Different subjects, different teachers

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by Bythesea, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. Bythesea

    Bythesea Rookie

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    Dec 20, 2005

    At the school where I am working each subject has a different teacher. So the typical day for a class would be the following: an hour of maths with Mrs. A, an hour of art with Mrs. B, and hour of language with Mr. C, lunch, an hour of Science with Mrs. D, and an hour of music with Mr. E. This changes from day to day to fit all the subjects into the timetable. What do you think are the advantages or disadvantages of this system in comparison with one teacher for one class all day? They do have what would be like a homeroom class as well.
     
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  3. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Dec 20, 2005

    It would probably help to know what grade level it is so we can give you better feedback.
     
  4. Bythesea

    Bythesea Rookie

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    It's every grade from 1st to 6th.
     
  5. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Really? I'm surprised 1st-3rd. Our 4th and 5th graders switch for reading and math, our 6th graders and up switch for every subject.
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I don't like it at all for 1st through 5th. I think these kids need the additional consistency which one main teacher provides. It also allows the teacher to extend a lesson when necessary or shorten a class.
     
  7. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    I teach 4th and have been both self-contained and departmentalized, and I greatly prefer self-contained. Continuity, flexibility, easier to integrate subjects, less difficulty for students who have trouble with organization, less paperwork and confusion in dealing with students and parents, easier to schedule projects and quizzes, etc. I really like my current teaching partner, but she takes very few grades in Science ( the subject she teaches to both classes this year), and this has caused some difficulties when she ends up giving a low grade for the nine weeks.
     
  8. Bythesea

    Bythesea Rookie

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    Yes, I agree with you about the consistancy, Upsadaisy. On the one hand, the teachers know their subject really well and can control and develope the curriculum over the years, to some extent. On the other hand it is December and I still feel as though I hardly know some of the students. Plus I think classroom management suffers when you have various people coming in with completely different ways of running a class.
     
  9. boogaboo214

    boogaboo214 Companion

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    I think it is good for 5th graders because most middle and junior high schools change classes but i really think for the younger ones it is better to just have one teacher so that the teacher can work with each child's strengths and weaknesses instead of trying to figure out twice as many kids and wondering if this problem is only in this subject or all. In my oponion this could cause a lot of learning disorders that would be caught to be looked over more easily.
     
  10. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I teach departmentalized third grade. Until this year, I was at another school where I taught self-contained. I always thought self-contained was the best way to go.... until I started teaching departmentalized. I teach special education inclusion (19 students) in the morning, and gifted and advanced in the afternoon (20 students.)

    The hardest part for me is that I can't just duplicated lessons for my morning and afternoon (they learn differently, and often need different activities.) But I have to stay at basically the same place in the curriculum guide.

    The biggest advantage I see is that I am a math and science teacher. That's my specialty area. I'm a fairly average reading teacher, so I never cared for teaching reading. My co-teacher loves teaching reading, and can't stand teaching math. We work well together.

    You would think the class changing would be hard on the kids in special education, but the opposite is true -- once they get used to it, they enjoy having more than one approach to teaching. Of course, the special ed teacher or aid is available to them no matter which room they are in, so that gives plenty of consistency.

    When children are clustered according to ability, the results can be amazing. I know that my low readers need simplier reading material, more hands-on, more graphics, less "fluff"... My advanced class thrives on challenges I could never offer them if they were in a "regular" mixed-ability classroom.

    In the "lower" ability group, we stress reading skills, because that is where the majority are weak. In the "higher" ability group, every single child reads at least 1 year above grade level, so we stress higher math, and experimental science.

    Except for the children in the gifted program, the children don't have any idea how they are clustered.

    I had one little boy in my morning class tell me that (when he used to be in a self-contained classroom) he used to feel stupid, because everyone else always seemed to know the answers, and he didn't. He'd just stay very quiet and hope no one called on him. Now, he says, he feels like he is as smart as everyone else, and he is eager to answer questions. His scores show huge improvement.
     
  11. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I teach 5th grade and we are semi-departmentalized (I teach the science, Cheryl teaches Math, and Sarah teaches reading). We teach our own class for social studies, English, and spelling. I don't like it. I love science and don't mind at all teaching 3 classes of it, BUT I hate that we are so bound by the clock. They get that next year at the Jr High. The kids aren't ready. We are halfway through the year and they are still forgetting books, notebooks, pencils, etc. when they move rooms. If they aren't in that room for homeroom they forget homework by the end of the day, or when they have a test. They are just not ready for it. Besides, I love having my own class all day. I like having the time to really get into a lesson if I choose to. I like the connection I make with my kids when I have them all day.
     
  12. Froglet

    Froglet Rookie

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    Integration is the name of the game in my opinion. It makes everything more interesting for the students and for the teacher. If you departmentalize you really can not integrate correctly. I have done both and I think it makes more sense to have one teacher all day. The teacher gets to know her students and the students get a feeling of belonging.
     
  13. Bythesea

    Bythesea Rookie

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    I remember at my elementary school that we had seperate teachers for math for example and it was excellent, from a student's perpective anyway, because it was according to ability like Rainstorm mentioned. Unfortunately in this school now everyone studies the same things. The good thing (for the kids) is that the room is theirs, it is the teachers who move around. That helps them stay organized and they don't have to haul things from room to room.
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    ChristyF and Froglet, you said that perfectly! My sentiments exactly. Bythesea, you bring up some good points. We don't do any ability grouping until 6th grade and then only for math.

