probably won't want to do much work. 8th grade was a low performing group last year as 7th graders so my work will be cut out for me... However, I see this as my new set of challenges to improve my teaching. I'm trying to still figure out how to teach math to those who just find the subject difficult....
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 14, 2018 at 3:10 PM

    Then here's your chance to get the new year to start out right. You already know you have some difficult groups, so you can be extra tough on them from day one.
    I knew one of my classes was incredibly difficult so I had to rule every day with an iron fist. By the time I came back from my month off (surgery), another class grew form 4 students (yes, 4, quiet kids) into a class of 12 students. They seemed kinda immature but sweet and respectful. Overly sweet, clingy and needy (kids who have spent a lot of time in juvenile hall have these traits). So I relaxed a little because they were a fun and easy to control group.
    Then within 10 days they started to get out of control. It was a lot of work to bring them back to where they needed to be.
    If I had them again, I would know how to start off the right way: strict, and pay attention to all the small details
     
  12. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jun 14, 2018 at 3:22 PM

    I also keep my SPED students for several years. This year I graduated a group of 8th graders that I had for 5 years. They were an amazing group that I will miss greatly.
    To me, the biggest advantage of keeping students for several years is the rapport I develop with the parents. This is especially important for children with disabilities, especially if there are medical issues involved.
    One year several years ago, after I had taught a student for 4 years, we noticed a slight difference in his personality. Nothing major, but we picked up on it because of how well we knew him. Mom took him to the dr and it turned out his shunt had developed a clot and had to be fixed. Had I not known this child so well, we may not have noticed the problem and that could have led to a serious medical concern.
    The other advantage has already been mentioned...that you can hit the ground running as soon as school starts.
     
  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Jun 14, 2018 at 8:40 PM

    Why do kids who're fresh out of juvenile hall behave in this manner? Asking out of genuine curiosity.
     
  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 15, 2018 at 11:43 AM

    The reason is that somehow they get conditioned to the fact that the officers tell them everything, what to do, what not to do, when to drink, when to use the bathroom, they have to ask permission for everything and it can be denied without a reason; they are completely dependent on the officers and have no control of their lives.
    So, because they're so young and as a survival technique, they learn to please. They are eager to please, yes, and they learn to be very respectful (well, most of them). Because if they're nice, their request to drink water might be accepted, since often it is at the whim of the officer.
    So when they get out of juvie, the typical kid will often ask questions, or ask you to go and help them because they know teachers like that (good students) but also they get attention. And they think all this niceness will pay off. Some are more clingy than others, but there are other reasons behind that (attachment disorder, abuse, etc which also resulted in this eager t please behavior)

    For example there was one boy, super sweet, smart and respectful, but overly so. He would always double check with everything, his answers were always right, I kept telling him to just believe in himself and trust his instinct.
    One day, I was particularly frustrated with this bunch of kids, and I was giving instructions to put their name on their paper (some forget it). This kid said "yes, ma'am, just for you" I kinda snapped a little, I said "this is not for me. This is for your own good so you get credit"

    Now take this behavior in grown up felons in prison. Same situation, same conditions, but they're more sophisticated and mature. So they start out by asking favors, small favors to see which CO is more lenient, and then ask more favors, some technically break the rules, but nothing illegal. For example inmates get only 1 pencil, but this guy asked and got 5. There's not much he gets out of it except for the knowledge that this CO can be persuaded, and since he already broke the rules, he might break them some more. This will at least make this inmate's life more comfortable, maybe he'll get extra snacks, phone calls, etc.
    You should read "Downing the duck" google this phrase, you will have quite a few results, but try to get the PDF file, that's the whole version. In this article an inmate explains how he escaped prison with an officer's help, starting out with the same techniques I just described.
    It is really fascinating, I read this 6 years ago when I was working in juvie, and one student explained their whole prison mentality. Then when I read this, it shed a lot o f light in why the younger ones in juvie act the way they act. It's almost like they're conditioning themselves for the prison time.

    Sadly, a lot of them are. You should hear them talk amongst themselves, glorifying a relative or friend for going to prison for murder, doing time, not snitching, etc. On top of it, it's all forced, like when little kids want to act like grownups. Once I scolded them: "look at you! Barely 16 and talk like you're hard core murderers! Why do you admire these lowlives who will never see the daylight ever again? Why can't you be and act like 16 year olds and talk about things teenagers talk about? Either way I don't want to hear your prison talk, it's inappropriate"
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Jun 15, 2018 at 1:03 PM

    I minored in Sociology in college, so this kind of stuff intrigues me.

    I truly admire what you do, Linguist!
     
  16. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jun 16, 2018 at 12:10 AM

    Thank you. Working with this population is a little different, but other than that it's about the same. Maybe bigger problems in some areas, but less in others :)
    It is very fascinating though, too bad this year I was just trying to survive and couldn't really enjoy all the subtleties.
     

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