Do you prefer to be self-contained or departmentalized?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Luv2TeachInTX, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2014

    And why? Just curious. It seems like departmentalization would be better in a way because there is less to plan and you can specialize in just a few subjects. On the other hand, you have many more students.

    In self-contained, you have less students, the same kids all day and most likely have a better picture of them as learners as a whole.

    Which do you like better?
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    In k-3, definitely self contained. I've never taught 4th. In 5th, i prefer to be departmentalized.
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Self contained. I know a teacher whose mission is to one day push for departmentalization in our elementary section, but I am for self containment. I feel like at the younger age the kids really need that stability of being with the same teacher for the whole day. I also get attached to my group so for selfish reasons I don´t want several groups.
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Me and my teammate teach our own groups math and language arts. I teach science to both classes, she teaches social studies to both groups. I consider this set-up to be more or less perfect for 3rd graders.
     
  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I've done both, several times, and I prefer self contained. I know the kids better, which helps me plan more effective lessons. It's not more planning because I was never able to use the same lessons when departmentalized because the classes had different needs. It's also much less hectic schedule wise when you have your class all day.
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    In the lower elementary grades, self-contained. In the upper grades, departmentalized.
     
  8. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    We already have enough switching of students as it is (with ELD and RtI rotations throughout the day). I don't see a need for departmentalization in grades K-3.
     
  9. bros

    bros Phenom

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    K-4 is great self-contained

    5-6 should be departmentalized, to get them ready for MS.

    But when I was in sixth, we had an interesting setup - it was sort of a hybrid of inclusion and departmentalization. We were in the same classroom all day, but we had one teacher teach us LAL and Social Studies and the other teacher in the classroom taught Math and Science. Sometimes, they'd do cross-curricular activities, but usually within their own areas. When one teacher was teaching, the other would usually be preparing for that day's lesson, going to meetings, making copies, etc.
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    We are departmentalized K and up.


    I prefer self-contained.
     
  11. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I prefer self-contained because I can integrate subjects and cover more material. I think science and social studies become more meaningful and authentic when the topics can be integrated with ELA and math curricular outcomes.
     
  12. OhThePlaces

    OhThePlaces Cohort

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    I am departmentalized in 3rd grades and there are pros and cons. I really love having the opportunity to focus on language arts. It does make whole-class lesson planning easier, which gives me more time to plan for differentiated small groups. I have two classes, and it's usually a welcomed "fresh start" halfway through the day when we switch.

    I don't get to know my students as intimately as I did when I was self-contained. It also makes it more expensive to treat my kids to something at the holidays or end of the year because I have double the students to buy for.

    At the end of the day, I'm glad I'm departmentalized.
     
  13. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I prefer self-contained for 5th on down. The more fragile the students (poor), the more important it is to teach self-contained. These kids need stability and someone to look after their academic and non-academic needs.
     
  14. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    We are a pr-k thru 3 campus. We are departmentalized in 1-3. We just started this 2 year ago. When I taught first I was self contained. I'm now in kindergarten so self contained m
     
  15. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I definitely prefer self-contained, even in upper elementary. Departmentalization in elementary seems much less common here than elsewhere from what I've seen on these boards. I like having the same class all day and forming that strong community with one group of students. I also like the ability to integrate content, and having more flexibility with my schedule.
     
  16. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    I have never got to experience self contained...this will only be my second year, but even in interning and student teaching I was in departmentalized classes.
     
  17. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Taught 3rd grade self contained. Much prefer departmentalized in middle school, which I teach now.
     
  18. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    My daughter's school is self-contained PK-3, switch between 2 teachers in 4th, and switch between 3 teachers in 5th before going to middle school.
     
  19. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    4th grade. Self-contained. Classroom environment, relationship with students, and class community, can't stress enough how important this is to the students learning.
     
  20. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    This is true.

    I do think that departmentalized is easier for the teachers.
     
  21. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I'm self contained. Can't imagine being departmentalized in elementary school. I wouldn't like it at all.
     
  22. Sm2teach

    Sm2teach Companion

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    This exactly. I teach 3rd Grade Math, Science, and Social Studies. We have been departmentalized for two years and I never want to go back to self-contained. I do so much better in my planning and teaching when I can concentrate on less subjects. We have small classes (16-18 students) and I like that I get to know more students. I always seemed to get the more problem students because of the way that I handled them and their parents. Those same parents would often request me for siblings so the cycle would continue. My partner always seemed to get the "better" students. At Christmas she would get $50 gift certificates and I would get dollar store figures. Not that I would ever complain. I love my students. But her eyes have been opened to the struggles of teaching kids who don't have the same kind of support at home and I have learned to communicate with a different kind of parents.
     
  23. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    We are departmentalized and we each teach our homeroom language arts but I feel I get the brunt of the work because I have to teach 2 subjects to 2 different classes while the other grade 5 teacher only has to teach one because there are more daily minutes required for what she teaches. Still, only language arts gets state testing while both her subjects get state testing so, accountability wise, I'm better off.
     
  24. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    I was departmentalized last year, but I think I like it best the way I will be doing it next year. Self-contained, but each teacher makes the plans for one subject and shares them (and each individual teacher is free to alter them as needed to suit her own class, but at least the basics are there). The benefits I see to this (especially since elementary)

    -Consistency in behavior/procedural expectations for the students as well as being better able to keep track of student behavior
    -Building that bond with students
    -Knowing what they are doing in every subject, being able to combine where possible is much easier
    -I found teaching the same thing multiple times in a row (3 times last year!) got monotonous. Yes, I could alter things to improve from class to class, but sometimes I was just tired of teaching that subject by the time the last group rolled around. Not to mention grading soooo many of the same thing!
    -When things come about that change the daily schedule (i.e. programs, partial-day field trips, early release, etc) I can choose which things are most important to fit in that day for my own individual class.
    -As a newer teacher I don't know yet where my strengths/interests lie when it comes to choosing a subject to teach
    -And, though this is less important than some of the others, if a teacher is suddenly out and for whatever reason unable to make up sub plans, it would be much easier for the others to pull something together since they know what is happening in every subject.
     
  25. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    I like departmentalization but I teach upper grades and middle school.
     
  26. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    SC for lower grades....Departmentalized for 4th on up.

    I was fine in SC 2nd and 3rd. Past 4th, the content and expectations are just too much to juggle. I did SC 6th and then SC 7th (SPED) and I am THRILLED to only be doing Math and Literacy this year.
     
  27. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    My school switched last year to having grades 2-8 all departmentalized and I think it didn't work out too well. I did not experience it myself being that I was not in a classroom last school year (I am a literacy specialist) but I do know that some teachers complained about departmentalization in the lower grades and it not working too well. I think it was a big mess if you ask me. I know that I wouldn't like not being about to teach my own homeroom kids math or reading, especially if they're in a testing grade. So if I'm designated to teach science, I wouldn't even know how my students are doing in math and reading and that would be awful! For whatever reasons, my school decided to go back to self contained when school starts back up to grade 5. Then departmentalized 6-8. I think that's smart.
     

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