    My class goes out for science and I teach the rest. It isn't as hunky dory as that sounds, though, because they have 9 specials (in addition to leaving for science) per week. On Tuesdays, I only have my class for 2 periods. On Friday, for 3 - but one of them is last period after they've been out of the room for 3 periods. Ridiculous. If I want to, though, I could do one subject or a project for as long as I need to - when they are in the room. I'm all for enrichment and arts, but this is ridiculous.
     
  15. pamms

    pamms Comrade

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    Dec 26, 2005

    We switch classes in 2nd

    I have mixed feelings about it. Our school is designed to be basically self contained, but our grade group (2nd) switches classes for math and for reading. They are basically skill leveled classes. I think it has some real benefits for being able to gear the instruction to the students at their level, but I think it might be better if we just went ahead and leveled for homeroom (to match the reading) and then just switch for math. of course, the argument against that is that some teachers would then have the struggling students for most of the day. I do think, though, that at this young age, they would benefit from having one teacher for more of the day...sort of a mom to look after them a bit more. I think it is hard on them to switch back and forth, and it has been really difficult for some parent conferences because I don't know how some of my kids are really doing in reading and math!
    Pam
     
  16. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Back in the day, before I was even in 3rd grade myself, they taught departmentalized. When they combined the schools into the "new" (well then it was new) building they discontinued that. Rumor is when they move us to the new school (we're 2nd grade), they'll make 3rd-5th do departmentalized classes. I can see it for 5th grade, maybe even pushing it for 4th grade, but third grade... uh, uh. I know those teachers will not go for it.
     
  17. IndyJo

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    I am so glad for this post! My colleagues and I were talking about this and had plans to figure out how to maximize our interests in teaching. Departmentalization was one area we brought up since one of my colleague's sister does it in Dallas, TX. We may - though - develop thematic units that we can each take part of and teach that same component over a period of time. Who knows?! But thanks for all of these angles to consider!
     
  18. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Last year my friend and I taught together. We were each self contained, but I wrote the science plans and she wrote the math. (We wrote the rest together.) I got all the papers, study guides, tests, experiments, etc for science together and she did the same for math. That way we both were able to concentrate on one of the areas and spend more time getting everything together, but we were able to keep our own classes.
     
  19. IndyJo

    IndyJo Companion

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    ChristyF, that's a good idea - and one my colleagues and I have done before and will revisit again. We'll probably take that angle versus departmentalizing just because we can still have the flexibility and organizational non-worries.
     
  20. KLD1127

    KLD1127 New Member

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    All the posts on departmentalizing have been very informative. Our school is planning to departmentalize 4th and 5th grade next year. I teach fourth. We have 7 teachers. One will stay self contained and the other six will pair up. We will have our own class for intensive writing instruction (in Texas, in 4th grade we take a writing assessment in Feb.) Then we will switch for math/science and reading/soc. studies, one teacher taking math/science and one taking reading/soc. studies. From those of you who have departmentalized and like it, do you have any helpful tips for organization, communication etc. ? Thanks in advance for any responses.
     
  21. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    When I was in elementary school the fifth and sixth grade were departementalized. I loved it! Because it didn't matter who your homeroom teacher was, you got to have every teacher!:) (We had 6 different teachers) It was fabulous because after fifth grade you had the exact same teachers for sixth grade and you really knew what they expected and they already knew your strengths and weaknesses! This program was a big hit. Our school had a waiting list for out of district students who wanted in the fifth and sixth grade program.

    Last year, I was lucky enough to sub for the second semester in this same school! 6th grade is now in middle school but the 5th grade still switches classes. Instead of 6 teachers there are now 3. There was NEVER ability grouping! I thought that was illegal! Anyways, I taught science/social studies, Mrs. B taught math, and Mrs. E did language, spelling, and writing. We each taught our own reading - first thing in the morning and then we switched classes starting around 10:15. I LOVED teaching this way. The main reason the school did this was to prepare the students for middle school and teach responsibility. But, I also think it's good for the children to have other teachers. So often a personality clash prevents the student from doing his best! But who can't handle an hour and 10 minutes with one teacher or on the flip side, that one student!? You know, the student who gets on your nerves? Imagine just an hour or so each day?! I'm not sure departmentalizing would be appropriate for 3rd grade! Definitely not below 3rd grade! In my opinion 4th grade is even pushing it! But for 5th grade, it ROCKS!:)
     
  22. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    KLD1127,
    Sorry I left this out! I hope you love departmentalized as much as I did! I wanted to say to be sure you stick to ONE behavior plan and you MUST be consistent! I think that's why our program was/is successful after so many years. You must be on the same page. What teacher A does if you don't do homework should be the same thing teacher B does! Switching classes can be tough so the students shouldn't have to worry about two sets of rules...they need to be the same. Also, outline all your expectations, procedures, etc. and have parents sign off on it. Be sure parents know who teaches what, so if there is a question they will know who to contact. That's all I think of off the top of my head. If you have any questions, send me a message... Good luck!:)
     
  23. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I work in a school where classes switch starting in 3rd grade, but it seems to work out OK. 3rd-5th only switch for one or two classes and then only with the other teacher. There are only two sections at most for each grade level. I agree that scheduling and disipline can be a problem. I just make sure I make my expectations very clear early on and stick with it. I teach soc. st. for both 5thg rade classes and I love it. In the past I have taught soc. st./English and soc. st./math. Since I love Am. hist. this has worked out well. Since I have my homeroom most of the day I also have the flexibilty to do my own thing with the other subjects. I can (and do) extend or shorten lessons as necessary. I rather enjoy it.
     

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